Boehringer Ingelheim, a global pharma major, recently announced its plans to strategically realign its business focus areas. Sharad Tyagi, MD, Boehringer Ingelheim India, divulges more details about India’s role and standing in BI’s vision for progress and the company’s plans for the Indian market in times to come, in an exclusive interview with Lakshmipriya Nair
Can you tell us about BI’s priority areas of growth in India in the times to come?
Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) recently underwent a large-scale planned transformation in 2016 which it worked towards intensively for the last two years. Our overarching priority will always be to meet the challenges of developing solutions where there is a strong medical need. This has and continues to provide us with the confidence that we need to continue to be successful, develop and produce advanced medicines with strong therapeutic benefits. For the upcoming years, our priority areas of growth and focus will be on human pharmaceuticals and animal health.
Where does India fit into BI’s global vision? What are the growth plans of the company for the next three years? What is the roadmap to achieve them?
The Indian pharma sector is an important growth market for BI. Our objective is to continue to make a significant contribution towards improving human and animal health in the future. For the next few years, BI will focus on developing all priority areas. In the area of human pharma, the company will work on continuing to strengthen our innovations in the therapeutic areas of respiratory diseases, cardiometabolic diseases, oncology, and diseases of the central nervous system.
We recently heard of the swap between BI’s consumer healthcare in India and Sanofi’s animal health unit? How will it affect the strategy for India?
We are uniting the strengths of two leading players in animal health into ONE business unit within BI. Our complementary portfolios make the businesses a perfect fit. We are leaders in companion animals, swine and equine and have a strong position in poultry and cattle. Together, as ONE animal health business, BI has increased expertise and resources to serve our customers and partners better. We can offer a broader range of industry-leading animal health solutions and more innovation while maintaining the excellent service our customers and partners expect.
With the combination of these two leading and highly complementary businesses, animal health has been identified as a strategic long-term development priority for the company and same applies to India. We expect to have a strong positive impact on our growth in India due to the swap deal.
Why has the company chosen to move out of consumer healthcare in India, especially when it is being touted as a major growth area?
The decision to move out of consumer healthcare and to acquire animal health leader Merial is a global strategic transaction. The transaction created strong global players in Animal Health (AH) and Consumer Healthcare (CHC), respectively. By further focusing on specific business areas, BI and Sanofi are able to better target resources dedicated to innovation, human and technical capabilities, as well as market needs and understanding. BI’s strategic priority is to create value and benefit for consumers, employees and business partners with innovative products in our core areas of expertise. We will therefore further invest in business areas where we have an established global scale leadership or where a pathway to a global scale leadership can be achieved. Acquiring Merial enabled us to significantly increase our footprint in the dynamic global animal health market, and we now rank No. 2 globally in terms of total animal health sales.
Any other strategic changes in the offing?
For the time being it’s our core priority to finish the integration process as mentioned before.
What are the trends which would shape the Indian pharma industry in times to come? How is BI geared to adapt and thrive in this environment?
Over the last few years, Indian pharma sector has seen a positive growth that is driven by increasing consumer spending, rapid urbanisation, and raising healthcare insurance among others. These factors, along with government support, is expected to further fuel the sector’s growth in India and emerge as one of the largest markets in terms of size and volume. At the same time, diseases like diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular ailments are increasing at a rapid pace. From the very beginning, our focus was to excel and provide innovative solutions for these therapy areas and we aim to continue our efforts in bringing the best quality and novel treatment solutions in this field.