Dr. Satyanarayana Chava
Category winner: Life Sciences & Healthcare
Creating a global footprint in the pharma industry
Dr. Satyanarayana Chava likes to point out that in India most pharmaceutical companies start by manufacturing generic drugs before they dip their toe into research and development. He flipped the formula around when he set up Laurus Labs in 2005 – he started with research. Armed with a doctorate in organic chemistry, Dr. Chava had spent a decade in the pharma industry – at Matrix Labs to be precise where he became the COO eventually – before he set up his own company. Set up with an initial investment of INR60 crores, the company is today an integrated pharma and biotech company with clients in over 60 countries.
Laurus Labs manufactures and sells products in four key segments – Generics Active Pharma Ingredients (APIs), Generics Finished Dosage Forms (FDFs), Synthesis (contract development and manufacturing services and speciality ingredients) and recombinant proteins. The company has commercialized 90+ products, filed 71 drug master files and has 320 patents filed, of which 177 have been granted.
Under Dr. Chava’s leadership, the company has emerged as the leading supplier of APIs in the anti-retroviral (ARV) segment, with 1/3rd of HIV patients in emerging countries taking medicines that use Laurus APIs. Additionally, 9 out of the world’s top 10 pharma companies are among its clients.
In November 2020, Laurus acquired a 72.5% stake in Richcore Lifesciences, adding a new business segment. Laurus has also invested in Immunoact, a start-up from IIT Bombay working on cell and gene therapy treatments for cancer. The company reported net profit of ~INR984 crores in FY21, a growth of over 280% compared to the previous year.
He plans to expand Laurus’ footprint in high growth markets such as Latin America, US, Canada, and Europe. The company has also partnered with a leading generic player in EU for contract manufacturing.
Dr. Chava’s leadership has been recognized by many with the company winning Most Promising Company of the Year 2021 at CNBC-TV18 Indian Business Leader Awards, India Pharma Leader Award 2021, India’s Best Leaders in Times of Crisis 2021 by Great Place to Work and Golden Peacock Award for Excellence in Corporate Governance 2020.