The first phase of the 160-acre campus of Reliance Life Sciences (RLS), a biotechnology company fully owned by the investment companies of Mukesh Ambani, is set to be ready in about a year. It is housed in Dindori, about an hour from Nashik, and is a significant addition to the 20-acre campus RLS already has in Navi Mumbai.
Incorporated in 2001, the company has focused on research and manufacturing to become an end-to-end player and diversified its presence across segments—it has a portfolio of 43 products, and a workforce of 1,300. The new campus in Nashik has an outlay of Rs 4,400 crore, with half of that amount set to be utilised in the first phase. For the FY23 fiscal, RLS had revenues of around Rs 2,400 crore.
Explaining the rationale for the second campus, the company’s President K V Subramaniam tells BT, “This is a larger commercial scale facility for manufacturing plasma proteins, biosimilars, small molecule oncology products and vaccines. In phase II, there will also be commercial scale manufacturing facilities for gene therapy (a way to modify a person’s genes to cure diseases) and mRNA (a single stranded molecule carrying instructions to make proteins) products.” A biosimilar is a biological medicine that is highly similar to another that has already been approved by regulators. Once these products get to even higher volumes in the market, there is the ability to expand the manufacturing facilities in the Nashik campus. RLS’ bet on higher volumes is a reflection of the dynamics of the biopharmaceuticals segment, which is growing at an impressive 25 per cent annually.
RLS, predominantly, has a play in medical biotechnology-based products and services. “Most of the products we make are used in critical and intensive care in hospitals. You will not find our products in chemist shops,” he explains. The company is clear about addressing unmet medical needs, and there is absolutely no room for error. “When you make a product, it goes into the body of a person who is critical. For instance, Reteplase (our product), is a clot buster for a patient [suffering from cardiac arrest], or albumin is for trauma, accidents or liver cases.”
In terms of numbers, RLS’s revenues have zoomed 25 per cent on an annualised basis over the last five years, Subramaniam points out, while Ebitda (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation) has jumped 42 per cent.
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