Individuals with existing health conditions are highly susceptible to the diseases that make the rounds now and then. Additionally, the back-to-back pandemic waves and other new types of diseases surfacing are adding to the woes of people with severe illnesses.
If proper treatment is not administered, the chances of a patient’s health condition weakening are much higher in today’s circumstances. Many families cannot afford to buy highly-priced drugs due to their economic status or the non-availability of such medications in the specified region.
Generic pharmaceutical manufacturing companies continuously make efforts to bring optional generic drugs into the market, which are cost-effective and easily available in nearby medical stores. Generic pharmaceuticals are a significant part of the healthcare industry. These drugs help break the dominance held by any brand in the pharma industry.
One such generic pharmaceutical manufacturing company that focuses on developing complex generics and biosimilars for severe diseases is Rus Biopharm. It was founded in 2012 to improve the quality and longevity of patients’ lives. The company intends to make high-quality treatment available to every patient worldwide.
Rus Biopharm’s Satya Karm Punia, President, spoke about the company’s efforts to make complex drugs easily available in the market and its plans for growth in the coming years.
Below are the excerpts from the interview:
Please brief our audience about your company, its USPs, and how it is currently positioned as a leading company in the healthcare sector.
Rus Biopharm is a unique biopharmaceutical company, considering its strategy and product portfolio. Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are the focus disease areas for the company, where primarily inhalation drugs are used to treat the patients.
The inhalation drugs can be in the form of Metered Dose Inhalers with aerosols, Dry Powder Inhalers, suspension, and a solution for inhalation thru Nebulizers. These drugs are not only technologically highly complex, but their regulatory pathway for registration is also time-consuming and expensive. Entry barriers are 10x as compared to a tablet. The drugs have to go through proper clinical trials.
Rus Biopharm has been developing and doing clinical trials on all its products for almost six years and finally launched its inhalation portfolio to market in 2019. The company has the largest portfolio in Eurasia for asthma and COPD drugs, which are 13 MDIs, 10 DPIs, and nine solution/suspensions for inhalation.
Rus Biopharm has already captured more than 50% of the Russian market in terms of volume for the year 2021. The company is continuously investing in this sector to be a leader in inhalation drugs in Eurasia as well as nearby markets.
Other than the inhalation portfolio, the company decided to invest in biotech. Rus Biopharm has successfully registered Peg Filgrastim, Etanercept, Factor VII. Adalimumab and Darbepoetin are very close to registration. Apart from these, the company has seven more biosimilars in various stages of development.
Apart from inhalation and biotech, the company decided to invest in products that have entry barriers to the market, either in terms of technology or regulatory pathway. There are more than five products which company is first generic in the market.
With the above strategies, the company has made sure to keep growing in two digits of percentage every year. The company got orders for 2.9 billion Rubles in 2021, and it hopes to cross five billion Rubles in 2022.
Shed some light on your distinct offerings and how they impact the industry and your clients?
The company is a one-stop solution for asthma and COPD. It makes the doctors and patients comfortable getting used to the company’s products and having confidence in the quality, whichever drug they want to use or prescribe.
Rus Biopharm has also ensured to be cost-effective for government budgets and patients, bringing the costs of the drugs from 30-50% down.
Being an experienced leader, share your opinion on how the adoption of modern technologies has impacted the pharmaceutical industry. How is your company riding the technology wave?
The focus of the company was on technologically complex drugs. The company invested in equipment, both in lab and manufacturing, of the latest available technology in the market.
Though expensive, these one-time capital investments have to be carefully selected. Investment in the right technology ensures that you get an uninterrupted supply of high-quality drugs to the market.
Considering the current pandemic, what initial challenges did you face, and how did you drive the company to sustain operations while ensuring the safety of your employees at the same time?
The pandemic was a challenge to the company, which was handled carefully by the talented leadership team. The supply chain department made a swift decision in piling up more raw material stocks and finding alternative logistics decisions, thus ensuring that the manufacturing does not suffer because of lack of supply of raw materials. The factory director ensured random COVID testing every day, ensuring minimum virus spread within the employees.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the healthcare space?
The future of the healthcare space is about specializing in whichever segment you choose. The investment plan has to be thoroughly checked, as in pharmaceuticals, whatever investments you make in intellectual property can become zero if it fails.
The pharmaceutical business is a complicated puzzle involving human resources, equipment, vendors, technology, policies, etc. If you make even one wrong choice, the puzzle cannot be solved. It is a business that demands lots of intelligence, investment, experience, and of course, hard work.
How do you envision scaling your organization’s operations and offerings in 2022 and beyond?
Rus Biopharm has a target of achieving Five Billion Rubles turnover in 2022. The company has seven to eight product launches this year. Around 40+ products will be launched by 2025, the year in which the company plans to achieve a turnover of 25 billion rubles.
Since mostly the portfolio is made of complicated drugs, the company’s profit margins stay in higher two-digit figures. Rus Biopharm is investing all its profits back into the business. In the coming four years, the company will invest more than six billion Rubles.
Please give us a few testimonials of your clients/customers and a list of awards/recognitions that accurately highlight your organization’s position in the market.
We have the gratitude of the governor of the Moscow region, the gratitude of the Minister of Health of the Moscow region, as well as several few testimonials from distributors.
The Prime Mover
Satya Karm Punia started his pharmaceutical journey in 1997, exporting pharmaceutical goods from India to other countries, primarily to Russia. In 2002 he joined a Russian pharmaceutical company as a partner.
The company was in bad shape due to the wrong choice of its product portfolio and production lines. He turned around the company in seven years by completely changing the product portfolio and building four new production lines from scratch.
He ensured that the company had the largest in-house tuberculosis and ARV drugs portfolio. The supply chain was totally overhauled by avoiding trading companies buying raw materials and signing direct contracts with the raw material manufacturers.
In seven years, more than 40 products were developed in-house and registered, which gave the company a huge growth in the Russian pharma industry, making it a leading local manufacturing company.
In 2011, he left this company and registered Rus Biopharm, where he planned to build a leading company for complex generics. The product development and clinical trials took six years.
In 2018 a new manufacturing facility was ready and built near Moscow, having seven different manufacturing lines. The company’s growth story has just started, as it has huge potential with the product portfolio in the pipeline.