Bangalore-headquartered Sami Labs Limited, a Rs 225 crore research-based
pharmaceutical company with its presence in US, Europe & Japan has
launched the Nutraceutical formulations in association with American
Formulary Inc, New Jersey, USA, in the Indian Market under the brand
company is involved in the manufacture and export of standardised herbal
extracts, fine chemicals, specialty chemicals. Sami is engaged in pioneering
work in the field of pharmaceutical chemistry, biotechnology and natural
Labs was set up in 1991 by Dr Muhammed Majeed with an initial investment
of Rs 25 lakh. This pharmacist from Kerala has pioneered the introduction
of several dietary supplements, starting with Niacin, after he started
Sabinsa Corporation in 1988 in the US. Dr Majeed owns 95 per cent of
the equity in the closely held company.
Labs has so far invested close to Rs 60 crore in four production units
at Bangalore, Singasandra, Kunigal and Mysore. Its aim is to provide
preventive, supportive and adjunct therapy for chronic ailments like
Coronary Heart Disease, Diabetes, ARMD and Cataract, Osteoporosis, Arthritis,
Prostate Diseases. It is currently looking at business opportunities
has recently added the clinical research arm through the strategic acquisition
of Clinworld. It is also engaged in tissue culture and phytoenrichment
studies, biotech research on probiotics.
Labs has built up an enviable global reputation as a developer and producer
of standardised herbal extracts, nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals, fine
chemicals, probiotics and various enzymes. Over the years it has built
up a research and development team of over 100 scientists, including
20 doctorates. With nine US patents and 15 US patents pending in addition
to European and Japanese patents, says Dr Bammi, Director, R&D at
least 15 more US patents are in the pipeline.
US National Cancer Institute is currently using Sami’s SelenoCare
to conduct 12-year clinical trials on the benefits of selenium in treating
prostate cancer. SelenoCare, Sami’s new launch in the country,
is targeted at AIDS, cancer, ageing, heart diseases among others.
just one year in the market, Sami Labs has now drawn up an aggressive
game plan for its Nutraceutical Formulations Division to boost the sales
of its new breed of nutraceutical formulations (antioxidants, phyto-chemicals,
glucosamine sulphate, and coenzyme supplements). These products have
shown moderate success in the Indian markets. The company is setting
up an exclusive facility, one-of-its-kind in Asia and the first dedicated
formulations production unit in the country. The plant coming up at
an existing five-acre facility in Peenya in the outskirts of Bangalore,
will be adhering to USFDA, UK-MCA and Australia TGA norms.
aspire to build an organisation dedicated to research and development,
to make a difference in the lives of people, enhance quality of life,
and to get recognised as one of the finest and respected health science
company globally,” Dr Majeed says.
company has a trading division that is engaged in the marketing of bulk
intermediates in the US, UK, Netherlands, Korea, China and Japan. Some
of its domestic clients include Godrej, HLL, L’Oreal, Amway and
Avon. Sami also has a perfumery and flavours division called Organica
dedicated scientific research, thrust on new product developments, quest
for innovation, adherence to international standards of production,
packaging and quality assurance, Sami Labs is now all set to revolutionise
the nutritional supplement industry. “We are in the process of
adapting several pharmaceutically useful herbs from around the world
in Indian soil and assisting Indian farmers in cultivating them. International
collaborations will form an important part of Sami’s strategy.
We will develop research-based intellectual property and explore its
subsequent commercialisation,” says Dr Majeed.
Shetty, Chief Executive Officer, Nutraceutical Formulations
Division, Sami Labs, who has joined the company an year ago explained
the emergence of nutraceuticals as an alternative medicine and the plans
of Sami Labs to Mahesh Kulkarni of Deccan Herald.
are nutraceuticals? Are they cheaper alternatives to pharma products
or ayurvedic formulations or independent medicines as such?
