Introduction An Indian entrepreneur. The CMD of Biocon Ltd. a biotechnology company based in Bangalore . Born on March 23, 1953 in Bangalore, India. Schooling from the city’s Bishop Cotton Girl’s High School (1968). Completed her BSc Zoology Honours course from Mount Carmel College, Bangalore University (1973). Later did her post-graduation in Malting and
KMS’s Early life In 1978 , she joined Biocon Biochemicals Limited, of Cork, Ireland as a Trainee Manager. In the same year she started Biocon in the garage of her rented house in Bangalore with a seed capital of Rs. 10,000. Initially, she faced credibility challenges because of her youth, gender and her untested business model. Not only was
With single-minded determination she overcame these challenges only to be confronted with the technological challenges associated with trying to build a biotech business in a country facing infrastructural woes. Uninterrupted power, superior quality water, sterile labs, imported research equipment, and advanced scientific skills were not easily available in India during the time.
Biocon She started Biocon in 1978 and spearheaded its evolution from an industrial enzymes manufacturing company to a fully integrated bio- pharmaceutical company with a well- balanced business portfolio of products and a research focus on diabetes, oncology and auto-immune diseases. She also established two subsidiaries: Syngene (1994) to provide development support services for
She is responsible for steering Biocon on a trajectory of growth and innovation over the years. Within a year of its inception, Biocon became the first Indian company to manufacture and export enzymes to USA and Europe. In 1989, Biocon became the first Indian biotech company to receive US funding for proprietary technologies. In 1990, she upgraded Biocon’s in- house research program, based on a proprietary solid substrate fermentation
In 2004, she decided to access the capital markets to develop Biocon’s pipeline of research programs. Biocon’s IPO was oversubscribed 32 times and its first day at the bourses closed with a market value of $1.11 billion, making Biocon only the second Indian company to cross the $1-billion mark on the first day of listing. She entered into more than 2,200 high- value R&D licensing and other deals within the pharmaceuticals and bio- pharmaceutical space between 2005
In 2007-08, a leading US trade publication, Med Ad News, ranked Biocon as the 20th leading biotechnology companies in the world and the 7th largest biotech employer in the world. Biocon also received the 2009 BioSingapore Asia Pacific Biotechnology Award for Best Listed Company. Today, thanks to her leadership, Biocon is building cutting-edge capabilities, global credibility and global scale in its manufacturing and marketing activities.
Herpioneering work in the sector has earned her several awards, including the prestigious Padma Shri (1989) and the Padma Bhushan (2005) from the government of India. She was recently named among TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. Sheis on the Forbes list of the world’s 100 most powerful women and the
Candid Confessions …KMSWhat was the small dream you had? My small dream when I started was about starting a biotech company which was a pioneering concept. It was about running an R&D based business. So, when you start off, your dreams are very small. It is like, let me start a new sector based on biotech and R&D and see how big I can make this business. That is the way it started off, as a small dream. This dream was because of a rebound. I had actually wanted to take up a career and a job. When I didnt get a job (as a brewer), I was quite
Today, biotechnology is the one of themost happening fields, but when youstarted nobody was even talking about it.So, you were like a visionary...I dont know whether I can call myself a visionary. I was excited about the whole concept of biotechnology. Nobody even understood what biotechnology was 33 years ago. Pioneering companies always try out new things and experiment with new concepts and new things.
On a weekday, what do you do to remain peaceful and not stressful? Itis impossible. I am always very stressed. I dont think I can ever say I am a peaceful person at work. There are a lot of issues and decisions.Business is stressful these days. Let us not kid ourselves. I would be lying if I say I can de-stress on a working day. The only way to de-stress for me is to take one or two days off and then come
You have won many awards including thePadma Shri, the Padma Bhushan, etc. You havebeen named as one of the top business personsin the world. Which do you think is your biggestachievement? Every laurel is special. Obviously, the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan are very important laurels because it is a national recognition. Then, Time magazine naming me as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. It was a big recognition. I think that every one of them is special in its on way but when you ask me what is my greatest achievement, I would say I still dont think I have achieved enough. I have much greater things to achieve.
Do you call entrepreneurship chasing apassion? It is not just about chasing the passion. It is about creating new opportunities.Your tag line says, the difference lies inthe DNA?. I always say, whatever you do, you must be different because every one of our DNAs is different. So, dont copy somebody elses business model. I always tell young people to try and do something different and challenge yourself. If you challenge yourself, you
What would be your advice to youngentrepreneurs? Firstand foremost, I want to tell them that there are no short-cuts to success. I encourage young entrepreneurs because I feel India can grow only through entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is the only job multiplier. In India, there are so many opportunities for young people to start
Why do you think there are not many successfulwoman entrepreneurs? We see many women entrepreneurs today when it comes to small businesses. But where we do not see many success stories is in large businesses. I think it stems from lack of self confidence. Most women feel that they have limitations and they are not cut out to hold such large businesses. That has to change. It is heartening to see family businesses are encouraging their daughters which was not so in the past. That is a good sign. There are lots of executives but not many taking leadership roles. That is why I feel excited to see women like Mallika Srinivasan
Asa woman entrepreneur, how has it been for you? Basically,I am in a very different field. I was unique in many ways. I was a woman entrepreneur and a biotech pioneer. I never looked at myself as a woman entrepreneur because I was always painted as a very different breed of entrepreneur.Ihad the challenges as a pioneer and I never looked at the challenges as a woman entrepreneur. So as a pioneer, I