Sun Pharma began in 1983 with just 5 products to treat psychiatry ailments. Sales were initially limited to 2 states – West Bengal and Bihar. Sales were rolled out nationally in 1985. Products that are used in cardiology were introduced in 1987, and Monotrate, one of the first products launched at that time has since become one of our largest selling products. Important products in Cardiology were then added; several of these were introduced for the first time in India.
Realizing the fact that research is a critical growth driver, we established our research center SPARC in 1993 and this created a base of strong product and process development skills.
Sun Pharma was listed on the main stock exchanges in India in 1994; and the Rs. 55 crore issue of a Rs. 10 face value equity share at a premium of Rs. 140/- was oversubscribed 55 times. The minimum 25% that was required under the regulations then for listing was offered to the public, the owner family continues to hold a majority stake in Sun Pharma. We used this money to build a greenfield site for API manufacture, as well as for acquisitions. For the acquisitions, typically companies or assets that could be turned around and brought on track were identified.
Our first API manufacturing plant was built in Panoli in 1995, for access to high quality actives ahead of competition, and to tap the vast international opportunity for speciality APIs.
Another API plant, our Ahmednagar plant, was acquired from the multinational Knoll Pharmaceuticals in 1996, and upgraded for approvals from regulated markets, including the USFDA, with substantial capacity addition over the years. This was the first of several sensibly priced acquisitions, each of which would bring important parts to the long-term strategy.
By 1997, our headquarters were shifted to Mumbai, the commercial capital of the country. We began on the first of our international acquisitions with an initial $7.5 million investment in Caraco Pharm Labs, Detroit. By 2000, we had completed 8 acquisitions, each such move adding new therapy areas or offering an entry to important international markets. A new research center was set up in Mumbai for generic product development for the US market. In India, as new therapy areas were entered into post acquisition; customer attention, product selection and focused marketing helped us gain a foothold in areas like orthopedics, gynecology, oncology, etc. From a ranking at 38 th in 1994, by 2000 we were ranked 5 th with a leadership in 8 of the 11 therapy areas that we are present in. The year 2000 was the year of turnaround at the US subsidiary, Caraco, as it began to receive approvals after successful inspection by the USFDA. In December 2004, a research center spread over 16 acres was inaugurated by the President of India, with special lab space for drug discovery and innovation.
The tally at the end of 2007
16 manufacturing plants in 3 continents
Over 7000 employees (including subsidiaries)
2 World class research centers
Brand selling in markets worldwide
A growing presence in the US generic market
Increasing research investments on generics, the innovative business has been separated out into Sun Pharma Advanced Research Company with active projects, people and equipment.
Over 40% of sales from international markets