Thursday, Nov 20, 2003
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By N. N. Sachitanand
All set to provide such support is the Bangalore-based Millipore (India) Pvt. Ltd., a 14-year old joint venture between Indian promoter, Subhash Bagaria, and the Millerica, Massachusetts (U.S.) based Millipore Corporation. With 11 manufacturing units and six R & D centres across the world, the 50-year old Millipore Corporation is the global leader in this business and had a revenue of $704 million in 2002.
So far, Millipore India (incidentally, it is the only joint venture in the global Millipore network) has been making separation and purification systems combining indigenous components such as piping, vessels and electrical equipment with imported critical items such as membranes, media, chromatography columns, cartridges and low shear diaphragm pumps. It also makes lab water systems that provide ultra-pure water in which impurities are a few parts per billion. The company has an Indian market share of over 75 per cent for these systems and already 3,000 have been installed.
Millipore India has recently expanded its role by putting in place two new facilities. One is a process development lab, which will assist Indian biopharma companies in developing and scaling up manufacturing processes for new products and also train their process personnel. Millipore India is also in talks with some Southern universities to jointly run a structured and practical post-graduate course in biotechnology, using this lab as a core resource. There is a dire need for such trained lab professionals in India.
The second new facility is an access services lab, the fourth of its type in the world, to help the Indian biotech and pharma companies in meeting stringent local and international regulatory requirements. This lab will conduct validation, microbiological analysis and retention studies. It will also support customers in microbiology training and provide offsite services such as quality systems, audit support and process optimisation. According to Sudhir Kant, President, Millipore India, these two labs will go a long way in enabling the Indian biotech and pharma industries to meet the challenges thrown up by the new product patent regime effective 2005.
In addition, the company has started a special school, where short term courses are held, lasting a couple of months, on filtration technology and processes. These are meant for customer personnel as well as others interested in picking up this technology.
Francis Lunger, CEO and President of Millipore Corporation, has many more plans for the Indian JV. Impressed by the high quality stainless steel machining and fabrication work done by the company, he feels it can become a global source for stainless steel components. He expects that the nucleus software support facility set up by Millipore India can be expanded to take up development of embedded software for Millipore equipment. He is also looking at the possibility of making the Bangalore company the main English speaking technical support centre for Millipore Corporation worldwide.
Millipore India has today around 150 employees of which over a 100 are highly qualified professionals. The employee strength will soon cross 200 to address the needs of the new facilities. The turnover this year is expected to cross Rs. 60 crores. With new revenue streams opening up, the Chairman, Subhash Bagaria , expects the annual turnover to cross Rs. 100 crores in 2005-06.
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