"We aim to sharpen our product offerings while ensuring innovation and keeping pace with industry trends"

Ram Yeleswarapu,
President & CEO,
Take Solutions
TAKE Solutions Ltd embarked on a fiveyear transformational scale-up plan with a mission to significantly magnify its size and scale, amplifying its revenues by five-time to emerge as an USD 500 million enterprise. Ram Yeleswarapu, President & CEO, TAKE Solutions elucidates more on this in an email interaction with with Mahesh Kallayil.

Could you please tell us about TAKE Solution's offering to Life Science industry?

TAKE Solutions (TAKE) is a leading, globally recognized, knowledge intensive technology and services player in the Life Sciences sphere, delivering comprehensive and niche solutions for over 15 years. As a trusted adviser to global customers, TAKE Solutions offers IP-based software and extensive knowledge-based solutions to enable efficiencies in the functional areas of clinical, regulatory, and safety during the pre-approval and post-approval phases of drug development.

During the third quarter of FY 2017, TAKE Solution posted 38.4 per cent growth in revenue over the corresponding period in the previous year. What have been the growth drivers for the company and how do you see the business in the near foreseeable future?

We are optimistic of good growth in the foreseeable future on the back of drivers like regulatory mandates and guidance, increased adoption of technology by the industry to gain efficiencies and enhanced optimization. More and more companies are launching R&D efforts for rare and ultra-rare diseases, unmet needs and special indications even if it translates to safe and effective medicines that enhance the quality of life for smaller cohorts of patients. Companies are looking to maximize their revenues by seeking regulatory approvals in more global locations and interacting with more regulatory agencies than ever before. A concerted effort by the global regulatory bodies to communicate among themselves as well as with the industry more efficiently is also leading to increased adoption of data interchange standards and to global initiatives to protect and preserve the integrity of pharmaceutical supply chain.

Please elucidate us on the five-year reinvention plan of TAKE Solution?

Having established ourselves as a credible and trusted partner to a multitude of global biopharmaceutical companies, we are keen to accelerate and amplify our successful delivery and superior outcomes to our marquee customer base. We believe we are strongly positioned in the global market to serve the Life Sciences industry on the back of our deep domain expertise honed over decades and evidenced by our excellent track record of successful delivery of strategic consulting engagements, technology solutions, and a range of functional services. Our attempt as part of the growth surge and way forward would aim at becoming an industry leader and establish eminence. We aim to sharpen our product offerings and expand into existing accounts as well as add new ones via an expanded sales team and leadership, while ensuring innovation and keeping pace with industry trends.

Please share insights into your presence in Global as well as Indian market?

We are globally located in the US and EU markets which drive most our revenues today and we expect to continue to expand in these geographies. Our delivery centers located in India which are already tuned to delivering great results within product engineering as well as functional services, will continue to get expanded while leveraging best practices

What are the key strengths of TAKE Solution to compete in these markets?

Our deep domain expertise, our ability to innovate, our culture of entrepreneurship, our innate desire to deliver excellence each time, and our people strength are the key factors.

What are some of the biggest challenges that pharma technology solution and service providers continue to face in India despite the fact that India is one of the major pharmaceutical market?

The Indian market continues to be predominantly focused on generic pharmaceuticals and driven by cost arbitrage. While some of the leading companies are investing, and adding to their R&D spend by enhancing their portfolios of biosimilars and NCEs, the spend continued to be small. Most of the existing solution and service providers are not necessarily geared to support them adequately in the areas of innovative R&D.

Please brief us on the need for improved connectivity between IT and life science industry.

The Life Sciences industry like all other industries needs to adopt IT and use it effectively for efficiencies and optimization, along with ensuring transparency, quality, and compliance with global regulations. For a long time, the industry did not invest adequately enough in IT and it is playing a fast and furious catch up game. A desire to grow the top line while ensuring superior margins and to remain competitive is driving them to increased use of IT across the various departments.

Do you think life science industry is still dubitative about how to use and make the most of the new IT scenario? Why is that?

We believe they are slowly but surely coming around. Companies that do not believe in their core competencies, and are wary of transparency and accountability will have serious challenges if they do not adopt IT and join the club.

What kind of structural change you envisage for the Indian pharmaceutical industry, as the biosimilar and generics are likely to play a dominant role now?

