An entrepreneur par excellence

An entrepreneur par excellence

Dr Kallam Anji Reddy, who built Dr Reddy's Laboratories Ltd from scratch and transformed it into an Rs 10,000-cr pharmaceutical giant within a span of...

Dr Kallam Anji Reddy, who built Dr Reddy's Laboratories Ltd from scratch and transformed it into an Rs 10,000-cr pharmaceutical giant within a span of three decades, was an entrepreneur par excellence. His meteoric rise in the industry could be attributed to his passion and love for medicines and zeal to develop the indigenous pharma industry at a time when it was struggling to develop on its own. Thanks to his pioneering efforts and research and development, the Indian pharmaceutical industry in general and DRL in particular is a name to reckon with in the world. Born into a middle class family in Tadepalli of Guntur district in 1940, Reddy graduated from Bombay University and did his PhD in Chemical Engineering from Pune-based National Chemical Laboratory before joining public sector pharma major IDPL. However, he resigned from his job and embarked on his entrepreneurial journey in 1974 by setting up Uniloids. Subsequently, he also established Standard Organics Ltd in 1980 and Cheminor a year later. The major turning point in his life came in 1984 when he founded Dr Reddy's Laboratories Limited with an initial investment of Rs 25 lakh. Popularly known as DRL or Dr Reddy's, the company went public two years later. Under his able stewardship, DRL has grown into a pioneer in the Indian pharmaceutical industry and crossed several milestones. The company established several benchmarks in the Indian pharmaceutical industry and eventually became the first company in the field in the country to initiate drug discovery research and transformed Indian bulk drug industry from import-dependent in mid-80s to self reliant by 1990s. His greatest contribution to the drug industry in the country was to inspire young entrepreneurs to launch small units. But Dr Reddy would be remembered more for transforming Hyderabad into the pharmaceutical capital of India. Beginning as a manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), DRL introduced branded formulations. What turned the company's fortunes was a drug called Methydopa. Developed between 1985-86, the company approached Merck with the samples but it was rejected.A "That is where I got into the act. I took it as a challenge and within three months, we produced Methydopa equal to Merck's quality and acceptable to them," Reddy once told the media. Dr Anji Reddy's passion for research was instrumental in DRL taking up drug discovery initiatives and it was the first pharma company to initiate basic drug recovery research in the country as early as in 1993. The company's efforts in the research arena yielded positive results and it had secured several important patents across the world over the years. The company licensed its discoveries in the anti-diabetes area for co-development to Denmark-based Novo Nordisk. The year 1987 was another turning point for Reddy's Labs when it secured approval from the US Food and Drugs Administration (US FDA) to make Ibuprofen. This opened a world of opportunities for DRL. Successes followed one after the other. In 1997, DRL filed for its first abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) for Ranitidine and in 1999 it took over Chennai-based pharmaceutical company, American Remedies. DRL's stock had started going up in India as well as abroad, a trend that is still continuing. Dr Reddy's came out with an initial public offering of equity-linked debentures aggregating Rs 2.46 crore in May 1986; got listed itself on the New York Stock Exchange on April 11, 2001 and fetched $133 million to the company. In 2005, DRL purchased Roche's API business in Mexico at $59 million and moved to Germany in early 2006 and acquired Betapharm. Since Reddy's mission in life was to provide innovative new medicines for healthier lives at affordable prices, he joined hands with the Andhra Pradesh Government to establish the Institute of Life Sciences in Hyderabad under public-private partnership. The institute was mandated to carrying out cutting edge research in life sciences. Aware of his own responsibility to society, Dr Reddy in the last decade had become known for his outcome-based institutionalized philanthropy that had impacted positively the lives of nearly 5 million poor, most of them being children and youth. He also set up Naandi Foundation, a public charitable trust, in 1998. As the Founding Chairman, he charted out the trust's vision and provided stellar leadership for the trust which later became one of the India's largest multi-state, multi-sectoral social initiatives. The Foundation was instrumental in providing drinking water and mid-day meal to over 13 lakh students from government schools across the country. Dr Reddy's insatiable passion for social work and betterment of society led him to set up NICE Foundation which provided maternal and neo-natal care to thousands of mothers and new born. Considered as Asia's largest entity in this space, it saves scores of lives every day through its outreach programme. Given his varied experience and wide-ranging exposure, Dr Reddy was inducted as a member into the Prime Minister's Council on Trade & Industry and he had done justice to this position by providing invaluable inputs for the growth of industry in the country. He was also a Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering. His contribution as the Chairman of Andhra Pradesh Industrial Development Corporation (APIDC) was lauded by many in the State. He was also President of The Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance. A In April 2011, the Indian Government honoured Dr Reddy with Padma Bhushan. He also received numerous national and international honours, accolades and Lifetime Achievement Awards. OPINION
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