NR Munjal, 63, is Vice-Chairman and the man behind the Ind- Swift Group, a pharmaceutical major with a significant presence in both bulk drugs and formulations. He has over 28 years of experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry. In 1986, Munjal established Ind-Swift Ltd concentrating on formulations, while Ind-Swift Laboratories Ltd (ISLL), formed in 1997, focused entirely on bulk drugs (also known as Active Pharmaceuticals Ingredients or API) as Munjal understood that manufacturing bulk drugs of which the formulations are made to remain competitive.
ISLL is headquartered in Chandigarh. ISLL is a global player with a clear focus on positioning itself as a primary supplier of specialized APIs to regulated markets. It currently exports 50 products to over 50 countries. ISLL is constantly undertaking various globalisation initiatives by entering regulated markets (US, Europe, Japan, Australia & Canada), registering its blockbusters products in various non-regulated and soft regulated countries, filing DMFs, investing heavily in R&D, developing its IPR cell and upgrading manufacturing facilities with increased capacities to cater to the increased global demand for the company’s products.
With 21 FDA compliant manufacturing blocks holding USFDA, MHRA, TGA, KFDA, PMDA Certifications and a robust product basket of 50 molecules (20 more in the pipeline), ISLL is well set to reap the rewards of its initiatives over the next few years, the time when drugs goes off patent. The company also sells specialised APIs and specialty intermediates to several leading Indian pharmaceutical companies such as Cipla, Wockhardt, Ranbaxy, Lupin, Glenmark, Unichem, USV, Dabur, IPCA labs, Ind-Swift Ltd and Cadila. ISLL has already built-up sizable capacities in these molecules to meet increased global demand. The increased capacity in key products has aggressively brought down its costs through process innovations and increased efficiencies.
Exports, which comprise around 60% of revenues (sales of INR610 Crores in FY13-14). Some of the major export destinations include countries in the Middle East, US, Japan, Central, Eastern and Western Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific. Exports would be the key growth driver going forward, as ISLL’s efforts to tap the growing generics opportunity in the regulated markets (US, Western Europe) start bearing fruit as presently the sales to these regions is to the tune of 3-4% of the total sales. The company has also been able to establish commercial tie-ups with leading
generic companies in Japan registering impressive sales of around $10 million in this market.
ISLL is in fact the largest producer of clarithromycin (around 18% of global capacity) and fexofenadine in the world after the innovators. The company was also among the first few players to launch other complex products like clopidogrel, atorvastatin, pioglitazone and Ezetimibe. The company is the first in Asia to launch the anti-diarroheal drug ‘Nitazoxanide’ after the successful clinical trials of the drug in India.
ISLL has built a full-fledged R&D centre and has strong process chemistry skills, which helps it develop cost effective and complex processes for various APIs and intermediates. “The focus has always been on providing innovative pharmaceuticals solutions and to mark significant presence in the segment we are operating.”
ISLL R&D continues to focus on providing chemistry services, custom chemical synthesis, contract manufacturing and FTE services (CRAMS). ISLL CRAMS SBU has secured business worth around Rs. 100 mns by successfully executing the projects of multinational clients. The revenue is expected to “multiply” at the commercialization of these projects from 2015-16 onwards. US will play a key revenue contributor for CRAMS projects in coming years. It already has few big projects from European companies and has executed few projects for top Japanese companies during this year, and is exploring few strategic projects, leading to potential JV with a reputed diversified Japanese conglomerate. It also has been successful in generating potential business enquiries from Korea, Australia and NZ. Through its subsidiaries, Ind-Swift Laboratories Inc (USA), Meteoric Life Sciences Pte (Singapore) and Ind-Swift Middle East FZE (Dubai), Ind-Swift Labs is quickly expanding its global imprint.
Munjal is the Promoter Director and is instrumental in bringing the Group to the present levels. Besides being a key contributor to the growth of the group he is a renowned name in the pharmaceutical industry.
He was Chairman of Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council (PHARMEXCIL); a statutory body set up by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Govt. of India; for promoting the Exports of Indian Pharmaceutical Industries. He was President of Indian Drugs Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA), a premier National Association of the Indian Pharmaceutical Industry. He was Vice President (North) of Bulk Drugs Manufacturers Association, an autonomous body set up to deal with the day-to-day affairs of its members with different Government agencies.
He has also been Co-Chairman of the Pharma Committee – Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), New Delhi, Member of the Managing Committee – Federation of Indian Export Organization (FIEO), an Ex-Member of Board of Trade (BOT), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India, an Ex-Member of Board of Governors of National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), S.A.S. Nagar Mohali and a member of the Managing Committee – PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Apart from the above, Munjal has also received number of awards for his contribution towards the pharmaceutical industry. Few of the major awards received include the Udyog Ratna Award presented by Sh. Virbhadra Singh, the then Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh in 2005, the Udyog Rattan Award presented by the Institute of Economic Studies in 2009, an Award presented by Indian Drug Manufacturer’s Association, Tamil Nadu State Board in 2010 and the Lifetime Achievement Award 2012 presented at the 5th Annual Pharmaceutical Leadership Summit & Business Leadership Awards 2012 by Sh. Satya Brahma, the then Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, Pharmaleaders and Sh. K Shankaranarayanan, the then Hon. Governor of Maharashtra in 2012.