India's largest CRAMS firm gathers momentum

By Kirsty Barnes

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cent Pharmaceutical industry

Jubilant Organosys, India's largest custom research and
manufacturing services (CRAMS) provider, has scored new contracts
to the tune of $92m for the year thus far as its business continues
to gather momentum.

The deals were inked by the firm's Proprietary Products and Exclusive Synthesis segment, although no further details were released.

The company indicated that the majority of the contracts originate from clients in the US, Europe and Japan.

Jubilant's business has demonstrated a steady growth over the past few years - the $92m in new business is a 50 per cent improvement on the $60m worth of contracts that the firm bagged this time last year.

At the time, this was also a 50 per cent jump on the $40m worth of deals inked in the prior year.

Last year the company said that a substantial portion of these new deals - $54m - came from Europe and the US, so it appears that this year Japan has made an appearance on the scene.

The country's pharmaceutical industry is only just beginning to experience an outsourcing awakening and Japanese firms have been particularly courting India for new business opportunities of late and vice versa.

Meanwhile, Jubilant also singled out China as a location that, outside the geographical region of the regulated markets, is a major source of business for the firm.

CRAMS providers like Jubilant, which hold a presence across the pharmaceutical value chain and undertake services spanning form drug discovery and development through to manufacturing, are gaining momentum in India, as firms that would traditionally have just handled the manufacturing side of things are moving to rid themselves of their generic mindset in order to evolve and remain competitive for the future.

The generics market has always been the bread and butter of the Indian pharmaceutical manufacturing industry.

However, since 2003 the global generics market has been experiencing a downward trend and a situation of overcapacity amongst the Indian players has ensued.

However, according to Sanjiv Kaul, managing director of outsourcing-focused private equity firm Chrys Capital, the industry is now presented with a significant diversification opportunity in CRAMS.

Since 2005 when the country began compliance with the World Trade Organization's (WTO) intellectual property rules (TRIPS), the CRAMS business model began to emerge out of the ether in India.

As such, the Indian CRAMS market value moved from $0.5bn in 2005 to $0.9bn in 2006 and Kaul believes it will reach $2.7bn by 2010, the equivalent of 5 per cent of the global market share.

He also believes that the emergence of CRAMS in India is a changing paradigm, and one that needs to be followed if the country is to move with the times.

Of the $34bn in global outsourcing expenditure in 2005, 60 per cent was spent on contrac manufacturing, 7 per cent on custom chemical synthesis and 33 per cent went to clinical research.

In 2010 the overall expenditure will have risen to $50m and clinical research will have gained a 5 per cent market share at the expense of contract manufacturing.

However, progress in this new arena is very slow for Indian firms, as discovery R&D is still nascent in the country, and in order to really succeed in this space manufacturers need to rid themselves of their generic mindset, said Kaul.

"For example, currently, a generics firm that is doing well will allocate some money to R&D, but when times get tough, innovative research is the first thing to get cut," he said.

"The current short-to medium-term view held by most firms needs to be changed to transcend to a medium-to long-term view."

So far, India has only managed to attract $360m in drug discovery investment by foreign multinationals - a pitiful sum, said Kaul, who added that China is currently in the same position.

Currently, 80 per cent of the pharmaceutical contract work undertaken by Indian firms consists of the manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and intermediates, compared to 60 per cent globally.

Kaul estimates it could take four years for Indian formulators to reduce this gap by diversifying their offerings and becoming larger players in the CRAMS space - Jubilant is rising to the challenge.

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