6 VIJAY & BHIKHU PATEL
Pharmaceuticals 2018: £800m 2017: £675m (6th)
The new £42m Vijay Patel Building at Leicester’s De Montfort University is winning architectural prizes. It is also the result of the single biggest donation in the university’s history by Vijay Patel, a graduate of the university’s School of Pharmacy. That he could afford such a donation is due to the entrepreneurial talent of Vijay Patel and his brother Bikhu. They arrived in Britain in the 1960s with just £5, a handful of O Levels and a hunger to succeed. In the early days Vijay saved up money to go to pharmacy college by working in a chip shop in Wembley and in 1975 he purchased his first pharmacy in Essex. Bhikhu trained as an architect and came into the business in 1984, a few years after Vijay established Basildon-based Waymade to distribute and market pharmaceutical products and prescription medicines. In 2002 they spun out Amdipharm, which picked up treatments that were out of patent and held no special value for their multinational drug firm owners. 10 years later they sold the business for £367m, retaining a £90m shareholding. Another Patel company, Atnahs Pharma set up in 2013, saw its profit rise strongly to £24.1m on £107m sales in 2017-18. This operation’s assets grew to nearly £34m in a year. The brothers also made a substantial sum from the 2015 sale of AMCO, a niche pharma company, for £2.3bn. We raise the Patels to £800m this year.