Stelerix Web Blog Knowledge at your Fingertips



A positive development between India and the EU has us feeling content this morning. We like to see dispute resolution, it benefits information sharing. The new agreement should help ease global distribution qualms for domestic Indian exporters - a market that reached $8 billion USD in 2009.

Further context from Fierce Pharma can be found here.

Enjoy your morning, we'll be back with more resources soon.

Posted by Jeff


Merger Mondays

When you are focused, it is exciting to see dynamic happenings. Here's what I mean:

Today, Lincoln Pharmaceuticals Ltd. further invests in India after initial success in accelerating wound healing. The company sites cost effectiveness and affordability of care as a goal. Interesting.

Watson Pharmaceuticals is also actively looking to get into the India, although plans won't materialize for 18 months.

Reckitt Benckiser will acquire Paras Pharma, and it's diverse array of over the counter consumer products. Analysts noted the price as high, but our own research has continually concluded that a long term outlook and effective logistic and expectation management can lead to very worthwhile ROI.

Posted by Jeff


Cultural Contracting

On the theme of meticulous inspection of all aspects of the issue, let’s revisit clinical trial outsourcing. It always deserves another look, after all.

Especially since respondents are so keen to understand business decision making across cultures. As of yet, no effective handbook for India exits. But this piece from by Alexandria Pešić and featuring Shaylyn Pyke, senior research analyst at Cutting Edge Information, does a good job of exploring many relevant facets of the issue.

Pike identified interesting and insightful problems like the pervasive stubbornness for overseas operations to be exact replica of domestic ones. We also found it interesting that China was identified as the emerging market perceived as the most problematic in terms of overcoming cultural barriers.

As always, we like to find information with actionable points. If your CRO is looking to improve operations in India and abroad, Pike provides key points for immediate consideration. And we’ll be back tomorrow with more relevant information.

If there’s anything in particular we can focus on our find for you, please let us know, in the comments or

Posted by Jeff


Effective Partnerships

As outsourcing has increased from the West to the East, the question facing the global pharma industry is no longer “Should we be in India?” rather “How do we work there successfully?”

- Ajit Mahadevan, Partner, Life Sciences Practice, Ernst & Young

When you are empowering access to information, it is important to look at all sides of the story. Thus, in contrast to our pessimistic tone this morning, we found an outstandingly positive article we wanted to share.

It is relevant today because respondents and interviewees have always been clear: effective partnership management is an incredibly important aspect of any foray into the Indian life sciences market.

Ajit Mahadevan, Partner, Life Sciences Practice, Ernst & Young addresses relevant issues effectively. Some of our favourites are the examples of significant market drivers, and therapeutic areas of interest, given the massive, demographic-driven evolution of the Indian disease profile. Mr. Mahadevan does an especially good job highlighting specific skills required to thrive in different partnership types, from manufacturing to clinical trial outsourcing. This is of particular interest because Alok Kumar brought it up last week.

The importance of long-term focus, trust, honesty, and a spirit of collaboration are also themes of the article, as well as expectation management. If that weren’t enough, at the end there are some very actionable steps that organizations looking to partner can use now!

It should get you excited!

Posted by Jeff


It’s Not All Good.

Alright, we admit, this particular video clip might be a little bit alarmist. But it does a very effective job of highlighting an incredibly legitimate concern amongst the global clinical trial community.

Our friend Dan Sfera, from highlighted this problem, "therapeutic misconception," as a major issue that must be addressed in the growing clinical trial outsourcing market.

It's incredibly interesting to see Dr. Amar Jesani candidly discuss the negative aspects of the competitive advantages big pharma leverages at increasing economies of scale.

Naturally, the goal of our own research is, as always, to break down barriers and allow more players the implements needed to participate. As the evolution to a knowledge-based economy continues to gain momentum, and the ROI becomes increasingly evident, it is easier to empower. No longer do you need to buy a factory to manufacture and market your services globally. And with broadband access fast becoming recognized as a human right in a number of progressive countries, the necessary infrastructure spending will inevitably follow.

In this most recent case of India, we quite clearly found that while the fundamental landscape for life sciences industry growth is robust, significant hurdles remain and cannot be ignored. Said barriers to competition are as high as they are varied. In-depth analysis of our most recent primary research was effective in isolating trends as well as lurking variables. But we'll get into that later.

Posted by Jeff


Weekend Research and Pharma Resources

When you like what you do, it isn't hard to spend a Saturday or Sunday morning with a cup of coffee, or three, and casually peruse work-related content.

As we said here, it makes sense to share the especially valuable content that we come across, on any given day. We believe in raising the bar, by allowing more people access to the game. Fundamentally, it improves the level of competition, innovation and progress. So why not share the actionable and compelling content?

