Syngene Bets on its New Research Facility to Ramp Up Biologics Play
Co says it is in the initial stages of reaching the level of work done by Chinese rival WuXi
Bengaluru: When Syngene International went public in 2015, the management envisioned the contract research organisation as second only to China’s WuXi PharmaTech. Two years later, Syngene admits it is only at the initial stages of reaching the level of work done by its Chinese competitor.
“It is very specific to say there is another company and we want to be like that. There is a lot of potential to scale up and globalise the business,” Jonathan Hunt, CEO of Bengaluru-based Syngene, said in an interview to ET. Many of the key drivers for WuXi are in manufacturing and product development, so it’s the scale and not just lab things, Hunt explained. Comparatively, Syngene is at the starting stage of that scale, he said. “We do reasonable size commercial development and manufacturing, largely supporting clinical trials, but if it is a niche product, maybe we can do the commercial. But that doesn’t become an operational size strategy for us,” Hunt said.
Globally, clinical research organisations have been hit after their clients, the big pharmaceutical companies, cut drug research & development budgets. However, that phase seems to be turning around with excitement building around new therapy areas, largely driven by the development of biologic drugs for cancer treatment. Biologics are genetically-engineered proteins developed from human genes.
Global research & development, especially outsourcing budgets by companies for new drugs, is expected to touch $22 billion by 2018, according to a report by consultancy Frost & Sullivan. This is why Syngene, an arm of Biocon, is expanding its capital investment as it waits to complete a 40- acre, $100-million research facility in Mangalore. Hunt said the company is building the biggest and possibly the best team in the innovation area in India and the region.
Besides basic drug discovery support to global pharmaceutical companies, Hunt is looking at the interplay between biotechnology, biology and IT convergence.“There are worldclass IT companies here and also upcoming biotech companies, but that’s a hot area for discussion for the coming decade. One of things that we did was we bought assets of Strand Life Sciences and that’s the beginning of that, adding some data sciences, bioinformatics capability wielding with the science work that we do here,” Hunt said.