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Century Pharmaceuticals Ltd: In the business of manufacturing APIs for over three decades

Drugs are becoming more intelligent and their ingredients are becoming equally complex and harder to handle. Highly active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in particular, are more powerful than ever.

As a result, several pharmaceutical companies are looking to improve the efficiency and quality of these materials, whilst at the same time struggling to ensurecost effectiveness. With the challenges the drug manufacturing industry presents, several pharma companies are in dire need of an efficient API manufacturer. Century Pharmaceuticals is one such company manufacturing APIs, and is in the business for more than three decades. The company provides different kinds of services along with the supplies of APIs and they also handle long-term contracts for manufacturing intermediates and development of new Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients as per your requirement. They have a sharp focus on giving value added services to their customers cost effectively.

We got in touch with Janak Sheth, Managing Director, to understand more about the company.

Q. Century Pharmaceuticals Ltd is in the business of manufacturing APIs for over three decades. Describe your success story till date.

We started manufacture of active pharmaceuticals ingredients in 1982 with only 2 products. Today we have a basket of more than 40 products. Initially owing to lack of business experience we had a very hard time to get customers, manage finance and run the production smoothly. It took us about 3 years to organize everything and thereafter we have not looked back. The success story is owing to our hard work and commitment to produce good quality products and maintain all our commitments on delivery or maintaining individual quality standards for every customer etc. With a long term approach we could retain most of the customers and with increasing product range, we could cross sell very well. In most of the products we manufacture, once a customer buys our product, he remains our customer for several years!

With passing time, we improved our production capacity and by introducing computerization we could achieve consistency of our product. Customers valued our approach and we started exporting a good quantity of our product. Currently we sell to more than 60 countries around the world.    

Q. In-house productions provide the company ultimate control over the quality and the quantity of the products. How does outsourcing APIs help the clients?

We focused on the quality of the product manufactured and tailor-make it to suit customer requirements. Although we benchmark our product according to USP, BP or EP standards we slowly developed our own in house specifications which were stricter than the pharmacopeia specifications. Getting a consistent quality product delivered in time was one of the most important goals of our business. In this way we could give the customers a niche product which when delivered in time gave us their loyalty.

Q. Tell us in brief about your breakthroughs in biotechnology research.

In 2006, we got in touch with an Israeli Biotechnology company and entered into a partnership with them for the commercialization of a novel molecule for the treatment and cure for Asthma and Allergies. We received a private equity funding to carry out the research. The collaborators had a worldwidepatent for their molecule which they licensed to us and we were to establish the proof of concept and then to outlicense it. After training our scientists in Israel the technology was transferred to our lab but we could not establish the claims of the technology. Unfortunately at this point the Israeli company closed down and we decided to debottle neck the gaps in the technology. We could establish the invitro proof of concept and also an invivo proof of concept. When we tried to out license this product, we were asked to undertake an invivo proof of concept in transgenic animals. Our PE partner chickened out and we were left with a promising molecule without funds. The molecule has a promise for a cure for Asthma and without any side effects.   

In addition to this, we are also engaged in the development of stem cells as a rejuvenation therapy for all lifestyle diseases in man. We have achieved a good success in this area too. Once this therapy is approved by the government, we would be able to encash the results of our hard work

Q. There are other players in this field who manufactures animal health products. How does your services standout from the rest?

Our main focus in our company is to ensure that we make products which have no or limited side effects. The animal health products manufactured by us are those which are made from herbs and natural substances which do not have many side effects. We are exporting these products to a few countries.

Q. When things go right, the drug proceeds through the trial efficiently. When things go wrong, the Sponsor is exposed to significant regulatory risks because they are ultimately responsible for the quality and integrity of the trial data. How do you protect the interest of the clients in contract research?

In contract research we maintain complete transparency and follow the guidelines of the sponsor. We have not yet come across any data integrity issues.

Q. Tell us in brief about some of your notable collaborations and how do you improve your services.

Collaborations are all about joint working and sharing the benefits. Since we are long term oriented, we allow our collaborator to get a little more than what we promised them. This helps them to be loyal to us and continue the relationship for a very long time. So far we have never had any sour relationship owing to this policy of our company. 

Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?

We are ready to work on the stem cell therapy once the concept is approved for treatment.

Greet the exemplary

I am a chemical engineer from I.I.T Delhi. I was involved with the setting up a new pharmaceutical plant in Indonesia where I designed the plant, purchased the equipment and later was instrumental in installing and running the plant. This gave me a complete experience of how to start a business. After 4 years I left the company and started my own business. During the working experience in my own company, we faced a lot of challenges initially owing to very little capital available for business and later marketing challenges as the business grew. But with hard work and a long term approach we could overcome all the challenges and grew the company.

Today we are poised for a major growth as the fundamentals of our company are very strong. With the COVID-19 pandemic several marginal companies are likely to exit their businesses. It will give us an added boost to grow organically or inorganically and look forward to interesting global partnerships.

"We are supplying APIs to the global pharmaceutical companies in India and abroad since 4 decades.”