• 12 April 2011
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Spreads wings globally

Dr Kiran Mazumdar Shaw
Chairman & MD, Biocon

Biocon, which started as an enzyme manufacturer and exporter in the early 1980s, reached new heights in global biopharma space by expanding its presence through acquisitions and partnerships

Biocon, founded by Dr Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, boasts of world-class research outsourcing capabilities, US FDA-compliant bio-manufacturing facilities and a self-financed R&D pipeline.

Having many firsts to its credit, the company later created a strong presence in the global market. The company has invested in establishing a direct presence in two key markets - Europe and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in western Asia through subsidiaries AxiCorp, Germany and NeoBiocon in Abu Dhabi respectively. It has also set up offices in Brazil, Abu Dhabi and Malaysia.

Employing nearly 5,300 employees, it is regarded as the seventh largest employer among the top 100 global biotechnology companies. With two subsidiaries, Syngene and Clinigene, Biocon has presence in main therapeutic areas – diabetology, cardiology, nephrology and oncology. It has two new divisions — comprehensive care, and immunotherapy — coming up this year.

The Journey
Biocon established its presence in Middle East region by signing an MOU with Neopharma, Abu Dhabi’s premier pharmaceutical manufacturing company, and establishing Neobiocon, a joint venture company in Dubai in 2007. The new venture expanded Biocon’s global network to provide affordable bio-therapeutics for unmet medical needs. Besides the UAE, the Dubai office will represent the company in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.

A year later, Biocon entered the European market by acquiring a 70 percent stake in German pharmaceutical company, AxiCorp GmbH. Says Dr Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairman and managing director of Biocon, “AxiCorp is a key strategic investment for Biocon as it heralds our European foray for biosimilars like recombinant human insulin.”

On expansion plans in the global market, Ms Shaw says, “Germany is the largest European market and we felt that this would help us gain a good European footprint for generics and biosimilar insulins. Latin America, Middle East, North Africa and South East Asia are some of the emerging markets that we are focused on. We have garnered robust growth in all these markets attributable to strong GDP growth in these emerging economies.”

Last year, Biocon further expanded its activities to Malaysia by making an announcement for setting up a bio-manufacturing and R&D facility with an investment of $161 million. The facility is targeted to be operational by 2014. This investment is the largest for the Malaysian biotechnology sector thus far.

In 2010, the pharma world witnessed one of the biggest deals ever, with Biocon entering into an agreement with Pfizer, the world’s biggest pharma company, under which the latter will pay $200 million to have exclusive rights to commercialize four of Biocon’s insulin biosimilar products in the global market.

Adding on the global strategy of the company, she added, “Partnering is core to our global research and marketing strategy. We typically seek marketing partnerships with strong regional players for emerging markets and pharma MNCs for the mature markets like the US and Europe. When it comes to R&D, we have a number of partnerships with small, mid-sized as well as large companies.”

About the future plans, Dr Mazumdar Shaw says, “We have strong local partners who have played a key role in garnering good market share for our products. We are satisfied with our partnership model and have established direct presence where we deem it necessary.”

Suchitra Pillai in Bangalore

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