Business Today

Billion dreams

Arjun Juneja joined New Delhi-based Mankind Pharma in 2008 after completing his Bachelor of Business Management from the University of Bradford and MBA from the University of Strathclyde, UK.
P. B. Jayakumar   Delhi     Print Edition: May 21, 2017
Billion dreams
Photo: Vivan Mehra

Company: Mankind Pharma

Designation: Director (Operations)

Age: 31

Arjun Juneja joined New Delhi-based Mankind Pharma in 2008 after completing his Bachelor of Business Management from the University of Bradford and MBA from the University of Strathclyde, UK. Back then the biggest challenge he faced was adjusting to the tradition-bound environment in the company. It was a steep learning curve for Arjun, the son of chairman R.C. Juneja.

While Mankind had emerged as one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical companies in India and was ranked among the top 10, it was a very young company compared to its peers. The company was managed by the family along with very senior loyal employees with a traditional mindset and unwilling to accept new ideas. Mankind was formed after a rift in the family. A science graduate, R.C. Juneja joined Lupin Laboratories as a medical representative in 1975. Eight years later he quit to start a company, Bestochem, with his brothers. After a split with one of the three brothers, he launched Mankind Pharma in 1995 along with brother Rajeev Juneja and sister Prabha Arora with just 20 employees.

Bridging the gap

Although Mankind grew fast, thanks to the marketing skills of the Junejas, many areas critical to a large organisation were missing. Instead of manufacturing, the company was relying mostly on outsourcing. The strategy was to tap small towns and rural markets - while all others were chasing urban markets - aggressively with its wide basket of low cost popular drugs. Research and Development (R&D) and dedicated systems and processes too were not a priority. Arjun, then a novice, was shifted from one department to another. But learning was not an issue as apart from his father, the Chairman, he had assistance from uncle Rajeev Arora, Chief Executive Officer, and Sheetal Arora, cousin and Managing Director.

"Within the family, we discuss business whenever we get an opportunity, whether at dinner or family meetings or in office," says a soft-spoken Arjun Juneja, who did his schooling at GD Goenka school in Delhi. "After shuttling between different departments, in 2009/10, I was directed to lead the ERP implementation and creating an IT platform for the company," he recalls . The difficult task for Arjun was to bring in a dose of professionalism into the company. "Even family members and seniors were reluctant to change systems and existing processes. It required lots of persuasion and conviction", says the 31-year-old, now Director (Operations) with Mankind, who heads almost all major back-end functions except marketing. "My major focus areas at Mankind are R&D, manufacturing, supply chain, quality assessment, information technology, finance and regulatory services," says Arjun. Slowly, more professionals were recruited, the company moved to create its own manufacturing facilities and initiated R&D programmes that match reputed international pharmaceutical companies.

Gaining Heft

From Rs 500 crore in 2000, Mankind grew to a Rs 2,000 crore company in five years. Today it is the fourth largest domestic drug company with revenues of $700 million or Rs 4,650 crore. Now 70-75 per cent of the products are manufactured in-house, from 16 manufacturing facilities, mainly at Ponta Sahib and Sikkim. One of the plants has got the US drug regulator Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Mankind has over a dozen products selling over Rs 100 crore a year in the domestic market and the company is synonymous with products like anti-lethargy drug Nurokind, antibiotic Moxikind and popular erectile dysfunction drug Manforce.

"Now the thrust is to create a large portfolio of over the counter (OTC) products and large scale exports, including to regulated markets like the US," says Arjun. Mankind started exports in a small way two-three years ago to Africa. Currently, exports generate only about $10 million. But Arjun is looking at a big push from the lucrative US market with complex generic products. "We have five marketing applications already filed and the targets is to file 15 products in 2017/18 and another 20 next year, with a target of $200 million in international revenues by 2020," he says.

The internal growth targets set by the Juneja's are ambitious, but Arjun is confident of achieving them. The plan is to grow as the third largest domestic company in terms of local sales within a couple of years with revenues in excess of `5,500 crore by the end of next year.

"By 2021, we are targeting $2 billion," says Arjun confidently.

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