Apex Laboratories (P) Ltd, a city-based pharmaceutical major, started in 1978, was taken over by SRS family in Sulur, Coimbatore in 1982. Under the leadership of SS Vanangamudi, the CMD, the company has become a Rs 500 cr entity and now aspires to breach the Rs 750 cr mark by 2020 while expanding its global footprint significantly.
Speaking about the opportunities in the nutraceutical space, Vishagan says, “As a company, we are focussing on the pre-diabetic, preventive segment, where we already have an innovative, all-herbal product. We are also looking at nutraceuticals for cardiac and diabetes spaces which are still a niche. The derma space is growing by 5 pc and we have a lot of intellectual properties (IP). It’s challenging for an Indian company to invent something and try pitching a drug to a doctor as there is a lot of resistance. But more doctors have been using our product Sofinox, and we have received encouraging feedback. It is now a Rs 20 cr brand and we are in talks with various govt institutions to explore if they can opt for it, for treating wounds and burns.”
Regarding pain points, Vishagan shares that, “Paracetamol is one of our biggest brands. But the price control is a huge challenge. While we believe the pricing should be affordable, one must also consider the cost of raw materials and other expenses. Right now, we hardly make any margins. And being a big brand, we cannot quit on it.” The company has invested close to Rs 220 cr over the past 5 years and its plants have been adequately upgraded. Now, there are plans for capex for one of the plants, by about 30 to 40 pc. An investment of about Rs 20 cr to Rs 25 cr has been earmarked for the same.