Could you provide our readers with an introduction to Piramal Pharma?
Piramal Pharma Limited is a publicly traded, Indian headquartered company that is focused on three core areas: Piramal Pharma Solutions, our Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO); Piramal Critical Care our complex hospital generics business; and consumer healthcare in India. In 2010, Piramal divested its core branded generics business to Abbott, including most of our profit and revenue. We had sub-scale pharma businesses, and the group was deciding what to do next. We diversified into financial services and our pharma business evolved from about a dozen small businesses into just three. We are now larger than we were, prior to divesting the branded generics business.
Along the way, we have undergone several transformations. For the Critical Care business, we pivoted from being manufacturing-focused to having a customer-focused and later a patient-focused orientation. Through this transition, we have evolved into a more complete hospital generics business. For the Pharma Solutions business, we have evolved towards becoming a patient-centric organization, which allows us to better serve our innovative clients’ by helping to reduce the burden of disease on patients. For example, we have bolstered our phase III pipeline to 34 from just 10, indicative of a significant increase in the number of drug development programs that are in use in patient trials.
How is your product portfolio divided and how substantial is your footprint in the U.S.?
Our portfolio is roughly divided as 60% for the CDMO business, 30% for complex generics and 10% for consumer healthcare. Our largest market is the U.S., where we have facilities in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky, with another just across the border in Canada. Collectively, our 15 global sites in North America, Europe, and India provide integrated and stand-alone services to customers in the U.S. and around the world.
How do you differentiate yourselves in a competitive market?
We believe that our approach to patient and customer centricity is what differentiates us from competition. For example, we have a patient centricity council at each site, whose mission is to embed the concept into the workplace, operationally and philosophically. The council at the site share patient stories with our employees to try and align the concept with what we do and make it more tangible. Moreover, we are geographically agnostic as we are based in both the East and West. With our global network, we can serve our customers with what they want, where they want it.
We have a number of specialty capabilities across our drug substance and drug product services. We can handle highly potent APIs, peptides, and antibody-drug conjugations. An increasing number of customers are focused on integrated services and projects. They want to get to that next inflection point as quickly as possible and by integrating programs across our network of sites, we remove complexities and barriers to get them to their milestone as soon as possible.
Piramal is in a privileged position to deal with supply chain issues due to your global network. How are you making your supply chain more resilient to macro-economic changes?
There has always been a need for a robust supply chain, but it has crystalized in recent years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ukraine war and global inflation. Our customers are relying on us to deliver as promised without interruption. We already had a low dependence on China when the pandemic began and most of this was already multi-sourced. A lot of energy has gone into providing multiple options for our most critical projects. We can provide a two-country solution for our main clients to de-risk against prevailing global dynamics.
How has the global pandemic changed public perception of the life sciences industry?
The medicines we produce are of the highest quality – everything we do is in the service of our patients, keeping them at the center of our efforts. The patient stories are an effective tool to explain to our employees how the medicine is helping; when the public sees what this medicine can do for their loved ones, that is when perception changes. The global pandemic has thrown the spotlight on life sciences industry and the positive impact it can have.
Are we at an inflection point when it comes to the collaboration of technology and the life sciences?
The level of innovation in the life sciences – which is the number of actual novel medicines that can make a difference to patients – has never been healthier. The barriers to start a company around an innovation have never been lower. Due to the depth of CDMOs and other providers, it does not take a lot of money or fixed infrastructure to test a new medicine out.
Now, whether the innovator is a university spin off or a large pharma company, anyone can tap into the life science’s large ecosystem.
Good companies with solid data can raise the required capital to take things to the next level. While pharma as an industry had been lagging in IT and tech, that’s no longer the case.
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