"Until 2015, 75% of our exports were generics and the remaining 25% were branded products. We realized that we wanted to focus more on our brand recognition and consequently put a halt to offering contract manufacturing services in order to utilize our facilities for our own brands. We have implemented this in Southeast Asia and registered our own brands in Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines and Sri Lanka."
Bharat Parenterals is a Gujarat based pharmaceutical company established in 1992. Since our team has met you in 2017, what are some of the developments realized by the company?
Since we last met, we have grown by 50% in turnover as a result of entering new markets in Southeast Asia and Latin America. We have a multi-dosage facility in India and, given the stringent regulatory requirements, we are not aiming to enter regulated markets in the next two or three years, maintaining our focus on semi-regulated markets. We were facing a key constraint due to having a common facility for penicillins and cephalosporins, which we have addressed and, from October 2019, our third plant will be commencing commercial production to separate them both.
Could you elaborate on your global footprint and your strategy to enter new markets?
In March 2018, we obtained approval from respective health authorities to supply to Peru and Chile. We already export to Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Honduras and Columbia within the Latin American markets in addition to supplying to several Southeast Asian countries.
What are some of the requirements in order to be able to comply with different regulatory frameworks around the world?
We have a WHO GMP certified plant and Indian regulation does not require a separate facility for penicillins and cephalosporins, however, both need to be manufactured under a different campaign basis production plan. Other countries that are our partners, such as Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia, are no longer accepting our plant because of evolving regulations being members of the Pharmaceutical Inspection Convention and Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme (PIC/S) treaty. We will invite such partners for a fresh inspection of our new facilities. It is advantageous for us to take action now rather than wait until it is too late. Our immediate goal is to fortify our presence in all the countries we supply to by adhering to the rules of the regulatory bodies that govern these countries and their pharmaceutical industries.
Could you elaborate on the shift in focus from contract manufacturing to a branded product offering?
Until 2015, 75% of our exports were generics and the remaining 25% were branded products. We realized that we wanted to focus more on our brand recognition and consequently put a halt to offering contract manufacturing services in order to utilize our facilities for our own brands. We have implemented this in Southeast Asia and registered our own brands in Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines and Sri Lanka. We are marketing our products ethically using our own brand name for the last three years. In some African countries where the business model differs because the government buying is larger than private buying, we have a dual model where we participate through our local partners for the government tenders and also promote our own branded products.
What are some of Bharat’s ongoing research and development projects?
We have an in-house R&D department with robust formulations and Bhahim Desai, CEO, has specialized in the anesthesia segment. He recently developed a temperature-controlled anesthesia product with unique packaging that indicates whether or not an anesthesia is suitable for use after being stored under various temperatures.
We are not involved in the development of New Chemical Entities (NCEs), however we do focus on developing new drug delivery systems and formulations with more nuanced technology.
What are your comments on being awarded ‘Outstanding SME’ in 2018?
We are grateful and honored to have received this award for the second year in a row. From the company’s inception we have taken social responsibility seriously, treated our employees well and adhered to government taxes and policies. It is encouraging to see the rewards for years of dedication to this.
What is your vision for Bharat Parenterals over the next five years and do you have a final message for our readership?
In 2018, we achieved INR 240 crores (~USD 35 million) in revenue. In the coming few years we will be making some strategic investments and are aiming to cross the INR 500 crores (~USD 70 million) turnover mark by 2022. Our first goal was to boost our production capacity, which we have achieved by setting up independent penicillin and cephalosporin production units. We will focus on increasing our penetration into three key markets: Latin America, CIS and Southeast Asian countries. The company has been debt-free since 2005 and we plan to keep it that way while focusing on the growth trajectory.