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Sun Pharma, Ranbaxy and two R&D heads

Sun Pharma, Ranbaxy and two R&D heads

But then, pharma analysts say that R&D does not work that way. While there would be domain experts in research generally for the purposes of administrative and operational efficiency, usually there is a single head for R&D-related areas.

E Kumar Sharma, associate editor
With Ranbaxy under its fold, Sun Pharma, India's largest pharma company, now has two leaders to drive its research and development (R&D) growth engine: T. Rajamannar, Head, R&D of Sun Pharma and Alexander Gebauer, his counterpart from Ranbaxy.

Apart from that, Rajamannar is also on the board of the Sun Pharma Advanced Research Company, the entity separated from Sun Pharma in 2007 to focus on drug discovery and innovation.

One could argue that both leaders would have important roles to play after the integration, given that Sun and Ranbaxy have strengths in different therapy areas with some overlap. While Ranbaxy caters largely to the acute segment (also known as anti-infectives, antibiotics), Sun deals more in specialty and chronic (cardiology, diabetes etc) segments.

But then, pharma analysts say that R&D does not work that way. While there would be domain experts in research generally for the purposes of administrative and operational efficiency, usually there is a single head for R&D-related areas. In fact, companies like Cipla and Dr Reddy's have integrated all the R&D functions and put under one division called 'Integrated Product Development'.

It covers areas such as chemistry skills, formulations development, intellectual property management, regulatory science among others and all are under one head. For example, in Cipla it is led by Geena Malhotra while Amit Biswas heads it at Dr Reddy's.

How will Sun Pharma sort out the issue of having two talented professionals with rich years of experience behind them, remains to be seen. Rajamannar, a masters in science from University of Madras did his PhD in Organic Chemistry from IIT Madras and a post doctoral from University of Zurich, Switzerland. He has been associated with Sun Pharma since 1993. Gebauer, with over 20 years of industry experience, has been with Ranbaxy since July last year.

Sun Pharma is now getting to be a research major with around 1,800 research scientists in total, working in multiple R&D centres with a focus on developing non infringing formulations and development of specialty/complex products.

The company now spends around 6 per cent of its revenues annually in research. Its stated R&D goal now is to develop more products through expanded R&D team for global markets and focus on developing complex products across multiple dosage forms.