Biocon is looking at gaining market share and improving its margins with a greater focus on its product mixes and organizational efficiencies. Biocon Chairman and Managing Director Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw tells Financial Express that the company has outpaced the market, despite various challenges and that the pharmaceutical market needs to have a more robust regulatory set-up. Edited excerpts:
Q) Biocon has said that the current regulatory environment is impacting the Indian pharmaceutical industry’s growth. How do you see growth for the industry this fiscal?
First and foremost, I think the reason why the industry growth has been muted or declining is because of the regulatory uncertainties and control confusion that the government has caused. Now, with everything more or less kind of addressed, hopefully the industry will recover. But despite that, Biocon has outpaced the market because we are very focused on building brands. You can see that we are really trying to be aggressive and gain both market share and build our brands. In terms of my overall outlook on the market, I think we need to have more regulatory robustness, you cannot have ad-hocism. Suddenly, in a sort of knee-jerk reaction you withdraw (diabetic drug) Pioglitazone from the market and then revoke the ban. These are wrong signals for any sector to deal with. We are becoming a very opinion-led decision-making country. We don’t base it on evidence or data.
Q) Biocon has said that it is managing the uncertainties by operational efficiencies and margin-accretive products. How is this?
Currency movements have obviously helped us to improve margins. We are looking at all the basket of products we have ever since we brought in this organizational change where we have strategic business units. Business unit heads are now focusing on making sure the product mix delivers the maximum value, growth and profitability. In addition to that, our insulin business has really taken off in the emerging market, so that’s also a very high-margin business for us.
Q) Can you elaborate on the harmonized filing strategy you are exploring for the US and Europe?
I cannot share too much of information on this, but will say that when we look at our insulin portfolio, there is an opportunity to derive high values from that. We have looked at our other programs and we realized that there is a lot of merit in harmonizing development of programs because it then allows to get to the market in a very seamless way.
Q) What are the benefits from merging your clinical research arm Clinigene with its parent Syngene?
Basically, there are a lot of synergies because Syngene is offering end-to-end solutions, which starts with discovery, research and go all the way to clinical development. Companies, when they give these whole programs, are very keen to have it within one entity. So it makes a lot of sense to merge the two entities. Basically, they were working together, but the point is they were still independent entities.