Home / Companies / People /  A strategy for healthcare: Sharvil Patel

After completing his graduation in science, Sharvil Patel, son of Pankaj Patel, chairman and managing director of Cadila Healthcare Ltd (also known as Zydus Cadila), had to choose between pursuing his masters in management and research. He settled for research and did his doctorate from the University of Sunderland in the UK on breast cancer research at John Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, in the US. That didn’t deter him from becoming a key business strategist in the group. Two years ago, he was the chief negotiator for the group’s strategic deal with Abbott Laboratories Ltd to market Zydus drugs in emerging economies. He declines to say anything about this deal due to the confidentiality agreement between the two companies.

At a time when Indian pharmaceutical and healthcare firms such as Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, Paras Pharmaceuticals, Piramal Healthcare, Claris Lifesciences Ltd and Dabur Pharma Ltd have been selling stakes to overseas companies looking to gain a foothold in the world’s second most populous nation, Zydus—the fifth largest Indian pharmaceutical firm—has been on an expansion drive.

Having helped steer the group towards a $1 billion revenue target last year, Patel, who is now deputy managing director of Cadila Healthcare, is working to achieve $3 billion in sales by 2015.

The 34-year-old Patel has identified 16 countries and more than 20 new technologies that will help the company achieve this target, mainly through existing businesses spread over 30 different units. Another of his tasks is to ensure that Cadila is known as a research-based pharmaceutical company by 2020.

“My research work helped me realize how to work with a limited budget where time is also a constraint. There is a lot of talent for scientific research in India and I want to utilize it in the right way. Being a research-driven pharmaceutical company does not mean only discovering new molecules. It also means introducing newer technologies and introducing more affordable drugs," says Patel, who lives with his parents, wife and a two- and-half-year-old son in Ahmedabad.

Among other things, he’s looking at setting up a scientific advisory board in the company.

Patel has also brought in a new dimension to the consumer business—giving it a much larger positioning in the wellness domain. Some of the initiatives that he has spearheaded include creating a portfolio of IP (intellectual property) driven products to bring value to the active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) business and establishing new business streams in domestic formulations besides launching new products globally.

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