"We are constantly working on our process developments with an angle on environmental safety and we impose a strict control on our effluents. The government of India takes a very strict stance on environmental grounds, and we embrace this strictness because it is motivating us to undertake actions in creating new technology and to operate an effective R&D."
Could you introduce Surya to our global readership?
I started this company in the year of 2002, just as India was crossing recession. Using my 15 years of experience in the pharmaceuticals industry, I looked at the prospects that the future holds for the pharma. The word “Surya” means "sun" and it conveys omnipresence, which demarks our objective: to become global leaders in what we do. Growing at an accelerated rate at 30% yearly, Surya relies on four plants, with operations in the fifth facility in Indore beginning next month. We have also joined ventures with a Japanese company to create an electronic molecule, currently supplied by only one manufacturer in the world. We have taken a multi-directional progress spanning to different verticals, including pharmaceuticals (API), nutraceuticals, electronic chemicals, speciality molecules, and formulations, so that market shifts do not shake us up. Our ratio across sectors is very even, with about 20 to 25% in each of these sectors.
How has Surya adapted innovation to keep in tandem with market trends over the past two decades?
Innovation has been the driving force of our business, having received the "Innovator of the year" award from the Chamber of Commerce (FICCI) for three years. Due to our spirit of innovation, we see no hurdle, no saturation, and no limit, always looking at opportunities. This award was earned on the basis of our R&D acumen, flow chemistry and green chemistry. Flow chemistry is one of the latest concepts in the engineering of any chemical; in a nutshell, we are able to manufacture a chemical in large quantities, as well as ensuring good quality and safety standards, using a very compact and effective equipment.
Green chemistry is the second important concept, as most players in the industry understand, pollution is the one important consideration in making any product nowadays. Through green chemistry, everything that is produced is relative to an adjustment of reactant and pollutant that needs to be filtered out in a nature-friendly way. If this basic concept is followed, the business is sustainable and viable in the future. China had been obsessively focused on growth, failing to consider the environment, and that has caused long-lasting hurdles in their line of production. Surya has taken care of the environment from the very beginning, so we have fore-thinking this aspect in the industry.
Ankleshwar is a very industrialised area, strictly regulated, and with high levels of pollution. What are the measures implemented to keep environmental safety at its highest?
We are constantly working on our process developments with an angle on environmental safety and we impose a strict control on our effluents. The government of India takes a very strict stance on environmental grounds, and we embrace this strictness because it is motivating us to undertake actions in creating new technology and to operate an effective R&D, which is recognised by the DISR (Department of Scientific and Industrial Research).
Our core focus is technology, with unique processes and unique operations in every product that we make. We take great care of the details, from environmental aspects, to safety and quality. The latest innovation in the development process would be the addition of an ultrasonic reactor, and we utilise an ultra micro wave technology for the treatment of effluent, for which we have patent papers under review. Surya has a prosperous future in the pharma, nutraceuticals, and herbal medicines.
What products do you bring to the global table and what is their uptake in terms of the global markets they are exposed to?
In the API business, we look good in hypertension and diabetes treatment ingredients. We are making painkillers, antiallergics, antidepressants, antitussives, xanthines, cardiovasculars, anesthetics, aroma fine chemicals and special electronic chemicals. Our plant has been recognized by Korea and Japan as destinations for supply. In the cosmetics field, many of the natural medicines are becoming more popular, with the realisation that allopathic products risk to be harmful to the skin. This trend in demand galvanised our focus on herbal cosmetics, herbal medicines and nutraceuticals. We also use our facility for contract manufacturing for international clients, offering scale-up services.
Surya is not just in the copy-paste business. When we take on a project, we fully engage in the development of that product. Our clients can expect from us to go the extra mile and bring additional input. For instance, we use hydrogenation, a process many are reluctant to embrace due to its highly explosive nature, but Surya has a strong quality and safety system that is reassuring to our clients.
What are some of the plans and priorities that Surya puts forward in the near future?
Surya is doing very well in India, but of course, we see both opportunities and hurdles, and we are already decided to cross the border to bring our name and fame worldwide. We are looking for ventures around the world, we are open to import the technology as well as develop our own technology. In Oman, for example, we joined ventures to provide medicines and formulations. Our next step after Oman will be expanding the business to Malta by setting a plant there; this will be a strategic geographical point of operation from where we can manoeuvre our exports to Africa.