Saransh Chaudhary, President, Global Critical Care Division, Venus Remedies and CEO, Venus Medicine Research Centre In conversation with Thomas C Thottathil, Editor, www.indianpharmapost.com identified key areas that the company is focusing on in its Mission 2025
Saransh Chaudhary,President, Global Critical Care Division, Venus Remedies and CEO, Venus Medicine Research Centre
What was the driving force behind Venus Remedies opting for WHO Good Distribution Practices Certification? What will this certification mean in terms of productivity?
The WHO Good Distribution Practices (GDP) Certification received by Venus Remedies reflects the company’s commitment to quality in all aspects of its services covering the entire supply chain cycle, right from the manufacturing stage to delivery of products to end-consumers. It is our quest for excellence that made us go for this prized certification based on an elaborate audit, minute scrutiny of processes and stringent assessment of criteria. Having consistently maintained impeccable standards in our distribution operations through proven quality management systems, we cleared it in one go. With our warehouse operations aligned with internationally accepted GDP regulations, we made the grade, and the adoption of technological advancements made all the difference.
This certification, and the credibility that comes with it, will go a long way in enhancing our productivity by fetching us more business. The internationally acclaimed GDP standards that we are now expected to maintain will also increase output by further limiting the labour-intensive nature of assessment. With the efficiencies brought about in our distribution system creating more demand among our existing business partners and the quality of our services attracting new clientele, our production volumes will go up proportionately.
The pandemic has brought about significant changes in business practices, be it digitization or automation. What has been your experience with your partners and your supply chain?
The supply chain disruptions caused by the prolonged lockdown prompted us to go for digitisation and automation by building on the robustness of systems. We used data-driven decision-making processes to have a better pricing strategy, improve customer relations, stay strong on the core system of advances and enhance market research capabilities. Data-driven supply chain management helped us in strengthening the redistribution system and achieving end-to-end visibility, improved availability and better manageability of products. To bring more efficiency in the supply chain, we created a unique virtual marketplace akin to the Amazon model, applying all B2C technologies to the B2B model in a 360-degree customer-centric approach.
Using advanced IOT technologies, we expanded the direct reach of products to stockists/retailers and upgraded processes for online ordering, real-time tracking of orders and shipments, payment reconciliation and live chat support. Our proprietary warehousing algorithms for cartonisation and shipper selection reduced the shipping time to half. All this helped us further cement our relations with business partners and created a sense of confidence in them, which reflected in a substantial increase in business volumes.
Could you explain your company’s Mission 2025?
Our Mission 2025 entails fostering innovative therapies targeting antimicrobial resistance (AMR), creating brand equity among healthcare providers and consumers, augmenting human skills through technology to build upon a future-ready modern workforce and improving the quality of life of informed Indian consumers by providing best-in-class healthcare solutions using digital platforms.
We aim to achieve a turnover of Rs 1,000 crore and establish our presence in at least 100 countries by 2025.
Focusing on technology, efficiency improvement, sustainable manufacturing and exports to drive growth, we will develop complex cutting-edge products that help us stand out of the competitive clutter. Our vision entails replacing low-margin products with high-value ones.
Pharma companies faced supply chain issues and bottlenecks during the first two waves of Covid-19. How did you overcome those challenges?
We took the adversity in the form of Covid-19 as a challenge to emerge stronger. The abrupt lockdown was a setback for us, but we overcame it by readying our plants and commencing operations on a war footing. We responded to the surge in Covid cases during the first and second waves by stepping up production to meet the demand for generic medicines as well as life-saving drugs, thus ensuring timely supplies.
Having won our largest tender from Mexico in April 2020 when logistical channels were disrupted, we raced against time to manufacture the product and adopted a multimodal strategy—air, sea and surface transport—to ensure that the material was promptly dispatched. Facing an acute shortage of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) from China, we leveraged our relationships to secure API from long-associated suppliers, got it airlifted to our facilities and even emerged as its largest supplier.
In terms of specific therapies, what will be your focus areas?
As a research-driven pharmaceutical company, Venus Remedies will continue to focus on R&D as a key growth enabler. We will continue to nurture intellectual property wealth by consistently developing novel products to address unmet medical needs, particularly in the AMR segment where we have been working for over a decade.
So as to significantly improve the quality of critical care available for patients facing life-threatening bacterial infections, the Venus Medicine Research Centre (VMRC), our R&D wing, is developing a platform technology called Renal Guard which aims to significantly reduce the nephrotoxicity associated with the use of polymyxin antibiotics.
We are drawing on latest state-of-the-art technologies backed by VMRC’s cutting-edge research to come up with several disruptive products in the Consumer Healthcare segment over the next five years, covering gastroenterology, hygiene, pain management, stress management and nutraceuticals.
You are a member of the AMR industry alliance and AMR is a serious issue across the world. What steps are you taking as part of the alliance to mitigate the issue?
Having joined the AMR Industry Alliance as part of our commitment developing solutions to combat the grave public health threat posed by AMR, we will renew our efforts to counter this threat by improving the access of AMR-relevant drugs to third-world countries and encouraging appropriate antibiotic use, besides conducting stewardship activities and awareness drives. VMRC is already working towards it through its non-profit organisation Preserving Life of Existing Antibiotics (PLEA).
The Alliance will act as an effective platform for us to further strengthen multi-stakeholder collaborations to achieve our common objective. This association will amplify our ongoing efforts against AMR at a global level by shaping relevant AMR policies and plugging the leaks in the antibiotic research and manufacturing landscape with focus on access and appropriate use. Besides developing innovative products to treat drug-resistant infections, we will check the emergence of resistance through judicious use of antibiotics, address barriers to patients’ access to appropriate drugs and advance responsible manufacturing through collective effort.
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