Indian firm Dr Reddy’s opens UK site

pharmafile | April 12, 2011 | News story | Sales and Marketing Cambridge, Chirotech, Dr Reddy's, India, generics 

Indian firm Dr Reddy’s has confirmed the UK is still attractive for investment as it opens its new pharma services site in Cambridge.

Dr Reddy’s has made its name in generics but acquired chemistry, biology and analytics services specialists Chirotech three years ago.

Yesterday the company opened the newly expanded Chirotech centre in Cambridge Science Park, UK where Chirotech has been based for the last 20 years. The new 33,000 sq ft facility is purpose built for laboratories and offices and has been fitted to Dr. Reddy’s specific requirements for chemistry, biology and analytics.

But given that so many western companies are setting up in India, why is an Indian company investing in the UK?  GV Prasad, Dr Reddy’s chief executive told Pharmafocus it was primarily due to “the access, the science and the talent” in the UK.

He stressed it wasn’t down to cost, but because innovation “was a part of the UK ecosystem”.

“India is very good at scale, but I do not believe it is at the same level of scientific depth as the UK.”

Prasad said the UK was still “very attractive” for pharma and believed that combining the level of sales in India with the UK site was the “natural step forward” for Dr Reddy’s.

The news is encouraging for the UK after Pfizer announced earlier this year the closure of its main European R&D centre in Sandwich by 2013, with the loss of 2,400 jobs.

This was followed by Novartis cutting its manufacturing operations in West Sussex, with the loss of around 500 jobs.

The Chirotech facility will focus on biocatalysis and chemocatalysis, build capabilities in fast growing segments like Activated mPEGs and peptides, and allow development of other areas of expertise in chemistry and processing for use in the pharma industry. 

Prasad said it was not looking to become predominately R&D-led, but instead wanted to “create a business built on research, drug formulation and drug discovery.”

“To stand amongst the other pharma firms, we will need all these ingredients” he said, but made it clear that generics would remain the core of its business.

UK incentives

Dr Reddy’s was assisted in setting up its new centre by the East of England Investor Development (EEID), which in turn has helped to create 18 jobs in the area.

The EEID delivers international business support for new and existing overseas-owned businesses in the region and is aided by the UK Trade and Investment department.

For a government that has made much of the need to nurture life sciences, it will hope this will be the start of continuing investment in the UK, rather than the pain of losing established firms in the country.


Ben Adams

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