INDUSTRYJB: The look is new. But the values remain.
Heraclitus enunciates, ‘There is nothing permanent except change’; and Albert Einstein propounds, ‘The measure of intelligence is the ability to change’! Toeing the line of ‘change’, which more often proves to be prolific, one of the fastest-growing pharmaceutical companies in the country has changed its identity to JB, retaining its core value – “Good people for good health”. JB aims to support healthcare providers and enrich patients’ lives in innovative ways while remaining committed to its core values of integrity, trust and reliability built over 45 years. JB figured among the top 25 pharmaceutical companies of the country with a remarkable growth rate of 29% in the financial year 2021-22. We caught up with Mr Nikhil Chopra, CEO and whole-time Director, JB, to understand theremarkable transformation of JB, who joined the organisation in 2020, and is now steering JB towards becoming more agile, lean and simple. Here are excerpts from the engaging interview:
Q. Please walk us through your journey with JB.
A. I had the privilege to join the organisation in October 2020 amidst the pandemic. The journey has been extremely exciting. I have been here for almost 18-20 months, witnessing JB’s transition over these few months. The company under the astute guidance of the promoters has built a successful business, befitting its legacy of 45 years. JB has made its mark in India and abroad through its incredible work. We are looking at optimising our resources, aiming to take the brand to an unprecedented height. Around 5000 people work in the company spanning its domestic and international presence and manufacturing capacity, and some of them have been with the company for over two decades. My role in this venture is to bring out the potential in the team, build the processes and help the teams in place by strengthening and streamlining the plans,and takingJB to the next level.
Q. Last year has been one of the remarkable years of growth for JB, enabling it to become India’s fastest-growing pharmaceutical company and enter the list of India’s top 25 pharmaceutical companies. What factors contributed to this growth?
A. We plan to make the big brands in the portfolio bigger. If I look at the India business, our new go-to-market strategy has helped us focus and work closely with our distribution channels and retailers in the legacy portfolio. Similarly, when I look at the progressive portfolio in India, we had different strategies for different therapies which helped team members define targets and create frameworks to achieve them while endeavouring to make work engaging for our employees. Besides numerous factors, the acquisition of brands has also helped us grow our rank organically from 26th to 23rd position.We have different strategies in place for our international market. We have a strong presence in South Africa and it is a 50:50 public and private stake there, measuring to be a 300-crore company in that country. Russia has been a historic branded market for JB. We are looking at launching new products based on our R&D. The US alone is a USD 30 million market. We have the potential to double our international business.
Q. What products do you see as miracle drugs in your portfolio?
A. We have some essential medicines for hypertension and gut health. These products have helped tremendously in curing several patients across generations. We are the front-runner company for hypertension as 1 in 4 people in India are hypertensive without the right diagnosis. We ensure that we work both in the domain of diagnosis and the right management of these diseases. Likewise, we have also started focussing on the heart failure segment considering the dire need for cardiological drugs amidst the exponentially rising incidence of heart failure in India. To this end, we have acquired Azmarda – a brand indicated for heart failure patients with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF). Our product portfolio now spans from ‘Hypertension’ to ‘Heart Failure’.
Education and awareness regarding diagnosis and prevention are of utmost significance to bringing down the rising number of heart failure cases in India. And we are proactively working in that direction to spread awareness amongst the masses by employing multiple channels of propagation. Similarly, millions of people suffer from often ignored respiratory problems. We are also focusing on bringing awareness about these drugs to the fore.
Q. Share with us some important names in the JB portfolio?
A. Five of JB’s household brands have been featured in the top 300 of the Indian Pharmaceutical Market (IPM). Rantac (anti-ulcerate) with IPM rank at 45; in the gastro-intestinal segment at rank 6; Cilacar (anti-hypertensive) with IPM rank at 52 and in cardiac segment rank at 4; Cilacar-T (anti-hypertensive) with IPM rank at 203 and cardiac in segment rank at 22, Metrogyl (amoebicide) with IPM rank at 194; Nicardia (anti-hypertensive) with IPM rank at 240 and cardiac segment rank at 30. This is a portfolio built over years of hard work, consistent effort and finally trust in the medical fraternity.
Q. JB has a strong presence in the international market. Elaborate this?
A. JB has over 40 highest global accreditations for the manufacturing process, including certification from the US, UK, EU, Australia, South Africa, Russia/CIS and Australia. It is a leading partner for global pharma innovators and global MNC majors. We export a wide range of formulations to over 40+ regulated and semi-regulated markets, which together account for over 30% of the company’s total annual turnover.We entered the global market almost four decades ago. In 2011, we divested our OTC business to Johnson & Johnson and continued to develop our prescription business to date. We market, sell and distribute generic and branded pharmaceuticals to both – the private and public sectors in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho and Russia. We are renowned worldwide for our commitment to quality and on-time delivery and are exporting a wide range of formulations: Tablets, Capsules, Creams, Ointments, Injectables, Liquid Herbal Syrups, and Lozenges. We have several ANDAs approved in the USA and sell those approved generic products through marketing partners.
Q. Why did JB decide to rebrand?
A. The company was founded by Mr JB Modi in 1976 and we were known as JB Chemical and Pharmaceutical Ltd., (JBCPL). We were known as ‘unique’ in the year 2000. To strengthen the brand identity and to unify the global brand of JB, we have rebranded ourselves to JB, which reflects our belief in being “Good people for good health”. We are becoming leaner, and agile, and our vision for the business is much more progressive globally. Even though we are rebranding to be simple, we are not losing our fundamental values of strong compliance with good quality medicine, which has been the mark of our reliability for decades.
Q. What is the message for the fraternity?
A. JB is a holistic pharmaceutical company built on the strong foundation of integrity, reliability, and always putting patients first. Our purpose is to contribute to healthcare globally, support healthcare providers and enrich patient lives. Featured as one of the fastest-growing companies in the Indian pharmaceutical markets, we are on a journey of sustained growth and value creation by developing products that increase health spans, not just lifespans. We believe we are BIG enough to create a positive impact for patients and healthcare providers, yet small enough to care.
We (JB) are determined to create value for our stakeholders. Our rewards are the smiles on the faces of thousands of patients who get treated with JB medicines. We are here for the fraternity; to serve our patients; and to help cure them, eventually helping them get back to normal with our medicines.