To develop, manufacture, and market APIs, Veterinary, and innovative biotech products with new therapeutic products and provide a new direction to the pharmaceutical industry, Century Pharmaceuticals Limited was born. “We hope to create value for all our customers, partners, while complying with government regulatory requirements and applying environmentally safe and socially responsible business practices,” says Janak Sheth, the Managing Director of the company. The company’s vision is to be a leader in the industry on the range of products manufactured by its dynamic team as a reliable and dependable source.
Century Pharmaceuticals Limited was started in 1980 in the backward district of Panchmahals. With no business experience and limited finance in our family, there were several challenges. However, with a zeal to overcome challenges, the company moved step by step and started producing and selling small quantities of products with a sharp eye on quality.
“I believe that time is money and hence, we work towards improving the efficiency of our systems by training the people with time”
This helped the company to develop two key customers and slowly expanded the business to other companies in time. “Later we went on adding new products and today we have 40 products under manufacturing with us and exporting to more than 60 countries around the world,” says the team at Century Pharma.
Industry Dynamics by Janak
The scenario in Indian Pharmaceutical space is very opportune. Several companies have grown in India and expanded their operations to other countries. The demand in India is very high and this gives us an economy of scale. Century Pharma has been heavily dependent on Chinese supply of raw materials. With the PLI scheme of the government, several companies have decided to put large scale plants with government support to help increase the scale and production of key starting raw materials and active ingredients. There is a huge opportunity to cater to the Indian market as well as overseas. Most countries find our products to be cost effective and of good quality. There is a need to boost further production and market them to third world countries with a win-win approach.
Owing to the pandemic there was a huge demand for vaccines. India is one of the largest suppliers of vaccines. Several countries around the world are dependent on supplies from India owing to our lower costs and also large volume of production. “I believe that there is a likelihood of demand coming up for other vaccines as well in time to come like we had for SARS, EBOLA and now COVID,” conveys Janak. Such epidemics might continue and hence the company’s ability to supply vaccines in a short time might come in handy.
There is a lot of new drug development also taking place. Biotechnology offers a good replacement for chemical products with high side effects. Janak believes that several new products will be introduced which have few or no side effects by working on the concept of targeted therapies. Several multinational companies are doing their research in India being cost effective. Therefore, there is a huge opportunity in the pharmaceutical industry.
“When the industry was set up, there were challenges of finance as we were set up with very limited resources. We started manufacturing 2 products and realized that we were dependent on only 2 customers for our business,” states Janak. At this point, the company made a conscious effort to get business from new customers. With this initiative it got proposals of new products and slowly expanded not only with existing customers but also new customers.
Thereafter, Century Pharma entered into exports with Indonesia and slowly expanded to 60 countries around the world. The challenges faced by the company were overcome by its team with ease and they were always ready for the next challenge. In the last decade the company has been working on the development of new molecules for the treatment and cure for Asthma and allergies with a targeted therapy technology. “We have yet to realize success in this area,” shares the Century Pharma’s team.
Century Pharmaceuticals Limited believes in continuity and hence has encouraged loyalty amongst its employees. It has developed a culture of a strong family within its employees and this strong bondage helps keep its employees together. “We try to organize picnics and outings to help strengthen the bonds in addition to hosting lunch on any happy occasion in the company,” shares Janak. As a result, the unskilled labor who joined the company during the inception of the company are still working with the company even after 35 years. The story amongst the chemists and managers is no different. “We appreciate loyalty and commitment to growth and in turn the company looks after them,” informs Janak.
Navigating through the Pandemic
During the first wave, there was a serious shortage of masks and PPE kits in hospitals. The company donated masks and PPE kits to leading COVID hospitals for the frontline workers. Century Pharmaceuticals Limited is engaged in the manufacturing of Azithromycin. Many doctors use Azithromycin to help patients suffering from COVID owing to upper respiratory tract infections. “We produced and supplied a lot of this antibiotic. Looking at the pandemic, our research people worked hard to develop an antiviral product Molnupiravir which is very effective in controlling COVID,” informs Janak.
Century Pharma’s team was happy that the government granted permission to manufacture and supply this new drug to pharmaceutical companies. “We hope that this Molnupiravir drug will be very useful in treating patients suffering from COVID. Owing to COVID several people were suffering from Black Fungus and are dying too,” adds the team of Century Pharma. The company had stopped manufacturing of Amphotericin B, a drug specific for the black fungus. Based on popular demand, its team sourced the raw materials and started to manufacture and supply it to companies manufacturing Amphotericin B soon.
Its team hopes this will help alleviate the grave situation the whole world is facing in controlling black fungus. In view of the huge shortage of ambulances, the company quickly donated its new staff car to be converted into an ambulance to the local hospital.
Guiding the Young Ones
Indians are good innovators and hence we see a lot of startups in India. With the economy providing increased funding options to these startups, Janak hopes that we can create many unicorns from India.
“Our young people have great ideas and most of these ideas are worth pursuing. Young people can take more risks and help grow themselves and help our country reach the US $ 5 trillion economy target sooner,” advises Janak. He has personally observed that several plants around the world are manned by Indian pharmacists, Chemists, and engineers. “I would therefore encourage young people to think of innovation and enterprise and build their careers in the pharma industry,” tells Janak.
Pharmaceutical of the tomorrow
The company has a wide range of customers, from small, medium, and large including multinational companies. Its team have had great experiences with them and as they have tried to meet the customer requirements, Century Pharma have enjoyed customer loyalty in spite of the fierce competition.
With increasing product range, it has become easy for the company’s team to cross sell its product with such customers. In view of the pandemic, its team is considering increasing their production capacity. The company has also been working towards personalized cancer treatment with the help of targeted therapy concepts. “If we succeed, it would be a huge upside for our company,” says Janak.