Business Today

Healing touch

Deepak Ghaisas sees a future—and a business model—in personalised medicine.

     Print Edition: May 17, 2009

He’s a Chartered Accountant who spent two decades in the IT sector, sat on the board of a pharmaceutical company and is, for good measure, married to a woman who’s passionate about genetics. Net result? A former CEO moves on to become a biotech entrepreneur.

For Deepak Ghaisas, 51, change hasn’t quite been a companion for all these years—until now. He spent most of his professional life at software major i-flex Solutions, where he rose from Chief Financial Officer to eventually CEO (India operations). Yet, turning entrepreneur isn’t novel for Ghaisas because the culture at i-flex was entrepreneurial in nature, with senior employees encouraged to take responsibility of individual projects as their own baby. 

Claim to fame: A Chartered Accountant, he rose from CFO to CEO (India operations) at i-flex Solutions

Trigger to start up: Left closer to i-flex being rechristened Oracle Financial Services Software last August

What’s keeping him busy: Biotechnology and healthcare

Sitting in his wife’s genetic centre deep in suburban Mumbai, Ghaisas lets on his vision. “I happen to read and learn a lot on genetics and genomics… What India has managed to achieve in IT in the ’80s and the ’90s, we can repeat in biotechnology,” he says. Indeed, there’s a lot of work under way in biotech in India and a number of such firms are providing research & development facilities to global companies. The challenge, says Ghaisas, is to convert innovations into marketable propositions. And this is where he is looking to step in. Ghaisas’ proposition is to assist pharma companies in taking biotech research to fruition by allowing it to translate into personalised medicines for treating lifestyle-related diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.

Ghaisas has taken an office in the Bandra-Kurla complex—suburban Mumbai’s commercial district— where he is in the process of building a team. “We have a management team of close to a dozen people and a few of them are medical doctors with an MBA,” says Ghaisas, who is putting his own money in the venture.

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