Leading the Pack
Lessons learned from the top
Profile: Dr. Reddy's Laboratories
Life isn't so relaxing at the top. Ranking first among Indian pharmaceutical companies, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories (Hyderabad)
is in itself a model that a lot of companies in the Indian industry have either drawn inspiration from or at best imitated.
Since 1986, when the company started as an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) producer, until today as a $1 billion-plus
fully integrated company, Dr. Reddy's is one of India's true multinationals.
(PHOTO COURTESY OF DR. REDDY'S)
Like most of the country's life-science powerhouses, the company has expanded its know-how from APIs to formulations but has
also put the emphasis on two elements that make the company a genuine leader: global approach and innovation. A year after
inception, the firm was already selling APIs to Europe and rapidly establishing manufacturing bases in Russia and the Middle
East. In 1994, Dr. Reddy's entered the US generic market and set up a manufacturing facility there. Meanwhile, strong efforts
were made to increase research and development, with the notable creation of a state-of-the-art laboratory in Atlanta, Georgia.
In 1997, the company filed its first abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) and from then on, experienced a number of successes.
Dr. Reddy's was the first Indian company listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the first to launch the generic drug fluoxetine
(a generic version of Eli Lilly's Prozac). The company expanded by acquiring distribution players in the United Kingdom, API
producers in India, and Germany's fourth largest generic manufacturer, Betapharm (Augsburg). It established Auriegene Discovery
Technologies (Bangalore), a contract research company, in 2002, a move that was intended to help Dr. Reddy's learn more about
drug discovery through contract research.
In time, the company became a one-stop shop for the global industry and put together its Custom Pharmaceutical Services (CPS).
As explained by G.V. Prasad, the company's vice-chairman and CEO, "CPS is focused on innovators to get their innovations to
market much faster. We have a large experience in sensitive organic chemistry, formulation development, and GMP manufacturing,
and we use these skills to help biotechs as well as large pharmas to quickly take their innovation to registration stage and
then follow on with manufacturing.... We started four years ago and should generate over $130 million out of it for this year."
Within the industry, innovation is the real goal, and being the first Indian player to register a new chemical entity (NCE)
is the end game. "We have the highest research budget in India and we have done a lot in the discovery area, process area,
and formulation area," said Prasad. "We have a strong discovery pipeline, so I would believe we are a research organization....
Dr. Reddy's has always done things ahead of the curve. If a company is to succeed, it should not imitate but truly innovate."
With a successful foray into the international market (Dr. Reddy's sales in the US alone reached $548 million in 2006), it
might be time for the company to focus on India's growing potential. The company is going to have to fight hard to maintain
its top position. A quick review of the country's talents and endeavors shows a number of companies catching up to Dr. Reddy's,
demonstrating that it's not always comfortable being number one.