With more than 157,000 organ transplants performed around the world each year and an estimated 18 million cases of cancer, Concord Biotech is a company whose work really is a matter of life or death.
Founded in 2000 by Sudhir Vaid, an experienced biotechnologist, Concord Biotech manufactures fermentation and semi-synthetic–based active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). In 2005, the company received approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its first manufacturing site and its first product, Lovastatin, and from then on, it hasn’t looked back.
“Our goal is to build a portfolio of products that can become a one-stop shop for our formulation partners.”
Sudhir’s son, Ankur Vaid, joined Concord Biotech in its early stages, and as the CEO, is focused on taking his father’s business to a global level, understanding the potential of the innovative products offered by the company.
“Concord is the only company in the world that manufactures the entire range of immunosuppressant APIs through fermentation. We now have close to 23 fermentation-based APIs and many more in the pipeline,” Vaid says.
Leading Through Innovation
The secret to Concord Biotech’s success is its decision to offer quality niche fermentation and semi-synthetic APIs to a global client base. “We produce immunosuppressants used majorly by transplant patients,” Vaid explains.
“We also manufacture anti-infectives, antifungals and a range of oncology products. Our goal is to build a portfolio of products that can become a one-stop shop for our formulation partners.”
Concord has recently commercialized one of the world’s largest fermentation API plants, in Gujarat, India, which is spread over 600,000 square meters. With this, Concord is well poised to achieve its goal of becoming a leading global fermentation API player.
“We now have two API plants, one solid oral formulation facility and an injectable formulation plant, which will be commissioned shortly,” he says.
The company’s high came in 2023 when Concord Biotech was listed on the Indian Stock Exchange, which Vaid is justifiably proud of. “We’ve had a phenomenal response from the investor community,” he says. “Now our focus will be to boost our shareholders’ wealth by using our infrastructure in the best way possible.”
Key to Success
R&D has played a major role in Concord Biotech’s success. Over the years, Concord has developed several high-quality and cost-competitive products for global markets.
Strain improvement and media optimization during fermentation followed by a robust downstream process is key to successfully commercializing the product.
In fermentation, media, which is the source of carbon and nitrogen nutrients to microbial culture, have an important role in achieving the desired productivity.
Concord Biotech’s suppliers play a crucial part in supplying such high-quality media. “We work closely with our suppliers to ensure that quality is maintained and that we get consistent supplies from them,” he says.
“It’s our team that has helped us take the company to where it is today.”
The fact that most of these suppliers have been working with Concord Biotech from the beginning and have grown along with the company speaks volumes.
And then there are the employees, who perhaps constitute the most vital element of the company’s success. “It’s our team that has helped us take the company to where it is today,” Vaid says.
“It’s all about having the right set of people in place who work with the mindset of being owners rather than simply as employees.”
Getting approval from regulatory bodies is necessary for exports to global markets, and Vaid feels Concord Biotech has hit a sweet spot in that regard.
“Ensuring we have high-quality standards is critical to the business,” he says. “Fortunately, we have a very good track record with the regulators.”
“Get the right people, develop a competitive advantage for yourself through your technology, your expertise and economies of scale, so that when you reach out to customers, they’ll see the value you offer.”
He explains that innovation and differentiation are key to staying successful in a competitive field. “In today’s pharma world, there are plenty of products and several manufacturers and suppliers. But if you can create a difference through what you produce and the quality of what you produce, you’ll be creating an opportunity to stand apart,” he says.
“Get the right people, develop a competitive advantage for yourself through your technology, your expertise and economies of scale, so that when you reach out to customers, and they’ll see the value you offer.
“When you are able to achieve all this, you’ll have the road map for success – as a company and also as an individual.”