Eris Life Sciences: Drug Money

Generic pharmaceuticals can be a prescription for blockbuster growth

Published: Nov 3, 2012 06:35:42 AM IST
Updated: Nov 7, 2012 10:41:49 AM IST
Eris Life Sciences: Drug Money
Image: Pravin Indrekar for Forbes India
Amit Bakshi, founder and MD, Eris Life Sciences

After politics, it is perhaps the branded generics market in India where the incumbency factor plays out in full force for new entrants. The top few firms cover five to six percent of the market; the rest is cluttered with 20,000-odd players. In 2007, Eris Lifesciences entered this space with a strategy to identify gaps in super specialties in select categories, such as cardiology, gastroenterology, pediatrics, orthopedics—in the process creating new market segments. For instance, Vitamin D. New research shows it can keep liver and thyroid disorders, and even cancer, at bay. The Vitamin D market was Rs 18 to Rs 20 crore three years ago. In 2012, it added Rs 94 crore to Eris’ revenue of Rs 296 crore. The company has launched diagnostics for Vitamin D deficiency, and has eight such products in its portfolio, including suppositories.

The man behind it
What ICICI did to banking—“treat customers like customers, charge a few basis points higher than the public sector banks and provide quality service”—founder Amit Bakshi wants to do to specialty pharma. Over the decade he spent in the industry before starting Eris, Bakshi saw Indian firms go berserk launching brands. More than 50,000 brands make up India’s Rs 60,000 crore pharma market. People had no idea what they wanted to achieve; field-force productivity was low, as was sales per brand, he says. With Rs 3.5 crore in average sales per brand, Eris is ahead of the industry. “This industry is not about good or bad, it’s about old and new,” he says. But he believes it’s only through enhanced productivity that the industry will witness its next phase of growth.

Why It Is a gem
A foot inside a doctor’s clinic is tougher than ever before. But if a drug maker can identify holes in the prescription, and fill them, it can hit a sweet spot. Add to that Eris’ sound execution: The annual per person productivity of its field-force at Rs 25 lakh beats the industry average of Rs 70,000 to Rs 20 lakh. It has grown 145 percent in the last four years, and is among the top 35 firms for branded formulations. In 2008-2009, it was ranked 29 and 224 by IMS ORG in cardiology and ENT respectively. By June 2012, it was No. 1 in both categories.  

Why It was Hidden
It was a conscious decision by Bakshi to keep a low profile, and focus on execution. Eris does not serve the over-the-counter market. Hence consumer interface is minimal.

Risks and Challenges
In a fragmented market, getting a foothold is a big challenge. Routine execution is no less challenging. “But we were prepared for the worst,” says Bakshi. Eris has a sizeable pool of pharmacists who study reports, look for therapy gaps, and interact with doctors. But consistently finding products that would yield blockbuster revenue is not easy. “The numbers they have achieved is impressive, but the challenge will be to take the next leap, look for opportunities to replicate their strategy of finding product gaps,” says Anjan Sen, director, Strategy and Operations, Deloitte, India. Also, if the gaps are lucrative, there will soon be  intense competition, he says.

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(This story appears in the 09 November, 2012 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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  • Biswajit Saha Kolkata

    Sir I really admire your thinking quality. I am sure that with in very short time of period Eris will enter into the top 3 companies in India. But For that it is required to follow your strategies. On the field it should not differ what you have plan to do. Because in many cases it happens that the employer plans something and employees do other thing. In that case success will not come. I have full confidence and faith on you that you will achieve your goal very soon. we all are with you.

    on Mar 29, 2016
  • Satendra Singh Rajput

    Congratulations sir.. I am proudly feeling to a part of eris life sciences.. you a real mentor I feel one time in a training programme...

    on Aug 26, 2015
  • Ajit Singh

    I will appreciate the idea of selling Vit D on prescription. It only the idea which clicks the sales or marketing. Regards

    on Jul 7, 2015
  • Gurpiar Singh

    Many many congratulations sir ji. You are a god massenger becoze I salute u are thinking. Gazb ho sir aap.

