Interview | Approvals for biosimilar products will drive growth momentum, says  Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Founder & CMD, Biocon

March 19, 2020 3:30 AM

Biocon’s globally recognised people-centric practices make it India’s most preferred biotech employer., says Kiran Mazumdar Shaw.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, bioconKiran Mazumdar Shaw

After a successful FY20 which saw new global partnerships and the launch of vital products, Biocon is ready to expand its drug portfolio and establish a new facility in Bengaluru, its founder & CMD Kiran Mazumdar Shaw tells Srinath Srinivasan.

One of the major changes you effected in 2019 was the appointment of Siddharth Mittal as the new CEO. What would the change of leadership entail in 2020? Would Biocon be venturing into new markets?

Siddharth Mittal has ably contributed to the growth of Biocon over the last six years. Expanding our client base and global footprint is an inherent part of our strategy and we will continue to pursue this path in 2020. Last year, Biocon expanded its geographic reach to China, the world’s second largest pharmaceutical market, through a partnership with a local pharma company for three of its US-approved generic formulations. For the first nine months of this fiscal, the company’s revenues grew by 19% to Rs 4,885 crore, with the key business segments reporting robust growth. I am confident that as CEO Siddharth will be able to take the company’s performance to the next level and build immense value for its stakeholders.

Biocon Biologics, your subsidiary, has ambitious plans for the US market with the introduction of rh-insulin. In a space dominated by Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk, how integral is the move to the subsidiary’s target of reaching $1 billion in revenues by FY22?

The biologics business which is largely comprised of the biosimilars segment has generated revenues of Rs 1,594 crore in the first nine months of FY20, recording growth of 50% y-o-y. The revenue momentum is being driven by biosimilars such as Trastuzumab, Pegfilgrastim, Glargine, recombinant human insulin (rh-Insulin) and Bevacizumab, which have been commercialised in several markets across the globe. Of these five commercialised biosimilars, three have been launched in developed markets. It is this steady commercialisation of biosimilars in developed as well as emerging markets that would help us cross the $1-billion milepost.

The recent launch of Ogivri in the US saw Biocon gaining nearly 5% on the stock market. How do you plan to sustain the momentum in this calendar year? What can be expected from your partnership with Mylan in 2020?

In addition to its launch in the US, Ogivri has been commercialised in Canada and several EU markets. In Q3FY20, our biosimilar Trastuzumab received an approval from ANMAT, the Argentinian health regulator, and our partner will be commercialising the product soon. Trastuzumab should allow us to emerge as a leader in the global market. The FDA’s approval for our new manufacturing facility for Pegfilgrastim in Bengaluru will enable us to increase capacity substantially and tap the growing opportunities in the US and other global markets. Biocon Biologics has a comprehensive product pipeline of 28 biosimilar molecules, of which it is co-developing 11 with Mylan. A combination of key launches and new approvals for the Mylan-partnered biosimilar products will drive the growth momentum at Biocon Biologics in the near term.

In 2019, you were number six in the Top 10 Global Biotech Employers rankings of the US-based Science magazine. What segments will Biocon be hiring for going forward? Will you increase local hiring outside India in 2020?

Biocon’s globally recognised people-centric practices make it India’s most preferred biotech employer. Ranked sixth on the prestigious list of the top Global Biotech Employers for 2019, we are also the only Asian company to feature among the Top 20 in the annual Science Careers Top Employers Survey. As part of our vision of being a global leader, we will be hiring high-quality scientific resource from across the world in 2020.

What will be your key areas of investment in FY21? Can we expect R&D getting a major push as the company scales up its business in key markets like the US?

Ours is a capital-intensive business and as a company driven by innovation, we will continue to invest in R&D and expand our manufacturing capacities. We are also looking to invest in digitalisation and tech-enabled platforms to support the growth story.

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