Premas Biotech, located in sprawling 20,000 sq. ft., is a
100 percent FDI, cGMP compliant, contract research and manufacturing
services (CRAMS) organization.
'PREMAS' is the acronym for “Production of Recombinant Molecules for
Advancement of Science”. The company has been offering services in
contract research in cloning, expression and purification, cell based
assays, data analyses and biomanufacturing.
It has a client base that includes major Indian and foreign drug firms
such as Cipla, UCB, Cell Tech, AstraZenca, Johnson & Johnson,
Galderma, Agrigenetics and AgBio.
Premas is also a part of the $38 million (Rs 173 crore) Open Source
Drug Discovery (OSDD) program initiated by the Council of Scientific
and Industrial Research (CSIR) in 2008 to facilitate collaborations and
combined efforts to find cure to many diseases including TB.
The company has 45 employees, of whom 55 percent are postgraduates and
doctorate degree holders. Its revenues last year were Rs 33 crore, of
which Rs 25 crore came from Illumina business and the rest from
the CRAMS and drug metabolizing enzymes (DMEs).
The company was founded in May 2005 and was incorporated in November
2005, however, it took about 16 months to set up the laboratories in
Manesar in Haryana. It was in May 2004 that the five founders of the
company-Avijit Das, CEO; Dr Rajeev Soni, President and COO; N Kousik,
VP Finance and HR; Dr Prabuddha K Kundu, Head of Manufacturing; Praveen
Gupta, Head, P&A Unit-came up with the idea of starting a company
but investor interest in India was bleak and the founders searched for
funding options in Europe. Once the money came in, it was an easy job
for the founders to build a state-of-the-art laboratory in molecular
biology and biotechnology. They also filed provisional patents
for applied research technologies such as diagnostic technology for
infectious diseases and proprietary vectors for protein expression in
bacteria, yeast and mammalian cells.
“People here have problems in understanding the life sciences business
model and the returns are expected overnight at par with IT, which is
unimaginable in case of biotech industry. Earlier, there were very few
who venture out into biogenerics in life sciences field. We knocked on
every big door for one-and-half year to get investments but
unfortunately none believed in our project,” says Dr Rajeev Soni,
President and COO, Premas Biotech.
“For us, 2007 was the year of commercial success. In March 2007, we
started the fully-equipped functional labs and in May 2007, we received
the first CR project and then again in the same month proprietary DNA
isolation technique was developed,” adds Dr Soni.
Strategies for growth
Premas has implemented the E-Lab Notebook and Scientific
Database Management System (SDMS) that aids its customers to view their
experimental data via security-controlled web access, coupled with 21
CFR Part 11 compliance, which is of fundamental importance for data
submission. Electronic Laboratory Notebooks record what was done during
the course of a scientific experiment, and particularly the inventions
that were made for future reference.
The company has also been following a unique approach towards reducing
wastage in labs. To minimize wastages, one person is trained in doing
one key repeatable activity, thus saving time and minimizing human
error in order to increase reproducibility to a greater extent.
Adopting this technique has allowed the company to reduce the delivery
time of proteins from 18 weeks to four weeks plus maximum delivery of
about 70 proteins per year.
Aiming high for future
Premas wants to work with the government and is open to any
partnership that can help this niche sector to expand its horizons.
On being asked about the aspirations of Premas for future, Dr Soni,
says, “As far as finances are concerned, we have reached the neutral
stage of financial success and we aim to develop at least five-to-six
new technologies from India within next five years.”
“We want to make the niche, cutting-edge biotech products from India
and that is the aspiration of Premas Biotech for the near future. And
the research minds at Premas are working to create the novel products
relevant to industry in coming years,” concludes Dr Soni.
- Incorporation in November 2005
- Became India's first EOU for services and manufacturing at single
site in July 2006
- Constructed a 20,000 sq. ft. fully-equipped functional labs in
- Got the molecular diagnostics breakthrough in the form of a
novel nucleic acid detection technology in 2008
Rahul Koul in New Delhi
|"We aspire to be a partner of
choice in providing the integrated drug discovery solutions"
- Dr Rajeev Soni, president
& COO, Premas Biotech.
||"We demonstrated and
distinguished ourselves as a capable scientific
player in protein expression and purification market by cloning the
toughest classes of proteins and also coming out with the innovative
solutions to contract research problems"
- Mr Praveen Gupta,
VP-business development, Premas Biotech
|"Premas' business strategy aims
at gaining efficiency and enabling faster delivery with multi-fold
increase in capacity"
- Dr Prabuddha Kundu, VP,
Manufacturing, Premas Biotech