The right prescription from Wockhardt
When CP Pharmaceuticals and The Wallis Laboratory merged in 2003, Wockhardt UK was created as a subsidiary of the leading Indian pharmaceutical and biotechnology group, Wockhardt Limited.
The UK merger produced a diverse pharmaceutical business capable of supplying healthcare products to the retail pharmacy, hospital and grocery sectors. Supported by the group’s global strength and strong research base, the business has benefited from significant investments that help to ensure its customers’ receive the highest levels of quality, value and service.
Established 40 years ago, Wockhardt has evolved into one of India’s top five research-based pharmaceutical companies, and became the first business outside of Europe and the US to manufacture recombinant insulin and other biotechnology based complex pharmaceutical products. International growth is fundamental to Wockhardt’s corporate strategy, and with over half of the group’s revenue coming from customers within the EU and the US, the move into the UK was a logical step for the business. Luton-based Wallis Laboratory was acquired in 1997, and when CP Pharmaceuticals was bought in 2003, the activities of the two were consolidated in Wrexham under the Wockhardt name before the Luton plant was sold on.
Discussing the group’s growth strategy, UK MD Sirjiwan Singh says: “Wockhardt has always been committed to growth, both organic and inorganic routes. Although most of the product development has been organic, we acquired Wallis and CP to establish ourselves in the UK, while we have also acquired a marketing and distribution company in Germany, and in 2006 we added Pinewood Laboratories in Ireland into Wockhardt Group.”
As the largest and fastest growing branded generic pharmaceutical company in Ireland, Pinewood’s range of liquids and creams complements Wockhardt UK’s strengths in injectable and solid dosages. With almost half of Pinewood’s sales coming from the UK, the $150 million acquisition provides the group with an opportunity to reinforce its strong position in the country and add further value to customers, while it also gives Wockhardt UK the opportunity to leverage Pinewood’s marketing and distribution system and customer base in Ireland for its own vast range of products.
The majority of the company’s products in the UK are manufactured in Wrexham, however it is able to draw on the manufacturing capacity of the group’s state-of-the-art facilities in India. “We are a very wide spread manufacturing company with plants in the UK, Ireland and nine manufacturing sites in India,” explains Sirjiwan. “Most of our facilities are approved by the FDA and European regulatory authorities, while we have a very strong integrated supply chain from India to our international marketing locations, which means that we can offer specialised valueadded products to the highest standards.”
In total Wockhardt UK’s products are split into six business divisions; hospital, retail, private label, oral healthcare, export and contract manufacturing. Explaining how the company stands out from the competition, Sirjiwan comments: “Most of the generic business companies operate in one or two segments, but we are strongly founded around these divisions, and this means that when one market is suffering, we can maintain business stability by capitalising on the strengths of our other sectors.”
One of the company’s current strengths is its hospital division, which is the second largest generic supplier of sterile products to the NHS. This division is committed to meeting the future needs of the NHS and constantly reviews its service to ensure it stays at the forefront of the sector. Some of the latest developments include a new style of corporate packaging, as well as the addition of Hyoscine, Dobutamine and Naloxone to its product portfolio.
Wockhardt continually demonstrates solutions for monitoring market changes, and by taking advantage of the group’s R&D programmes in India, it is continually adding to the product range. Involved in biotechnology, super-generics and new chemical entities, this active multidisciplinary research programme resulted in over 100 patents filed last year, while its new drug discovery programme has yielded several promising molecules. Over the last five years $43 million has been invested in R&D, and the group intends to maintain this annual spend of approximately eight per cent of sales.
“While the major part of the R&D is carried out in India we do have a local development team in Wrexham, and together these help us to optimise the cost of development,” Sirjiwan explains. “An inherent strength of our company is the ability to enter into the development phase of another company’s product and take it up to the commercialisation phases. We work closely with our customers, and develop processes for contract clients.”
As a result of Wockhardt’s ever expanding range of products, the company also invested in extending its manufacturing capabilities, and in 2006 it was announced that the Wrexham-site was to expand its capacity for the manufacture of cartridges. Sirjiwan comments: “We have invested heavily into cartridge manufacturing, and as a result our capacity has grown from four million to 22 million per annum. After a three-year automation programme we have become a very viable and efficient organisation, and this manufacturing capability combined with a strong base of contract clients means that we have become a strong player in the contract manufacturing market.”
Asked to explain how he expects the company to develop from its current strong position, Sirjiwan replies: “There are definitely growth opportunities for the future, with our balanced portfolio meaning that we can compete in challenging times faced by generic pharmaceutical companies. At the moment a focused approach and niche products are helpful for a company to grow faster than the market rate, so we are moving towards relatively more complicated technologies, to provide us with further growth opportunities.”
Expanding on the future, Sirjiwan continues: “We have very aggressive plans, both for organic growth and inorganic growth through company and/or brand acquisitions. We are constantly on the lookout for opportunities, although we don’t just look to increase our critical mass. We will only try to acquire a company if we feel that we can add some value to it.”
Focused on a philosophy of creating value by combining the needs of its customers with an uncompromising drive for excellence, Wockhardt UK has grown rapidly in its short history. Capitalising on the group’s history, production facilities and R&D, it offers clients high quality products while compliments these with industry leading service levels.
Products: Sterile Products (Ampoules, Vials, Cartridges and Lyophilised Injectables), Liquid Orals, Semisolid and Solid dosage pharmaceuticals