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16-31 January 2009  
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Good to Great - The Road Ahead in Indian Pharma

Lupin —En route to success

Scores of people see dreams, but very few go forward to achieve them. The Founder-Chairman of Lupin is one among such leaders who dared to dream and win the gamble

Desh Bandhu Gupta

One pharma company that stood the test of time and has emerged as one of the strong contenders to be the best in time and future is Lupin. In the last 40 years, Lupin has forced the world to stand up and take notice of the company's dream, a dream first seen by Dr Desh Bandhu Gupta. After completing his Master's in Chemistry, Gupta started his career as an Associate Professor at the Birla Institute of Science and Technology, Pilani, Rajasthan, later on to become a catalyst in setting up Lupin with just Rs 5,000, and captaining it to great heights under his leadership. "My dream of contributing to the process of Nation-building and vision to fight life-threatening infectious diseases by manufacturing drugs of highest national priority were the compelling reasons and guiding principles that led to the formation of Lupin in the year 1968," proudly admits Gupta, the Chairman of Lupin.

Reaching the top

Headquartered at Mumbai, Lupin has nine global manufacturing facilities spread across sites in India and the global R&D hub—Lupin Research Park (LRP)—in Pune near Mumbai, Maharashtra. Today Lupin has achieved the distinction of not only becoming India's fifth largest pharma major but also one of the fastest growing generic player in the world specifically in advanced markets such as the US and Japan. According to a recent study done by Business India—Lupin was ranked No 4 in terms of positive growth in market capitalisation amongst the Top 100 companies in the country—with a capitalisation of around $ 1.2 billion . Speaking about the strings of success that Lupin has experienced in the past years, Gupta avers, "It is my firm belief that the personality and the spirit of a business enterprise is shaped in its formative years. The values and the image that gets ingrained in this period and the direction and the vision outlined then—stays with the enterprise as a guiding philosophy in some form or the other. At Lupin, we have lived this belief and strived hard to convert every possibility into a reality." He adds, "Today, we have come a long way from being a manufacturer and supplier of APIs to becoming a fully integrated global pharma player—in keeping with our vision of being an innovation led, transnational pharma company."

Looking ahead

Nilesh Gupta

Keeping the legacy of Gupta intact by leading the company to scaling bigger heights are his son Nilesh Gupta, Group President and Executive Director of Lupin and his daughter Vinita Gupta Sharma, who is one of the Directors of Lupin and Group President and CEO of Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc (LPI). Nilesh's portfolio of responsibilities includes advanced markets, strategy and management, research and development, manufacturing and supply chain management for the company in addition to heading the regulatory, quality and projects functions. Whereas Vinita heads the US and Europe businesses, the advanced market business of the company and has been instrumental in Lupin's successful foray into the US and Europe and in cementing alliances with global majors. Gupta says, "Vinita and Nilesh have excellent academic backgrounds—having done their Masters from JL Kellog School of Management and Wharton respectively post which they joined Lupin where they have been working across key strategic business unit's (SBU) and divisions on key initiatives over the past decade. They have not only been a part of Lupin's growth—but have inked and executed most of our success stories."

"Right from our upbringing, academic background and our training we learnt and realised that the expectations from us would be always higher than from any other professionals. Moreover the general expectation from the second generation would naturally be higher, and DBG's (as the Founder-Chairman is known) expectations from us has been no different," Vinita shares. In order to meet the challenges of the future, the company has been constantly augmenting its manufacturing capacities including green field specialised projects with the new plant in Indore as a testament to that effect. However with changing times the market dynamics have also changed drastically so how do the 'Generation Next' plan to direct their growth plans and tackle the testing situations. Nilesh expresses, "We believe that the biggest challenge for us is going to be the industry dynamics across the globe and our ability to gear ourselves to succeed and excel in the future. We are in a fast changing industry wherein the bar for success gets higher every day. Our ability to grow and differentiate ourselves will very much depend upon our capability to embrace new areas/opportunities in our industry. And our competition is global—very often, it is not what competition we would see from or in India, it is what we see in target markets like US, Europe or Japan."

Agreeing on the same, Vinita informs that Lupin as a company is doing very well. "However in response to the global slowdown we are working proactively in assessing the impact on each part of our business so that we can prepare effectively. Given that the majority of our business is currently generic, the economic and financial crisis will likely benefit the generic component of our business. We are very fortunate to be in an industry that apart from serving the health needs of the community also partners with governments and regulators to manage their healthcare expenditure budgets better." She adds that given the fact that most key markets—be it the US or Japan and other markets across the globe are looking at increasing generics adoption—at Lupin they see an increase in demand for the same, however the challenge would be to intuitively align strategy and resources to create and service opportunities globally.

The power within

Vinita Gupta Sharma

At the heart of every successful organisation, lies its people, likewise Lupin also has a efficient and committed multicultural workforce of close to 9000 people. A pool of close to 450 scientists based at Lupin Research Park (LRP) who are constantly engaged in focused research in the areas of new chemical entity (NCE) research, new biological entity (NBE) research, advanced drug delivery systems (ADDS) research and innovative generics research. Gupta feels, "Our constant yearning to deliver quality, innovative drugs and brilliance has compelled us to have by our side, the best-in-class talent, resources and infrastructure totally in line with our objectives and business opportunities. Our distinguished pool of intellectuals is impregnated with the right elements that enable and drive success—build and refine competence to achieve overall excellence."

The growth metre

"Right from our embryonic years in the sixties, I have firmly believed that there was nothing lacking and stopping us in India to make and take the great leap forward in Industrialisation. Our journey so far has proved that we as a country could innovate, implement big and novel ideas, could think independently and devise problem-solving methods, create global businesses second to none and that, while we were doing all of these things, we could be true to ourselves—to our people, to our great nation and to society at a larger level," proudly admits Gupta. Agreeing on the same, Nilesh, adds, "We have a great company, a solid team and significant technology strengths. As an organisation we have and we would need to continuously focus on increasing the innovative quotient within the company—raising the bar by building competitive advantage by leveraging or technology strength's in niche areas across markets. Five years down the line, we would like to see our company well on its way to commercialise its own molecules in addition to being a global generics powerhouse—very well on our way to becoming a part of the Global Top 50 Pharma majors."

"As we move closer to our goal of $ 1 billion, we are challenging ourselves to set new milestones. We are accelerating our pace to strongly establish Lupin in five of the top 10 pharma markets of the world. We are aiming at generating two thirds of our revenues from the global markets," informs Vinita. She adds, "Our focus on technology and differentiation will enable us to charter into new areas of business. Today, we are well positioned to strengthen our formulations business in the advanced markets as we gear up to replicate the success of our US operations in Europe, Japan and Australia."

Speaking about their future, Nilesh says, "We have a very successful generic business model and we very much expect to grow our generic business both in the key markets of our focus today, as well as expanding our geographical reach further." Further he adds that for building a long term sustainable business it is essential for them to also grow their brand/specialty business through their own discovery efforts and also through successful in-licensing. Inspite of the upheaval in the market, Lupin has not been affected by the current financial situation and crisis and this is because Lupin's growth has been based on very strong business fundamentals and strategy. "The bygone fiscal was a momentous landmark in our journey. Impressive growth, profits and noteworthy profits and meaningful acquisitions—2007-08 has witnessed it all, to aptly qualify as an action-packed year. We have achieved the distinction of being rated as the third fastest growing company in the US for the year 2007 (IMS)," concludes Gupta.



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