• 8 March 2010
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“Training and application support remain our top priority”

-Paul Walker, managing director, Malvern Instruments, UK

In addition to supplying the analytical instruments, the UK-based Malvern Instruments in partnership with New Delhi-based Aimil has been providing training and application support to the Indian biopharma industry. Recently, Malvern opened a laboratory in New Delhi for providing the application support to the clients based in north India.

In an interview with BioSpectrum, Paul Walker, managing director, Malvern Instruments, shares his views on different aspects related to the company, and biosuppliers and biotech sectors in India.

Q Can you elaborate on Malvern Instruments and its major partners worldwide?
Malvern Instruments provides analytical systems that are used to characterize a wide variety of materials, from industrial bulk powders to the latest nanomaterials and delicate macromolecules. Our systems deliver industrially-relevant data that enables our customers to find the link between micro and macro material properties, and chemical composition.

Particle size, particle shape, zeta potential, molecular weight, chemical composition and rheological properties measurements were recently added to the advanced chromatography solutions (GPC/SEC). This has extended Malvern's technologies for protein molecular weight, size and aggregation measurements, and synthetic polymer molecular weight and distribution determinations. Malvern Instruments has its global headquarters in Malvern, UK, with a global distributor network, and applications laboratories around the world. Its subsidiary organizations are located in Europe, North America, China, Korea, Japan and India. Our ultimate aim is to deliver the high-quality experience to customers from all across the world.

A major investment of the company in the recent years has been Malvern Instruments' website, which is a resource-rich in information and educational materials, accessible to customers and non-customers alike, wherever they are in the world.

Q What are the different segments that the company caters to and who are the major clients?
Our products are widely used in academia and in almost every manufacturing sectors. The pharmaceutical industry has always been, and continues to be, a crucially important market for Malvern across our entire product range. The specifications and performance of many of our systems are tailored to meet the requirements of this highly regulated and demanding industrial sectors, and customers in other markets certainly reap the benefits of this approach. Analytical instruments from Malvern can be found in every pharmaceutical company in the world. They are also used extensively in the related biotechnology sector, an area of continuing growth and development for us.

Beyond the life sciences, Malvern products are used in the bulk and specialty chemicals industries, cement production, plastics and polymers. We support organizations at every level, from small research groups to multinational corporations that roll out Malvern products throughout their manufacturing facilities worldwide. In India, we work with many leading research institutes as well as manufacturing companies.

Q How has Malvern Instruments addressed the needs of Indian life sciences industry since its collaboration with Aimil?
The collaboration between Malvern Instruments and Aimil has allowed us to focus on providing a high level of specialist support specifically tailored to the needs of the Indian market and to address the challenges faced by Malvern users in the country. We have been able to provide specialized training and applications support that helps our customers get the most from their Malvern systems and enables them to develop the methodologies they need to do their jobs. Most recently, we started providing direct support for Viscotek GPC/SEC systems in India. This followed Malvern's acquisition of Viscotek in 2008.

The response to our joint venture, Malvern Aimil Instruments, has been extremely positive. The demand for training courses continues to be high. Many companies appreciate the regular, structured and customized packages – a ready-made solution that they can confidently incorporate as part of an employee's initial or ongoing training schedule – we provide.

Q What is the idea behind the launch of this new center for excellence lab in New Delhi?
The success of Malvern Aimil Instruments and the growing number of Malvern customers in India is fuelling the demand for increased training and applications support, and the need to expand the facilities we have for delivering this. The new centre of excellence in New Delhi will ensure that we provide support as locally as possible for our customers in north India, and that too effectively in a timely way. There will be a full-time applications team and the lab will be equipped with a complete range of Malvern systems for use in demonstrations, for sample analysis and for training.

Q What are the new areas Malvern looks forward to?
We will continue to extend our technology leadership and will improvise in delivering the best possible support in all the markets we serve. The further development in new or emerging markets around the world will require significant attention and effort, as well as the application of that same high degree of customer focus that has enabled us to succeed even through the recent difficult economic times worldwide.

Q What have been the company's revenue growth in the previous fiscal and what is the expected revenue growth for the coming years?
Malvern's financial performance is reported within the accounts of our parent organization, Spectris. I am not at liberty to provide separate detailed information. What I can say, however, is that the year 2009 was the best year ever for Malvern in terms of sales, an achievement that everyone in the company could be proud of, especially when considering the challenges in the global economy.

Q What according to you are the challenges before biosuppliers as far as the product supply in India is concerned?
All manufacturing at Malvern Instruments takes place in the UK in an established facility using the most modern techniques and protocols. We have a well-established supply chain, long experience of shipping instruments and accessories to even the most remote places, and then of providing the necessary support to our customers for commissioning, training and service. In a country as large as India, the geography will always be a challenge, but that is the reason for our investment in so many offices and application centers.

Q How is the biotech industry in India shaping up and what are its future prospects?
Biotechnology is a relatively young sector in India and as such is growing rapidly and creating demand for many different measurement technologies. In protein characterization there is a huge demand, and it is a field in which Malvern offers a range of solutions with a variety of systems that can be configured to meet the analysis requirements of individual laboratories. These include the Zetasizer family, which uses dynamic and static light scattering to measure the size and molecular weight; and the full-range of Viscotek advanced gel permeation/ size exclusion chromatography (GPC/SEC) systems and detectors.

Q Are there any plans for expanding the product offerings of Malvern?
There are exciting developments in several areas of science and industry in which Malvern systems are used. As manufacturing industry strives to ensure future growth, Malvern products contribute to product innovations, improvements and efficiencies. New technological developments and the way we apply them make Malvern support customers' need.

Rahul Koul in New Delhi

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