KIRAN MAZUMDAR-SHAW (CHAIRMAN & MD BIOCON)
Her ambition was to make Biocon one of the world‟s top-five
biotech companies in the near future.
Biocon, the first Indian biotech company established in
Bangalore, was a fully integrated healthcare company that
delivered innovative biopharmaceutical solutions.
Biocon leveraged India's globally competitive cost base
exceptional scientific people resource to invest in R&D
programs, while providing custom & clinical research services to
international pharmaceutical & biotechnology majors through
their subsidiaries, syngene & clinigene.
In November 1978, Kiran joined Biocon biochemical's Ltd, Ireland
as a trainee manager. In the same year, Biocon was formed with Rs
1 lakh seed capital as a 70:30 joint venture of the Irish company
and Kiran Mazumdar, in small shed in koramangala in the outskirts
Biocon Ireland was a major buyer of papaine, extracted from
papaya, which was abundantly grown in India.
The company manufactured and exported papaine, a plant enzymes
and isin glass, a marine hydrocolloid, which were key products for
the brewing industry.
In 1979, Biocon was the first Indian company to manufacture &
export enzymes to USA & Europe.
Kiran started focusing on a niche, enzymes manufactured by
surface fermentation. As a technology, surface fermentation was
considered dated in the west because it was more labor intensive
and less controlled than submerged fermentation.
However, solid fermentation could give upto twenty times more
yield and some micro-organisms like fungi grew well in the solid
Biocon decided to learn solid state fermentation but Biocon had
no R&D of it‟s own.
In 1984, Biocon began focusing on research and development to
develop novel enzymes for the Biocon Group worldwide, through
solid state fermentation process technology referred to as „koji
In early 1980‟s, Kiran had met a student, Shrikumar
Suryanarayan from IIT, Madras, who wanted to buy enzymes
from her for his project. Kiran gave him the enzymes for free.
After two year, he came back after obtaining Mtech from IIT
Delhi. Kiran offered him to R&D for Biocon. He accepted and
designed the first fermenter in Biocon. This new reactor could
contain micro-organisms well. Biocon named this new reactor
The traditional method did not lend itself to automation and
process control so volume were low but the Plafractor allowed
bulk production and critical fermentations. Things could be
added and taken out without disturbing the fermentation process
and it consumed less energy. Biocon‟s mastery of solid state
fermentation was a good strategic weapon.
US$250000 from ICICI Bank , Biocon was able to build a solid
state fermentation plant which helped in the growth of its R&D.
In 1989, the Irish Biocon was acquired by Unilever. In mid
1990s, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw decided to focus on
biopharmaceuticals rather than enzymes. But Unilever, a major
shareholder, did not want to be in the biopharmaceuticals business.
At that time, John Shaw, whom Kiran had married in 1998, used
his savings to reclaim the entire Biocon stakes from Unilever.
In 1997, Biocon merged with Helix Biotech Ltd which was
incorporated in 1989 as a Pharmaceutical Biotechnology
In Nov 1993, Biocon established Syngene International ltd as a
custom research company to address the growing need for
outsourced R&D in the pharmaceutical sector.
Biocon becomes the first Indian company to be approved by US
FDA for the manufacture of lovastatin, a cholesterol-lowering
molecule. Biocon‟s proprietary bioreactor, Plafractor is granted
US 2001 & world wide patent.
In late 90‟s Biocon establishes Clinigene, India‟s first clinical
research organization to pursue clinical research & development.
Biocon had an impressive track record of commercialization
capabilities. Biocon also marketed a basket of branded
formulation in India; like INSUGEN, BIOMAB EGFR and EPO.
Biocon launched India‟s first anti-cancer drug BIOMAB EGFR.
With the successful commercial launch of the first anti-cancer
drug and several promising discovery partnerships in the clinic,
Biocon envisioned scaling new heights in frontier science and
achieving new milestones in affordable medicine.
The ability to attract and motivate good people was a key factor
behind biocon‟s success.
People like suryanarayan were all long timers , hand picked by
kiran Mazumdar, they grew with the company and could not
think of working for any other company.
