Success in Small and Simple
Profile: Berko Ilaç
Before founding his company in 1984, Berat Beran was selling anti-parasitic products and orthopedic shoes to neighboring pharmacies
and mixing chemicals in his laboratory in Diyarbakir, a province in southeast Turkey. He applied this homespun, innovative
spirit to his company in Istanbul. Since 2003, Berko Ilaç has grown its revenues from $4 million a year to $25 million in
2007, relying predominantly on an over-the-counter product portfolio that includes vitamins, minerals, nasal sprays, and its
market-leading zinc products. Berko has carved its place in Turkey's pharmaceutical industry by putting a new spin on old
remedies, such as combining fish oil with gingko biloba or mixing folic acid, omega oil, and garlic to help lower cholesterol.
Berat Beran, (All photos are courtesy of EC Reviews.)
"In this market, I told myself I should do things small and simple, things that no one has thought of and that no one has
done before," says Beran, the company's board chairman. Berko has 18 products registered in Romania and is creating a subsidiary
in Lebanon. Going forward, Berko would like to open a new production site in three years with an annual capacity of 60 million
bottles; form toll-manufacturing agreements with European companies; and establish sales and marketing franchises in seven
"I see Berko as a multinational company; this is my ideal," he says.
Gaining via Local Investments
The Swiss-based mega-multinational has a presence in Turkey dating back to 1959, with the advent of its generics unit, Sandoz.
Novartis (Basel, Switzerland) has since become Turkey's top revenue-generating pharmaceutical company, with a market share
of nearly 8% and 2007 sales eclipsing $700 million.
Güldem Berkman, (All photos are courtesy of EC Reviews.)
Combining Sandoz's generics products and Novartis' original over-the-counter drugs and veterinary medicines, the company covers
the entire life cycle of a drug. With 10,000 molecules currently under experimentation, Novartis plans to expand its portfolio
in the areas of cardiovascular and respiratory treatments, oncology, and neuroscience. "Patients continue to want better medicines
with better efficacy and fewer side effects," says Güldem Berkman, head of Novartis Turkey. "We have a broad healthcare portfolio
addressing changing healthcare needs." With 2000 employees and four production sites, Novartis Turkey is the country's largest
pharmaceutical exporter, to more than 120 countries. The company expects its facilities in Turkey's industrial zone to receive
FDA approval by end-2009, in time to supplement its high-growth operations in the US. In June, Sandoz executives met with
Turkey's Health Ministry about bringing biosimilars to market and introducing more quality, high-tech medicine.
Setting Global Benchmarks
Since its acquisition in 2006 by Citigroup and the Austrian financial group, Pils, Biofarma has been riding a giant wave of
growth that seems yet to have reached its crest. Sales in 2007 exceeded $130 million, catapulting the Istanbul-based company
from a national pharmaceutical company ranking of 32nd to 21st. Biofarma achieved this position with a portfolio of products
that cover more than 20 therapeutic areas, including cardiovascular, pain management, and diabetes, a sales team of 550, and
exports to 14 countries, including the United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain. It also provides contract manufacturing services
for major multinationals and local manufacturers.
Umur Südekan, (All photos are courtesy of EC Reviews.)