Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive chairperson, Biocon & Biocon Biologics
Image: Mexy Xavier
Over the last four decades, biotechnology in India has gone from being a nascent sector to a sunrise industry. This ‘Bio Revolution’ has had significant impact on the economy and our lives, from health and agriculture to consumer goods, and energy and materials.
An entrepreneurial culture led Biocon to identify opportunities in biotechnology, which was still in its nascency as an industry in the 70s.
Biocon in its first avatar was an export-driven enzymes company. It forayed into biopharmaceuticals in the late 90s by leveraging capabilities in fermentation technologies derived from its experience in manufacturing enzymes. The transformation was aligned to the global imperative of driving greater health equity through a diversified and differentiated portfolio of biopharmaceuticals.
Biocon then evolved into a company making fermentation-based small molecule generics, followed by a metamorphosis into a biopharmaceuticals group with businesses spanning bulk drugs and finished formulations at our generics vertical, novel biologics and biosimilars at Biocon Biologics, and research services at Syngene.
Biocon is again undergoing a transformation that will take us closer to patients and steer us into new growth paths. The acquisition of Viatris’s biosimilars business by our subsidiary Biocon Biologics
is creating a fully, vertically integrated biosimilars company with a direct commercial presence in advanced and emerging markets.
Our generics business is growing through portfolio and geographical expansions, capacity additions, improved cost competitiveness and operational excellence. Syngene is moving beyond a traditional research services outsourcing model expediting innovation for its customers towards true end-to-end discovery, development and manufacturing collaborations. Also read: Biocon's high-risk, high-rewards biosimilars strategy unpacked
Biocon’s transformation comes at a time when advances in biotechnology are enabling the biopharmaceutical industry to find new ways to reshape disease treatment paradigms, increase equitable access to health care, create value, prepare for future pandemics, and remain competitive in an ever-changing business landscape.
Transformative new technologies are creating enormous new opportunities for growth for Indian biotech and pharma companies. With an extensive pipeline of products under development, the Indian biopharma industry is well placed to tap into the huge opportunity being offered by biosimilars, novel biologics, and new age biotherapeutics etc.
From a volume player in generic medicines, the Indian pharma industry can become a significant value creator by developing and manufacturing advanced biologic therapeutics.
To ride the new wave of opportunities and make a significant impact on global health care, we are leveraging our scale and cost advantages to gain world leadership. We are creating a business with a deep commitment to quality compliance, high ethical standards and a robust corporate governance structure.
We are harnessing digital and data analytics to get closer to patients, as well as reach a larger patient population. Each of our three business segments—generics, biosimilars and research services—is well positioned for future growth.
(This story appears in the 16 June, 2023 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)