Biocon has entrepreneurship ,drive ,and scientific talent in
Biocon emerged as an integrated biotechnology enterprise with
presence in biopharmaceuticals, enzymes , custom research
, clinical research.
Biocon was India‟s largest biotechnology company in terms of
The partnership with Cuban institute CIMAB results to launch
the India‟s first anti-cancer drug (BIOMAB-EGFR).
In 2004,they entered into a strategic partnership with vaccinex
to discover fully humanized antibodies focused on cancer,
The collaboration combined vaccinex‟s unique capabilities to
discover fully human monoclonal antibodies using its
proprietary antibody discovery technology and biocon‟s proven
expertise in clinical research & biologics manufacturing.
In 2005,bicon signed a product licensing agreement with
bentley pharmectiucal inc. for its intranasal spray formulation
for insulin administration.
Biocon also entered into a long term supply of agreement with
bentley under which biocon provided bentley and its
licensees, with a competitive supply of insulin for worldwide
markets. The terms of agreement assured bentley commercial
supply of insulin for worldwide markets.
Biocon also signed a MOU with the karolinska
institute, sweden to collaborate in research-education
In 2006,biocon inaugurated biocon biopharmaceuticals , India‟s
largest multi-product biologics facility at biocon park, India‟s
largest integrated biotechnology hub, comprising an integrated
cluster of research laboratories and manufacturing facilities
spread across 90 acres in Karnataka industrial areas
In 2007, biocon and Abu Dhabi –based pharmaceutical
company neopharma signed an MOU to establish a joint
venture to manufacture and market a range of
biopharmaceuticals for the gulf corporation council countries.
Biocon also signed a MOU with deakin university.
Biocon acquired a 70% stake in german pharmaceutical
Axicorp was a specialized marketing and distribution company
established in 2002,it marketed parallel distributed EU-
pharmaceutical as well as its own generic brand “axcount”.
This acquisition enabled Biocon to market and distribute a
range of pharmaceutical including generics, bio-similars
,biologics and innovative pharmaceutical products in Germany
In the same year Biocon entered a strategic partnership with
IATRICa , inc. to co-develop an exclusive new class of
immunoconjugates for targeted immunotherapy of cancers and
other infectious disease.
IATRICa was a privately held biotechnology company engaged
in the discovery and development of novel targeted
immunoconjugates for prevention or treatment of cancer and
• Biotechnology has transformed many parts of the chemical
industry, agriculture and medicine.
•The consumption of biotech products in India was expected to
quadruple within a decade.
•The human and animal segment of the industry alone was growing
by at least 20%.
•In 1999, Indian Biotech Industry contributes to 1.5% of the global
•In India 800 Companies were operating in all sectors of
biotechnology, but only 25 were working in the modern biotech
ADVANTAGES OF BIOTECH
INDUSTRY IN INDIA
Varied Species of flora and fauna.
Varied climatic zones.
Large population and varied demography.
Largest agriculture sector.
World class information technology.
• Vast pool of talented and skilled man power.
• English as the accepted business language.
• Lower operational costs and technologies.
Increasing Government support for bio technology industry.
Government is implementing a national Biotechnology Development
Strategy (NBDS) and establishing a national Biotechnology Regulatory
Authority (NBRA) .
100% FDI in biotechnology sector.
Special tax benefits.
India had proved its competency in selected areas of biotechnology
such as bioprocess engineering ,skills in gene manipulation of
microbes and animal cells, capacity in downstream processing and
isolation methods, and its competence in recombinant DNA
technology of plants and animals.
•Kiran Mzumdar Shaw steered the company through several
reinventions, first moving from being an enzymes maker to stains
and when prices crashed & chinese competition intensified, she
shifted focus to bio-pharma. Now she is focusing on three main
businesses-Biocon, Syngene & Clinigene and the company as a
major biopharma company.
•Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is aware that the real opportunity lies in the
US and Western Europe, where hundred of billions of dollar are
spent on pharmaceuticals every year. However she also realizes that
such markets are difficult to enter as regulatory charges are high and
there are many large competitors, much larger than Biocon
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