Just four years old and Mumbai-based Akumentis Healthcare has doggedly risen through the ranks of the Top 50 pharmaceutical companies in India, but will it be able to sustain this performance? Dr Rajaram Samant, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Mentor is confident that it will. By Usha Sharma
Akumentis Healthcare is one of many start-ups in the highly competitive Indian pharmaceutical industry (IPM). But it has managed to make its mark, thanks to a savvy sales and marketing strategy. As of October, just four years after its launch, the company ranks 38th in the monthly listing compiled by market research firm All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) based on sales at chemists and druggist outlets across the country.
Dr Rajaram Samant, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Mentor, Akumentis is confident about the company’s performance and comments, “Akumentis is aiming to enter the top 30 in 2014-15 and top 20 by 2017-18 in the IPM study.”
Not so smooth
Akumentis’ rise up the ratings has seen some rough patches. As per information shared by the company, Akumentis started its journey in 2011 with a focus on women healthcare and orthopaedic segments. AIOCD AWACS figures show that between August – October 2013, the company was positioned at the 49th position but slipped off the list from November to January 2014, appeared in February, fell off again in March, only to come back and stay on the list more consistently in the subsequent months.
The management seems to have given considerable thought to the vision and mission: making a difference in lives of people suffering from complex lifestyle related health issues. Its sales record is a testimony to its sharp focus on identifying need gaps in existing therapeutic segments and launching ‘first-to-market’ solutions.
A key success strategy has been Akumentis’ focus on the niche segment of women’s healthcare and hence infertility management, obstetrics and gynaecology, and osteoporosis management are a key part of its product basket. And this focus has paid off: Samant reveals that it is already at the 10th position in women healthcare and orthopaedic areas.
Other areas where the company has products are pain and inflammation management, paediatrics and geriatrics nutrition, gastroenterology, ophthalmology, dental care, acute and chronic infection. Akumentis has 30 products in women healthcare, orthopedic segment, cosmetology therapeutic segment and some of its products are top sellers in their respective segments like All9 (pronounced as All Nine), Newbona, Oosure, Clomipure, Ovacet, Dinofirst.
- Akumentis was awarded as ‘Emerging Company of the Year 2012’ by Ministry of Commerce.
- Dr Rajaram Samant, CEO and Chief Mentor, was awarded as ‘Dynamic Entrepreneur of the Year 2012’ by his Excellency K. Shankaranarayanan, Hon.Governor of Maharashtra.
- Samant was awarded as ‘First Generation Entrepreneur of The Year’
- Akumentis entered the Top 65 list in its first year with turnover in excess of Rs 90 crores.
- Akumentis further sharpened its focus on its core areas and entered cosmetology in the third year.
- Entered Top 50 ranks within three years of its launch in India
The Indian market is primarily a branded generics market and there are upto 70000 brands competing for market share and visibility among doctors. How strong is the company’s product pipeline of launches? And are they differentiated enough to stand out? According to Samant, “We have launched around 30 products for the first time in India in women healthcare, orthopaedic and cosmetology therapeutic segments. We have 50 more new products in the pipeline which are awaiting regulatory approvals. These products will be commercialised over the next 36 months.”
The company has plans to move into other therapeutics areas as well. Samant discloses, “For the current year, we plan to launch products in the cardiology and diabetology segments. In the next two years, we will enter nephrology and central nervous system (CNS) catalogue by 20152015-16 respectively.” In addition to this the company is developing and nurturing a pipeline of human talent.
Another reason for Akumentis’ rapid sales growth is that it has steered clear of product categories under price control. As Samant confirms, “We do not have anti-infectives where the Drug Price Control Order 2013 (DPCO) has maximum impact.”
Minimum investment, maximum strategy
At present, the company does not have its own manufacturing facilities. “We get our products manufactured through third parties. We have exclusive agreements with Akums Drugs and Pharmaceuticals, who are leading players in contract research and manufacturing services (CRAMS) with more than seven plants located in Haridwar,” shares Samant.
Thus, with minimum investment in physical infrastructure, but sound marketing strategies, Akumentis seems to have achieved its goals faster than other companies of a similar vintage. In terms of headcount, Akumentis has 3000 people within its fold and predicts that this will increase to 4000 over the next two years.
While talking about the company’s plans for the international market, Samant reveals, “Our global expansion will start post 2017.”
A healthy work environment is the pillar of existence of an organisation and a friendly culture motivates employees to associate better with a company. Akumentis believes in core values like innovation, hard work, honesty, deepest care with passion, tolerance for honest mistakes and organisation growth and development of its employees.
In Samant’s words, “Ours is an innovation driven culture, wherein we are introducing innovative products (first time in India)- this helps our field force get maximum time with doctors and is directly proportional to business and success- this is the biggest motivator to our employees. And we have special programmes to identify and help them build on their personal dreams.”
Samant was awarded as ‘CEO with HR orientation’ in the World HRD Forum this year. “We believe, apart from R&D innovation, it is the passion of people which builds organisations. We are committed to make Akumentis a place which will identify and nurture the true potential of its people. We believe ‘happiness’ of our employees is vital and creating a workplace filled with happiness and fun is vital to our growth,” says Samant.
Giving an example of the company’s efforts to ensure employees feel cared for, he says, “We celebrate birthdays and anniversaries of all family members (including kids) of our employees – a special note from the CEO, with a bouquet of flowers, cake and gift is delivered to the house of each and every family member of our employees.”
During the last fiscal, the company achieved a turnover of Rs 250 crores with 50 per cent growth. This fiscal, the company is targeting to touch Rs 450 crores. Samant sum ups, “We are looking at a turnover in excess of Rs 1000 crore from India alone by 2017.”
The company may still be small, when compared to the larger companies in the AIOCD listing and as with most young companies, it may not be fair to expect the same blistering pace of growth as its revenue base increases. But the spirit of the company exemplifies an entrepreneurial zest typical of start ups. It is most definitely a rising star today and a company to watch out for.