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Home > Business > PTI > Report

Blockbuster drugs from Biocon soon

March 14, 2006 17:33 IST

India's largest biotechnology firm Biocon could be developing potential 'blockbuster' drugs for treatment of cancer and diabetes, but the company's CMD Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said it could take two-to-four years for them to hit the market.

"Well, I just think that I would love to develop a blockbuster drug with 'Made in India' label from our company," said the country's richest businesswoman when asked about her dream.

And the company could well be on its way to achieving this dream, going by what Mazumdar-Shaw has to say. "We have a very interesting research pipeline. We are developing a number of products which could be potential blockbusters," Mazumdar-Shaw told PTI in an interview in Bangalore.

She, however, had a word of caution about the research: "But it's not something that can be predicted. Research is a very unpredictable business. If it happens it's a huge bonanza. If it doesn't, it's a huge lot of money (sic). . . you know. . ."

She said the drugs she was talking about were in the areas of cancer and diabetes. "Most of these products will take at least two to four years before you can even think of accessing the markets."

Mazumdar-Shaw, who was named among the World's 50 powerful women in business by Forbes last year, admits that stress was part of life when one runs a business of Biocon's magnitude.

Stock market expectations to keep performing and outperforming every quarter puts constant pressure on her.

"Right now, all of us get very stressed by business-related matters," she said, when asked if she was bothered too much about work-related matters.

"But I don't think I can relax in that sense. . . you know, it's a commitment and a responsibility," the biotechnology entrepreneur said.

"There is constant pressure. Managing expectations is a challenge and of course, demand on you to perform and outperform is very intense," she said.

"Obviously, there is pressure in every quarter. But our business is something which is not to be judged on a quarterly basis. So we are trying to educate the investor community to realise that they are not going to see exponential growth every quarter. It's a long term business."

Mazumdar-Shaw, a recipient of Padmashri, started Biocon in 1978 in collaboration with an Irish firm.

Asked what it means for her to be the country's wealthiest woman, she said: "I don't think it's wealth in the sense of the way the connotation it has. I think this kind of wealth is about intellectual wealth creation. And it's not about. . . sort of . . . materialistic wealth."

Asked if she is happy with this kind of success, Mazumdar-Shaw quipped: "Intellectual wealth-creation is always something you are proud of."

She said intellectual wealth-creation is about really converting knowledge into wealth. "You use human capital, convert knowledge into wealth; you start with almost nothing and then you create the value. It's something to be proud of and it shows that so much can be done in this country with education."

Mazumdar-Shaw said biotech business was tough to run no matter wherever one is in the world, because it had inherent risks, long gestation period and was a capital-intensive business. "Whether you are a man or woman, its the same. Its tough for anyone."

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