Answer: Nutraceuticals encompass a large group of preventive and curative
health care ingredients that have been predominantly derived from long-standing
medical traditions such as Ayurveda, Tibetan, Chinese and Japanese medical
systems. Nutraceuticals are primarily obtained from plants especially
those with a well-established use as foodstuff. The blend of these pharmaceutical
and nutritional characteristics resulted in the name “Nutraceuticals,”
to denote the nutritional origins and the design moulded on pharmaceuticals,
that is, standardisation, efficacy and predictability of action. Nutraceuticals
are basically used as dietary supplements. They are sometimes used as
direct medicines for certain ailments and not alternatives to pharma
products as such.
are the major diseases that can be treated by nutraceuticals?
Answer: All therapeutic areas (such as anti-arthritic, pain killers,
cold and cough, sleeping disorders, digestion, prevention of certain
cancers, osteoporosis, blood pressure, cholesterol, depression and diabetes)
have been covered by nutraceuticals. It is believed that almost all
ailments will be covered in the next few years.
are generally regarded as OTC products for general health products.
Are they also prescribed by medical practitioners?
Answer: No. Nutraceuticals are not sold as OTC products in India. However,
in the US they are sold as non-prescription dietary supplements. In
India, they are sold through the ethical route. We are spreading awareness
about the usage of nutraceuticals through doctors.
is the total size of nutraceuticals market in India?
Answer: The nutraceuticals market in India is still very small and is
yet to gain popularity. It is currently valued at about Rs 300 crore
and there are not many players in the market. However, globally the
market size is in the order of $125 billion and the leading market is
the US. India is relatively new market. The size of the Indian industry
is likely to reach about Rs 1,000 crore in the next four years.
Labs has recently entered the domestic market with a range of nutraceuticals.
What is the strategy of the company for the Indian market?
Answer: We have just completed one year in the Indian market with about
eight products. Our strategy is to double the product portfolio this
year and plan to sell products worth Rs 10 crore. We have adopted the
ethical route to sell our products. The focus in the first year was
mainly to set up the distribution network and testing. We are currently
selling our products in six States and plan to go to another six States
during the current year.
will be our core and focus area. We want to be a market leader and we
have a clear vision for it. In the next three years, we aim to grow
the nutraceuticals business to about Rs 100 crore.
year we will strengthen our product portfolio and appoint competent
sales force. We are in the process of conducting seminars and training
for the medical practitioners. So far 100 doctors have been trained
in Karnataka alone.
of the marketing strategies include a unique rational education programme
for doctors about the novel range of formulations that can be prescribed
as a preventive, supportive and adjunctive therapy.
value added promotional tool included is a loyalty assessment process
many products have you launched so far in India?
Answer: At present we have 9 products covering all therapeutic areas.
Another six products, in the areas of cholesterol regulation, pain relief
and fat management are expected to be introduced in another year.
was your total sales in the first year in Indian market. And what are
the projections for the current year and in next five years?
Answer: Our sales in the first was negligible. We mainly concentrated
on setting up of the sales network. During the current year we expect
the nutraceuticals business to contribute Rs 10 crore sales turnover.
While the overall group turnover is expected to be in the range of Rs
strong is your sales and distribution network?
Answer: We have set up sales network in six states with more than 80
field executives. During the current year we plan to expand in another
are the future plans?
Answer: Our future plans include the launch of cosmeceuticals range
of products in India. Currently they are being test marketed in Dubai
under “Johara” brand name. We aim to bring these products
to India in the next six months. Cosmeceuticals are basically cosmetics
with medicinal properties. Its ingredients such as proprietary white
turmeric and pepper have been used in brands such as JK Helene Curtis,
Avon, Estee Lauder and Amway; and domestically for Godrej, HLL and L’Oreal.
also aim to increase our business to Rs 100 crore in the next three
years. Currently, we have US patents for nine products and another 15
patents are pending. To enter the international market in 2004-2005,
documentation procedures are on in some countries and distributors have
been identified in Sri Lanka and Philippines.
are currently setting up an advanced formulations plant for nutraceuticals
near Bangalore. What’s the total capital expenditure on the unit?
Answer: The formulations range of products were currently being manufactured
at GMP (good manufacturing practices) complied loan licensed units in
Karnataka and other parts of the country. We are in the process of setting
up a new formulations division at an investment of Rs 8-10 crore at
Peenya near Bangalore.