15 January 2015 | Opinion | By BioSpectrum Bureau
'APAC has been the biggest contributor to our growth'
Mr Syed Jafry, senior vice president and president, APAC and emerging markets
Singapore: Clocking revenue close to $17 billion and with a network spread across 50 countries, Thermo Fisher Scientific indeed has unparalleled commercial reach across the globe. The firm exhibits unmatched depths of capabilities to serve the scientific community comprising a wide variety of industries and application segments. With the motto to enable customers to make the world healthier, cleaner, and safer, the company caters to the needs of various pharmaceuticals and biopharmaceuticals, diagnostics and healthcare, life science research, food and beverage and also has a substantial presence in the environmental monitoring, academia and manufacturing and process industries.
The Asia Pacific region and the rest of the emerging markets represent 22 percent of the company's business, generating revenue of more than $4 billion. With expansion and innovation being the key strategies, the company offers a multitude of products encompassing a wide array of analytical instruments, equipment, consumables and laboratory supplies. Riding high on the innovation wave, the firm has spent close to $750 million on research and development last year in the Asia Pacific region. Thermo Fisher Scientific has been recognized for research by the R&D 100 magazine for more than 50 products so far.
Apart from enjoying a strong presence in China, Japan, Australia and India the company is investing in Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and also trying to expand its presence in Thailand and Philippines. The company is spread across 42 locations in India and has established four application centers across the country.
What are the key trends and factors that are driving your business in India and the APAC region?
Everywhere across APAC and emerging markets, regulations are being tightened and enforced--from compliance in pharmaceutical manufacturing to stricter pollution regulation or increased monitoring for food contamination. APAC has been the biggest contributor to our growth.
As the world leader in serving science, we are connected with nearly every aspect of scientific progress-from fundamental research to applied areas such as life sciences and healthcare, pharmaceuticals, food safety and environmental monitoring. In this role, we provide technologies and services that enable our customers to more cost-effectively achieve compliance in their respective markets. This is helping drive our growth in the region.
Thermo Fisher is strengthening its base in India setting up Customer Experience Centers and Innovation Labs. What is your overall strategy in APAC region in general and India in specific?
Over the last three years, we have invested significantly to establish facilities for our customers in India, places where they can experience our technology before making crucial purchase decisions. This is an important part of our customer strategy.
Our customers also require continued support in areas such as the development of new applications and protocols, optimization of existing methods, training of new and existing users and onsite and offsite troubleshooting to ensure continuing operational efficiency.
Our Proteomics Center, which we have inaugurated recently, is another example of our commitment to serving customers before, during and well after the sale.
What are the other centers and labs that you expect to set up in India?
To make it easier for our customers to access our centers of excellence, we have spread our application labs and demonstration centers all across the country. This includes our analytical demonstration center in Mumbai, the training center at Nasik, the chromatography center of excellence for APAC in Ahmedabad, life science application development centers in Delhi and Bengaluru, and a forensics lab in Delhi. And just a few months ago, we opened a customer experience center for cell biology and genomics here in Bengaluru. We are also planning to add another analytical center in Delhi soon.
How has your Unity Lab services taken off in India?
A.Unity Lab Services is a single source for integrated services, support and asset management for laboratory customers to maximize operational productivity. This frees up our customers' time so that they can focus on their science. In India, we are currently building our infrastructure so that we can launch these services here too. We have already launched the services in the US.
How big is India for Thermo Fisher? Can you share some numbers?
India is an important market for Thermo Fisher and, as evidenced by this new facility, we continue to make investments. We cannot, however, share specific information on investment or revenues.
Could you comment amont your key strategic investments in the region? The company with its emphasis in 2000s as a technology innovation firm has moved up the value chain to be an industry leader with a strong services focus. How do you see this moving ahead?
We continue to invest in innovation to better support our customers across all the markets we serve. This includes acquisition of complementary technology platforms such as Dionex, Phadia, One Lambda and Life Technologies, and the creation of new brands, such as Unity Lab Services.
In India, particularly, we have made significant investments to be more accessible to our customers. Today, we have the industry's largest customer-facing team and we continue to open new facilities where our customers in India can experience our newest innovations. We are also the only company to design and manufacture a world-class analytical instrument such as gas chromatograph in India.
Could you also talk about your portfolio depth?
Through our Analytical Technologies Segment, we provide a broad offering of instruments, reagents, consumables, software and services that are used for a range of applications in the laboratory, on the production line and in the field.
Our Specialty Diagnostics Segment offers a wide range of diagnostic test kits, reagents, culture media, instruments and associated products in order to serve customers in healthcare, clinical, pharmaceutical, industrial, and food safety laboratories.
Our healthcare products are used to increase the speed and accuracy of diagnoses, which improves patient care in a more cost efficient manner.
Our Laboratory Products and Services segment offers virtually everything needed for the laboratory. Our unique combination of self-manufactured and sourced products and extensive service offering enables our customers to focus on their core activities and helps them to be more efficient, productive and cost effective. We serve the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, academic, government and other research and industrial markets, as well as the clinical laboratory.
The systems and reagents offered through Life Sciences Solutions enable, simplify and accelerate a broad spectrum of biological research of genes, proteins and cells within academic and life science research, clinical research and commercial applications. Our scientific expertise assists in making bio discovery research techniques more effective and efficient for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, agricultural, clinical, government and academic scientific professionals with backgrounds in a wide range of scientific disciplines.
How is the market for bio suppliers across Asia?
The market is mixed. Areas like Japan are relatively slow, however areas like China and India have most of our global competitors. Singapore is a big hub for biotechnology. Many companies establish their headquarters in Singapore. An important growth strategy is to expand in the Asia Pacific region. The Chinese market has seen an economic slowdown in last three years. But, the markets for healthcare, biopharma are still strong in the region. The new regulations enforced by the government has resulted in a slowdown in the market. There will be good growth in china in the next five years but, it will not be same as the last five years.
How are we looking at India strategically as market?
The growing middle class, and new reforms initiated by the government is making the market more business friendly. The market has a great potential. In Asia, China and India are the fastest growing emerging marking markets. Our strategy for emerging markets has always been is expansion of our business and in some cases also increase our operational presence. Most of our manufacturing facilities are located in the emerging markets.