Nicholas Piramal India Ltd (API) is increasing its presence in the European Union. The company has set up a new research unit in Scotland. The new unit, christened NPIL (Innovations), became operational last week.
The new innovation unit will focus on emerging techniques in the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) segment. This would, in turn, help NPIL target the custom manufacturing and synthesis areas with more focus, said a senior NPIL source on condition of anonymity.
API is the basic medicinal chemical that makes drugs effective and is patented in many stages by large companies that discover them.
European companies are struggling to keep up with API manufacturers in India and China who have skills comparable to their continental counterparts, but with lower costs.
The European market for APIs is expected to increase from around $4.5 billion in 2003 to $5.85 billion in 2010, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.8 per cent, according to studies.
NPIL's new centre would be based in the UK but would work in cooperation with the firm's existing research centre in Mumbai. It will control the development of the firm's new technology SCRAM - one that delivers significantly improved process yields in the production of certain chemicals, cuts cost and environmental waste.
Ian Grudy, the former director of sales, NPIL UK, will head the new unit NPIL (i). The new facility will initially employ 25 people which would be ramped up to 60 in two years, said the source.
"NPIL is looking at increasing its presence in European markets as part of its 'global footprint' strategy and we are ramping up the existing research facilities in that continent," said a company spokesperson.
The company has been stepping up efforts to increase its thrust on global expansion plans in the pharmaceutical custom services segment in the last few months. The launch of NPIL (i) is its fourth significant move in Europe this year.
The company's previous moves include the acquisition of the Avecia Pharmaceuticals' business in December 2005 and the buyout of Pfizer's Morpeth, England's manufacturing unit in June.