'Technological Automation Has Helped Us In Expanding Business'

'Technological Automation Has Helped Us In Expanding Business'
Image credit: Entrepreneur India
Deepak Bahri MD, Sentiss Pharma

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Being the first Indian company to introduce eye drops in the Russian market using BFS (Blow-Fill-Seal) technology, Sentiss Pharma has come a long way since its inception in 1990.

A market leader in innovation, the firm was recognized as one of the top 100 great places to work in India in 2015. With a spread-out research centre, Sentiss focuses on ophthalmic, ENT and inhalation segments. Sentiss Research Centre (SRC) filed 31 patent applications, out of which 7 were granted by the end of 2015.

The firm is now in the process of introducing herbal eye drops, the first of its kind in the world. Striving for efficiency, Sentiss Pharma has collaborated with Fujitsu India for implementing SAP Success Factors as their HR application replacing the existing.

How did Sentiss Pharma come into existence?

Over the past 25 years, Sentiss has evolved tremendously and is recognized as the third best ophthalmic company (IMS 2015) in Russia. We have strong research and manufacturing capabilities that make us an integrated pharmaceutical company. Sentiss offers end-to-end solutions—from product development, filing of dossiers, sterile manufacturing, to marketing of products.

How has adopting IT solutions helped you in innovation?

In 2009, we implemented Microsoft Navision to strengthen our business processes. We use cloud based applications for HR and CRM solutions. In addition to that, we use VMware virtualization to reduce the total cost of ownership and increasing efficiency. We are evaluating new platforms such as SAP S/4 Hana, Trackwise, LIMS and SAP Success Factors to bring more productivity and compliance. At the moment, we are in the process of finalizing our IT strategy roadmap for next 5 years. Disruptive technologies such as mobility, cloud transformation and big data are on our agenda. Another example of the adoption of progressive technology is the three piece bottle filling line from Bosch GmbH, Germany and packaging machinery from the Marchesini Group, Italy.

What have been your major milestones?

In 2008 and 2009, Sentiss was ranked number 3 and 2, respectively in Russian generic ophthalmic market. From 2011 to 2015, we filed four ANDAs (abbreviated new drug application) with the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and opened subsidiaries in Switzerland, Russia and US. During that period, Sentiss was declared the ‘most innovative company of the year’ in the mid-sized emerging company category.

How does the future look for Indian pharmaceutical companies?

India enjoys an important position in the global pharmaceuticals sector. As per IBEF, the Indian pharmaceutical industry is estimated to grow at 20 per cent in a compounding annual growth rate over the next five years and will outperform the global pharmaceutical industry, which is set to grow at an annual rate of 5 per cent as per surveys. India supplies 20 per cent of global generic medicines market exports in terms of volume and this market is expected to expand even further in coming years. The future of the pharmaceutical industry looks great.

Do you invest a lot into research?

The Sentiss Research Centre (SRC) is engaged in constant innovation to improve delivery of drugs and focus on various therapeutic segments. SRC has a significant IP portfolio with multiple patents already granted. We spent around 10 per cent of total revenue on Research & Development.

How is the company readying itself for future growth?

Finding the right resources in R&D is a challenge. Sentiss has a major presence in Russia and CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries. We are exploring new opportunities in various geographies such as North America and Europe to reduce currency fluctuation and global risks. We are expanding our manufacturing facility and also intend to invest more in R&D in order to build a robust portfolio. We hope to increase our R&D scientist strength by 50 per cent within this financial year.

This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine (June 2016 Issue).

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