Avesthagen: Pathbreaking technologies
Thursday, September 28, 2006 08:00 IST
Avestha Gengraine Technologies Pvt. Ltd (Avesthagen), the drug discovery-driven life sciences company has received the Red Herring 100 Asia Winner 2006 for disruptive technology. The Award recognizes that Avesthagen is an emerging firm in Asia and follows a stringent evaluation of its business model, profitability forecasts, management team and technology.
Disruptive innovation refers to a new technological advancement of a product or service, which could eventually knock over an existing dominant technology or product in the market.
Spearheaded by Dr Villoo Morawala Patell, founder, vice-chairperson and CEO, the company has a portfolio of 55 patent applications, 15 of which are international patents under Patent Cooperation Treaty, and one of which is granted.
Incidentally, Dr Patell has bagged a series of awards including the Woman Award 2005 for Science & Technology, Ojaswini Udyamita Alankaran Award 2004, Indian Council For Small and Medium Exporters (ICSME), Kerana Tuhan Untuk Manusia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and was nominated for the Ernst & Young 'Entrepreneur of the Year' Award - India 2002.
Having posted earnings of Rs. 46.20 crore in March 2006, Avesthagen has confirmed that it is on the right route in discovery. The company also forecasts revenues of Rs. 450 crore in 2009-10 which could indicate that its 'disruptive innovation' for the company could reap fortunes together with profits from licensing-out of technologies, product sales and royalties.
The business model revolves around a combination of intellectual property (IP), product development R&D services and collaborative research programmes, all of which are lucrative revenue streams.
From an academic start-up in 1998, Avesthagen began business operations officially in 2001 with agri-biotechnologies product pipeline, development of scientifically validated bioactive nutraceuticals derived from Indian medicinal plants, as well as the development of a series of bio-similar drugs. Avesthagen, with four strategic operations in biopharmaceuticals, food for medicine (nutraceuticals), seed for food (agri-biotech) and science innovation, extended operations to Hyderabad, Delhi, San Diego (USA) and Cambridge (UK) three years ago.
Its pharmaceuticals & diagnostics unit has entered into collaborative research and product co-development (research process outsourcing) with BioMérieux, France for discovery of virulence factors in different strains of the tuberculosis-causing bacteria, to develop more accurate DNA-based diagnostic chips for TB. The unit has also tied up with AstraZeneca (India), Novartis (USA), Ranbaxy and Intas Pharmaceuticals (India).
Its Bio therapeutics unit known as Avesta Biotherapeutics & Research Pvt. Ltd., formed with Meditab Specialities Pvt. Ltd., an affiliate of Cipla, has a pipeline of 11 bio-similar molecules expected to be marketed in 2007.
Food for Medicine (FFM) develops nutritional bio-actives from traditional Indian medicinal plants, for prevention and treatment of degenerative conditions like diabetes and obesity. It is an exclusive supplier to Nestlé for clinically validated standardized extracts, to be incorporated into Nestlé's products.
Avesta Nordic Pvt. Ltd. (Avesthagen, Centre for Clinical and Basic Research, Denmark and Danish Investment Fund), develops nutritional bio active products for osteoporosis and bone health.
The company, since inception, has adopted venture capital support from ICICI Ventures, Global Trust Bank (Oriental Bank of Commerce), Tata Industries and Godrej Industries. Its latest effort is to raise Euro 25 million in equity investment as its third round of financing to fund extension plans of the company, augment marketing operations and amplify its global presence. It hopes to en-cash an Initial Public Offer (IPO) within two years.
Supporting its business development initiatives, the company is getting its corporate office and R&D facility ready on two acres close to its present location at the International Tech Park (ITPL), Whitefield, Bangalore which is expected to be operational in 2007. The infrastructure includes: Pilot scale manufacturing unit for mammalian bio therapeutics in a joint venture with Cipla. Pilot scale plant extraction facility for the food for medicine programmes with Nestlé and Avesta Nordic. Bio-safety level P3 laboratory for research on infectious pathogens in partnership with BioMerieux.