Although we can’t organically become the next Sun Pharma in five years’ time, we can definitely surpass Cipla or Abbott,” avers Mankind director Arjun Juneja when asked how his company will get to the next level without making any notable acquisitions. Several of the country’s pharma players have taken the inorganic route to fuel growth, but Mankind stands out as a rebel that has bucked this trend. Painstakingly built by Arjun’s father RC Juneja in the dusty hinterland of north India, Mankind has been acknowledged as a success story that used the bottom-up strategy to its advantage. According to a November 2015 research report, the 20-year-old company is in fourth spot in the market, after Sun, Abbott and Cipla (in that order) in terms of both sales and market share. This ranking was certainly playing on Arjun’s mind when he made his statement about Mankind’s future. But after a realistic rethink, he offers a relatively more staid claim, focusing instead on the difference between Mankind and the 80-year-old Cipla. “The company has a 5.5% market share, while ours is 4%. We should be able to cover that gap in two years.” While we will deal with this 1.5% deficit later in the story, the point to ponder here would be: what gives the company the confidence to make such claims?
Founder RC Juneja, who toiled as a medical representative (MR) for Lupin in western UP in the late ’80s and early ’90s, certainly has the advantage of history to back up Arjun’s claims. His stint in these small towns convinced him that the market needed a pharma company that could keep costs low through contract manufacturing, thus selling drugs at a fraction of the prices charged by MNCs. Founded in 1995, his company followed this strategy religiously for the next 20 years, going from Rs.3 crore in sales to raking in Rs.350 crore by 2005. But Mankind’s biggest leap has come in the past decade. By FY15, the company had jumped to Rs.3,500 crore in sales, with a November 2015 IMS Health reflection report pegging its moving annual total revenue at Rs.3,6