We'll add value by consistently highlighting content of the utmost importance, based on our own extensive and in-depth primary research.

It is always convincing when people put their money where their mouth is. This short clip from Deputy Vice President of Equity Research at Kotak Securities explains why they are bullish on India as a pharma destination over the medium to long-term.

Also on our radar is the continued attempts at penetration by big pharma.

And finally, Indoco Remed Director and Board Member Aditi Kare Panandikar tells a very convincing tale about the US opportunity in India and how various stakeholders may profit.

Thanks for stopping by. We're always curious to learn about what you're reading. And we have some exciting things coming up this week, so stay tuned.

PS If you haven't checked out our interview with Alok Kumar, you're missing actionable knowledge.

Posted by Jeff


Interview with an Expert: Alok Kumar

Alok Kumar is responsible for the successful and profitable strategic alliance between Glaxosmithkline and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories’ emerging generic market. Alok's track record of driving success in cross-functional, international teams is predicated on his strong ability to lead by example. Today, we accurately explore success, particularly, the necessary steps to achieve it in an expansive strategic background and current role. Learn why effective communication with international stakeholders is critical to project success. And analyze how to do it. Explore actionable tips to acquiring an effective partner.  Alok Kumar is an extremely effective guide with whom to explore the evolving partnership long-term opportunities in India.

Jeff – Thank you very much for joining us today, Alok. You have previously identified communication as a strength of yours that translates to bottom-line value. Why is good communication so important with multinational cross-functional teams?

Alok – I have experience handling clients from almost all continents and the point to focus on is that all team members want to achieve the target assigned by their respective management. But the challenge is how to convince others – or get convinced by others – that their respective approach is right.

These problems get very challenging when people from different background/culture/countries interact.  Effective and right communication can help us to set not only an agreed agenda but also to set the specific steps for achieving business targets.

Jeff – What is at stake if communication falters or breaks down?

Alok – Project viability is at stake if communications falter or break down, especially at the execution level. The project could otherwise be viable, but will fail without proper communication. Even if the project is carried out on cost, the delays in the timeline that result may impact project effectiveness and profitability and this will adversely impact the organization.

Jeff – How do you define success when it comes to launching a new product internationally?

Alok – Key to success in any international launch is that we have to believe that every country is different for launch, and we cannot have just one process to fulfill the requirement of every country. We can have some common-steps but there will be always different requirements in different countries. These requirements can be measured best, only after interacting with people from these respective countries and incorporating country specific requirements in our overall process for launching new products internationally. Thus in my view, success will be launching a product in the market while fulfilling all market-specific criteria.

Jeff – In all of your roles so far, you have had a lot of success when it comes to working effectively with diverse teams, why is this so important to you?

Alok – Well Jeff, the answer of this question lies in Indian culture, which says that every individual is different and we must respect his or her ideas and feelings. While working in a cross culture team there will be lot of instances when we will not agree with other team members. At that point of time, success lies in believing that we may not be able to convey our ides, or put them in a manner that the other person would understand. Or maybe the other person is right and we are being stubborn.

We need to take little more time and respect each other ideas and sometimes we should try to think by putting our self in the position of those with whom we are unable to agree. I have tried this many times and always got some way out of the problem. So working as a TEAM (Together Everyone Achieve More) is the main reason of my success.

"One of the most important critical factors is handling & managing people involved in your process. Success of project lies in successful handling of this precious resource."

Jeff – Given your broad experience bringing projects to market, is there a particular accomplishment or project on which you’ve worked that you are the most proud of, and why?

Alok – I have  launched a couple of products. Those were the first generic products, and the only other option available to patient except innovator products. These launches were always very challenging as there were huge expectation from management / investor, and at the same time understanding and countering surprises from regulatory agencies & litigation from Innovator Company.

[Editor's Note: We will be adding a follow-up piece next week to explore these launches in more detail].

Jeff – What aspect of your work is the most important to you? How are you planning to incorporate this going forward?

Alok – I am always assigned projects that other people in my organization have said ‘no’ to, as there were more chances of failure than success. My current assignment is also one of them. Thanks to almighty God; I had always proved my credibility beyond expectation and led assigned project up to success.

One of the most important critical factors is handling & managing people involved in your process. Success of project lies in successful handling of this precious resource.

Another important factor is having complete understanding of the project at hand, as well as the processes involved from project initiation to project completion. We have to understand that there will always be surprises and we must not be surprised because of any surprise. Our plan must be flexible to incorporate these changes and time for this learning must be accounted for in the overall planning structure.

Jeff – The world is obviously becoming a smaller and more connected place. Given your vast experience, can you briefly explain why global cooperation and collaboration is now more important than ever?