    on Jun 27, 2015
  • Badan Kalita

    customers satisfaction with Quality products is main motto of you sir. Thanks sir.

    on Jan 7, 2014
  • Danesh Desai

    Congratulations sir.

    on Sep 4, 2013
  • Joseph Sudhakar

    Surely Eris is going to achieve a lot more things which has never been done before. Proud to be a part of it.

    on Aug 31, 2013
  • Nilesh Parekh (from:-new York Tower)

    Really sir you are a God of pharma industry in india and i wish you achieve the gold of world pharma industry God.............You are a best sir.............many many congratulation.

    on Aug 19, 2013
  • Sreevishnu Gopi

    Proud to be a part Eris

    on Aug 17, 2013
  • Sarbajit Pal

    proud to be a eris employee.....want to be sea,,ERIS WILL NO 1 COMPANY IN INDIA.......

    on Jun 27, 2013
  • Surendra Sharma

    sir ! really excited to see complete article and position. amazing to see success following........ wish god to shower more

    on Mar 28, 2013
  • Tenzin

    I am very proud to be a Chemist of this company and producing a quality product. we are consider as best Company so far.

    on Mar 1, 2013
  • Nabilal


    on Dec 4, 2012
  • Mcmxviii

    Good job done by eris life sciences..........the business eris is getting is only because of high investment on all the corrupt doctors......and the benifits of vitamin d in patients are credited for USV and not eris.

    on Dec 1, 2012
  • Krunal Trivedi

    Bakshi sir you are an IDEAL for me and many new youngsters...!!!

    on Nov 24, 2012
  • Ankur Chadha


    on Nov 24, 2012
  • Nishitha

    Its really impressive, a long leap in a short time. Role Model for many young enterprenures. All the best for future tasks a head. @ Nishitha

    on Nov 24, 2012
  • Grijesh Agal

    Many People Miss the opprtunity to make a more favourable exchange because they fail to recognize the opportunity . Our CEO Mr Amit bakshi is able to view it in very challenging and competitive market . Eris\'s success is one man army execution from top to bottom and his people oriented approach.

    on Nov 23, 2012
  • Vijay Singh Yadav

    congratulation Mr.amit Bakshi sir.i am very happy after reading this article and want to see you on all business magazine.

    on Nov 23, 2012
  • Vinay Munjal

    congratulation bakshi sir,u have achieved, what u want.u create a history in pharma industry.

    on Nov 23, 2012
  • R Dharwal

    History is created by vision and brilliance mr amit bakshi once again proved it,congratulation and best wishes .

    on Nov 23, 2012
  • Amit Talwar

    Congratulation Amit Sir for being no. 1 in cardiology and ENT n v want to see on cover of dis magazine. Wish you with lots of happiness n prosperity.

    on Nov 16, 2012
  • V.gopikishore

    it was the correct strategy which i feel was the need ofthe hour in pharma industry. filling up the gaps of the RX of a doctor..looking for new products avenues in specality therapies.... ERIS did the same and reached their goal, got a faster growth. in fact , theri appraoch towards the marketing was also very practical and customerfocussed. yes it is indeed a challenge, but in business who taked the challenges and ready to face the consequencses, go.getter nature only will grow.. i wish eris a lot of future growth incoming days, and come up with many new molecules.

    on Nov 9, 2012
  • Pramod Kumar Sharma

    Rightly opted by Eris to identify and work on New/ untouched / unidentified/ different variations of usage of existing drugs. Still a larger areas remain unused for long.

    on Nov 8, 2012
  • Varadharajan Krishnamoorthy

    A nice article and reflects a lot of facts in the market. Last 2-3 years I have been proposing to my clients in Pharma to look at Market gaps. Focus is what gives Pharma the needed growth. Now I think Eris should go for becoming a #social enterprise and use Social software with HCPs (when a foot inside the Drs clinic is tough they should add a virtual presence) and still increase their productivity. With the first mover advantages still waiting for #pharma in many areas, they can take the lead with a new mindset and grow. Wishing them all the best. @VaradhKrish

    on Nov 8, 2012