Business Today

From the editor

The outcome in drug discovery may be fraught with many more uncertainties than a game of chess is-after all, in chess you or your opponent can win or both end a game in a draw.

Sanjoy Narayan        Print Edition: January 27, 2008

The outcome in drug discovery may be fraught with many more uncertainties than a game of chess is-after all, in chess you or your opponent can win or both end a game in a draw. In drug discovery, there is usually no direct opponent that you play against and win, lose or draw. Yet, there are similarities. Much of chess is about sacrificing many things (pawns, knights, other pieces) as you plot your way to a bigger victory.

Drug discovery is a bit like that. Only, the sacrifices, as measured in money, are huge. And, every so often, they do not assure you victory in the end. Yet, after spending billions of dollars and several years in research, if a drug company does manage to spawn a blockbuster (a drug that can bring in $1 billion or more a year), such sacrifices are par for the course.

Global Big Pharma has been doing this for years. Several Indian pharmaceuticals companies are attempting a chess-like gambit while investing big into drug discovery and research. Our cover story (Blockbuster Gambit) by Executive Editor Brian Carvalho and a team of writers looks closely at the eight players in Indian Pharma who are pouring thousands of crores of rupees into drug research in the hope that they will be rewarded by blockbusters. If these companies turn successful, the pickings will be huge-as well as big profit, the market value of these companies could pole-vault to new levels.

Few airlines across the globe have tried to successfully offer both high-end full services as well as low-cost services. The philosophies and strategies of the two business models, premium and low-cost, are very different as are the passengers that they target. In India, the recent merger of Deccan and Kingfisher Airlines has resulted in such a chalk-and-cheese entity. True, there is the Indian example of Jet Airways, which, after acquiring Air Sahara, has re-branded and repositioned the latter as JetLite, a low-cost, frills-free airline, compared to the full-service Jet Airways but unlike in the Deccan-Kingfisher merger, Jet and JetLite are two separate companies, run independent of each other. In Can This Marriage Work?, Assistant Editor K.R. Balasubramanyam explores whether it will.

Dalal Street's punters probably wished that 2007, a spectacular year for the Indian stock market, would never end. But after a year when the Sensex gained more than 6,300 points, they are now hoping 2008 becomes a repeat of the last year. Our special report (Which Way Will the Wind Blow?) tells you what you could expect to see as the year unfolds. Elsewhere in this edition is a candid interview with PepsiCo's CEO Indra Nooyi. Also, don't miss the latest Business Today-TeamLease Employment Outlook Survey .

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