Alok – Global cooperation and collaboration is more important now because we have to use other’s strength for our improvement for creating new business; as well as help others in areas of our expertise to develop more business and develop better technology/product for sustaining our competitiveness.

This new world gives us more work & better challenges like never before and we must be ready to adopt new ideas and exploit them for our advantage and benefit of society in large.

We have to understand that any organization cannot be the best & competitive in all areas of business. Wherever we are not competitive then, we should cooperate with more competitive companies. As an organization we must select and develop areas or sectors that can have distinctiveness and advantage over our competitor, this will help to create more business and profitability.

Jeff – Are there one or two key pieces of wisdom, or rules of thumb, that organizations in North America, Europe and the UK can keep in mind when trying to partner with a successful Indian-based company like yours?

Alok – I would say that India is not just destination for short-term benefit or for cost advantage, as India offers opportunities for future. This market can offer you huge opportunities for business and can work as base for business expansion in other emerging markets. Independent judiciary/Democracy/English speaking people are added advantage for any company.

Start with slow pace but be ready to accelerate rapidly. The Indian market offers opportunity beyond expectation. Government does not only drive the market, but private companies/entrepreneur and people of India.

Jeff – A lot of our listeners are concerned with finding an effective partner. How can organizations figure out a good fit?

Alok – Well the answer for this question lies in your specific requirement, as Indian companies offer product & services in different area like contact manufacturing / clinical trial s/ R&D / biotechnology and so on. You can evaluate your partner based on various parameters and especially their expertise and experience in handling their previous partners or similar products. People who have already worked in western countries, or may have collaborations with other companies are leading many of these Indian organizations and are easily approachable.

Jeff - Thank you very much for helping us and our listeners better understand what it takes to succeed when developing profitable and competitive international strategic alliances.


The information, opinions, data, and statements contained herein are not necessarily those of the Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL) and should not be interpreted, acted on or represented as such. The interviewee does not represent himself as a member of DRL, nor should he present his information, statements, opinions, or data as those of DRL.

Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by DRL.

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Posted by Jeff



90% about the problem, 10% about the solution.

Understanding relevant information is critical. As is digesting, processing, and organizing this data in actionable knowledge. Anything else is erratic and wasteful, reaction.

Our high-quality webinar and video conferencing technology allows us to easily and cost-effectively - without compromising quality or content - connect stakeholders who were previously a 22 hour plane ride and obligatory 2-week visit away.

We let you listen to people you otherwise never would have heard.

But now it's our turn to actively lend an ear. Who do you want to hear?

Posted by Jeff


Clinical Trial Outsourcing Resources

In light of this recent Vanity Fair piece, and given our own interest, we will talk actively and transparently about what we’re doing, how we’re getting our information and where we can improve.

Besides, if our goal is to share knowledge, openly exploring our resources with you loyal readers will surely be of benefit, and well within the “Knowledge at Your Fingertips” mandate. It’s important to remember the mandate, we’d say. To that end, we’ll share the best of our curatorial efforts, compiling and creating quality content.

Our particular area of interest, these days? Clinical trial outsourcing. Here’s what we found:

An incredibly thorough SlideShare presentation by Robert M Califf, Vice-Chancellor for Clinical Research at Duke Translational Medicine Institute, “Unresolved issues in the Globalization of Clinical Trials.”

Further on the theme of SlideShare, “Clinical Trials: Overview and Opportunities” by Dr. Kumud Sarin, from the Bioinformatics Institute of India, is a colorful yet effective background for anyone looking to familiarize themselves with the ins and outs of clinical trials. From ethical best practice, industry career prospects, and a compelling case for investing in India, it’s all there.

Finally, this quick read gives an overview of clinical trials in emerging markets, and highlights why India is critical for those who want to optimize such operations. We were also happy to see that it highlighted the need for emergency infrastructure in emerging markets, especially when first-in-man studies are being conducted.

Posted by Jeff

Connectivity is Productivity.

It’s not like you need to physically be in the office to be getting work done. That assumption is out of date, to say the least.

Nowadays, all you need is an Internet connection, be it your home wireless network or the 3G signal from your mobile service provider, to start crossing work-related tasks off your busy to-do list.

So why should access to high quality, competitive, strategic information – the very information that enables and empowers top level, leading-edge thought – be reserved for high-priced conferences and on-site summits?

It’s not as though information is cumbersome to transport, and it’s not like the value of what you are reading or listening to changes dependent on your location. Why then, should you be expected to fly halfway around the world to hear someone speak?

We believe information this important should be available for on demand viewing. Unfettered ongoing access for reference resources is critical.

Don’t settle for someone else’s arbitrary timeline. Learn on your own, with a full suite of on-demand actionable knowledge solutions, from Stelerix, to your fingertips.

Posted by Jeff

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