Indian pharmaceutical industry is under pressure on the generic side of their business. Increased investments against an already low margin business are squeezing profits, and in the face of increased regulation and frequent audits, this will only worsen with time. A race to the bottom will be meaningless, unless they switch to innovation and investment in R&D efforts towards the high end of biosimilars and NCEs. India has an abundance of scientific human capital that needs to be leveraged rapidly in order to make a difference in the global arena.

There is a notion among global market that Indian pharmaceuticals are not of reliable quality as Indian industry is not fully compliant with GMP. As a technology service provider, what's your comment on this?

Exceptions to quality and reliability exist in all markets .Realization and action supporting a move away from legacy practices, and alignment to best practices and industry trends with an aim to compete against global majors needs to be recognized. We are increasingly witnessing adoption of technology across various functions and industry groups, and consortiums are constantly discussing and educating the work force and leadership.

What, in your opinion, are the challenges in regulation that need to be addressed?

There are several considerations that need to be addressed for ensuring compliance with regulations. Starting with adherence to GxP, adoption of Total Quality and ensuring CAPA is implemented and practiced, to complying with transparency and accountability with audit trail enabled data and document handling, companies must address several initiatives

What are the hurdles before TAKE in its march towards its goal of improving outcomes in life sciences?

Appropriate packaging and positioning of the value propositions to global customers segmented by size and their approach to market, time to market, speed of execution while ensuring delivery excellence, and the ability to hire exceptional talent on a scalable and sustainable basis are some of the hurdles in our march towards our goal.

How is TAKE Solutions supporting the increased challenges of expanding global pharma supply chains?

Our roots and legacy in dealing with complex manufacturing and supply chains, knowledge of Total Quality and Six Sigma, a good understanding of global regulations and compliance allow us to effectively support our customers in the face of increased challenges faced by them

According to you what are the major common problems being raised by the small scale pharma industrial units in the country? What role does TAKE play for their solutions?

Across the industry , we have been assisting companies understand and implement QMS and CAPA systems for quality and compliance, data acquisition solutions to address R&D requirements encompassing clinical, regulatory, safety, and medical affairs, and several solutions to support the post approval life cycle management activities

How would you describe the current scene of clinical trials and contract research industry from a global and Indian perspective?

These are exciting times to be servicing the clinical trials industry . With the number of clinical trials and the scope and scale of the trials rapidly expanding to observational studies and the need to back up claims with real world evidence, more investments are being made in R&D efforts. Increasingly, trials are being designed to address rare and ultra-rare diseases as well as unmet needs and in many cases afflicting small cohorts of patients. Regulators are demanding more data and from a well stratified patient population.

While cost pressures are driving companies to greater adoption of technology, innovation is becoming key and having a diversified R&D pipeline is a good risk-mitigating strategy. Indian companies are steadily moving towards gaining market share in the attractive biosimilars market, collaboration and codevelopment is becoming commonplace, vertical integration of capabilities , consolidation via M&A ,in -and out - licensing practices on the global arena are all driving opportunities for service providers.

Going forward how do you see IT to transform the space of life science industry?

IT is fast becoming a common denominator across the industry and we are already witnessing a technology refresh era where legacy, outdated systems are being replaced by cutting edge, cloud based, social and mobile enabled applications, driven by analytics and cognitive computing algorithms.

IT is helping process vast hordes of structured and unstructured data, and the power of data and insights will be increasingly harnessed for improving R&D efforts. The last mile connectivity to health systems, providers, payers, and patients and a bi-directional flow of information and a seamless exchange of real-time information will define the future of safe, effective, and affordable healthcare.

How do you plan to leverage on GOIs Make in India initiative?

We are a global player with a firm foothold in India and have a history of delivering success and value to our customers in India. While being very local to the US and EU markets and fully sensitive to and informed of market and regulatory trends, we bring the very best of design and innovation to fruition at our engineering and delivery centers in India. We have been steadily investing in building human capital and other assets on a global basis and are equipped to leverage the best of available resources.

Your thoughts on budget 2017's impact on life science industry

While there have been no specific announcements pertaining to Life Sciences, the overall implications of GST and improvements in manufacturing will lead to newer opportunities.

How do you intend to steer the growth of TAKE Solution in the years to come?

We aim to be a $500 million Life Sciences company, serving delivery excellence and superior outcomes to a marquee set of global customers, while steadily driving profitability and growth. We are well positioned to take advantage of the decades of good work we have tirelessly delivered to our customers and build upon the legacy we have established as domain experts and trusted advisors to the industry.