"India is an extremely brand sensitive market,"
John Dellisanti (JD), executive vice president and chief commercial officer, and Dr Young K Yun (YY), international business director, Caliper Life Sciences.
How do you see India as a market for Caliper?
JD: We see Asia Pacific as a whole as a very exciting market and especially India as a high growth opportunity for us. In the past two years, we have increased our presence in the Asia-Pacific by forging strategic partnerships and making investments for the same. Our partnership with Imperial Life Sciences (ILS) is proof of our commitment to the Asia Pacific market.
YY: We are providing a large number of discovery and development platforms. Our instrumentation can not only be utilized to do target validation at the drug discovery side but also at the preclinical and drug development side. Our microfluidics platform is the fundamental platform which can be adapted and utilized not only in the pharmaceutical but also in the biotech area and also by CROs and CMOs.
Why do you see India as a growing market?
JD: Not only are Caliper and ILS perfectly aligned, but we are also perfectly aligned to take advantage of the emergence of the growth in R&D in India. Our product line aligns perfectly with biopharmaceuticals and bioagri sector where there is a need for high throughput experiments. The investment that India is putting into biopharmaceuticals and life sciences is what Caliper is all about.
YY: Through our years of servicing the US industry, we now know what works and what does not work and hence we are in a position to help the Indian pharmaceutical and biotech industry as to how to eliminate exactly the same mistakes done by companies in the US and get onto the fast track route. Through our association with ILS in India since the past two years, we believe we are in the right place at the right time with the right partner.
How do you view the India-China race?
JD: There is more opportunity and growth on the demand side in India as compared to China. China is providing tools and services while India is actually investing in pharmaceutical and biotech. So India has made an infrastructure investment and there is a desire to become a world leader here and provide therapeutics on a global basis. Indian R&D is also going places with more and more researchers now doing high throughput experiments and automation and hence is more mature. India definitely has the lead.
YY: China does see an opportunity in drug discovery and biotechnology, but with drug discovery being a high risk proposition there is less inclination to tread the waters especially with the low return on investment. They are doing chemistry based pharmaceutical manufacturing but not much groundwork has been done. India saw a growth in domestic pharma companies in the 1980s who through all these years now know how to sustain the drug discovery business model knowing the pros and cons.
What are some of the challenges of operating in a market like India?
YY: From a commercial point of view, India is an extremely brand sensitive market. It is not about what a company is introducing or the technology, but what is portrayed to the general public that matters. In the microarray segment itself, China, Korea and India are dominated by different companies. So the key is how companies are distributing the technology and who is taking the technology to different market segments. So a good services and support system is the key to establishing a presence in a country like India.