Sponsored | Business Transformation during a Pandemic: Q&A about Jubilant Biosys’ bold plans with Marcel J. Velterop, President
This is by far the most exciting time in our history as Jubilant Biosys, and certainly the most exciting message Biosys has ever announced simply because of the sheer scale of transformation that we’ve taken on. It’s massive, very achievable, and ultimately truly transformative for us as colleagues, professionals, as an organization, and to our customers.
Jubilant Biosys tomorrow
Q. Jubilant Biosys is undergoing a significant facility expansion and development. Can you please explain in more detail, about the layout, purpose, and completion schedule?
A. (Marcel Velterop): As you know, late in 2019, we announced the commencement of a program, to expand our capacity in key areas due to tremendous growth and market demand for the full range of our functional and integrated drug discovery services. Among these, the build-out of two new locations under development, exclusively for our drug discovery services; One is a new chemistry laboratory in Greater Noida (CIRC), and the other is a complete new green field site in Bengaluru.
In Greater Noida, we are close to start-up a new, truly state-of-the- art, chemistry services laboratory. Our chemistry full-time employees (FTE) capacity will be doubled there. The new site will accommodate over 500 Chemistry FTE’s. As we speak, we are ready to raise the curtain and begin Operations at this site in Q2 2021. This site is designed in compliance with highest global industry safety & environmental standards, with Covid-19 measures built into design, and will deliver superior speed (4D) and quality for small molecule drug discovery programs.
In Bengaluru, Biosys has acquired a 10-acre plot in the Devanahalli Industrial Park, adjacent to the international airport. The proposed, modern drug discovery services site will be constructed in 2 phases and accommodate further expansions. At this location, we are building medicinal chemistry, biology, DMPK, and GLP Tox laboratories and a large GMP multi-purpose plant to cater to all phase 1 & 2 campaigns. Additionally, one of the truly exciting elements of this development is that we are developing an expansive digital space for our AI/ML, TrialStatTM and other informatics services. We expect construction to break ground in Bengaluru later this year, with the facility going live early 2023.
The timing, market demand, and opportunities for Biosys, with both of these facilities is truly remarkable, and exciting for all of us.
Q. What is driving this growth, expansion, and development?
A. There are multiple drivers involved. Chief among them is Jubilant Biosys’ unique offering in integrated drug discovery projects where we have rallied our cross-functional teams to deliver on projects (often around 1st in class targets) all this with an Added Dimension (Time – 4D). As they say, success begets success, Jubilant is now gearing up to service more clients by expanding capacities while maintaining key elements required to be successful in research programs.
We realized the need for Biosys footprint expansion, as we had reached maximum capacity, due to strong growth in recent years. More importantly, we also realized that to fulfill our vision for Biosys and to be a leader in the industry, it was time to design a future-fit infrastructure, one, that is focused on attention to people, digitalization and the highest compliance & environmental standards in the world.
This will be the largest investment ever made in the Biosys discovery services business by Jubilant.
Q. What is the significance of this expansion for Biosys’ future success?
A. The point is to make Jubilant “enabled” for the next decade and beyond. This expansion is vital to our continued success. It facilitates doubling of our business revenue and growth ahead. In addition, we have created an avenue for novel technology additions that are at dawn.
Historically, Jubilant has continuously evolved up the value-chain in the life sciences industries. Again, this expansion is at the very core of our strategy. It is the foundation of our further development of new innovations in the clinical phases and ultimately new launches by our global customer base.
Q. How does this fit into your Vision and Mission at Biosys?
A. The business growth plans and more importantly the brand promise of “Added dimension in discovery,” are ambitious. Through our advanced designs, we are utilizing digital to the fullest, in-order to accelerate our processes and deliver both pre-clinical and clinical value faster to our customers. The ‘added dimension in discovery’ is time – 4D. Time is lifeblood of the pharma industry. At Biosys, we are taking that to heart with this investment program.
Q. What are the primary problems Biosys is solving and how does this contribute to the larger scientific community/industry?
A. We have approximately 600 highly motivated scientists at Biosys, supporting improvement across all aspects of the drug discovery process. This number will grow to more than 1,500 in the next few years. Further, we will offer a complete IND service package, with track-record experience of the best integrated discovery services for our global clients.
We work to give our customers the decision-making information, critical for important new targets and therapies. We help them find new candidates and support them with GMP scale-up of API and clinical trial decision-making tools through TrialStatTM. It is an inspiring chain of capability and improvement.
Q. What are the key attributes or capabilities that make Biosys stand out when compared to your competitors?
A. Biosys has been recognized by its customers for excellence in delivering integrated drug discovery projects. Our highly committed and driven team members are the very foundation of everything we do. I take pride in stating that Jubilant is the magnet to attract and engage intellectual talent in India and what we do here is not a common place at our peers. This makes us stand out. In addition, our ability to complement traditional services with digital solutions and applying our Lean Six Sigma expertise to drive speed across our research processes.
Q. In the earlier part of our conversation, you referred to an important, rarely considered “added dimension” in the drug discovery process. What do you mean by fourth dimension? What is its significance for Jubilant and its customers?
A. In drug discovery today, there are four dimensions we identify and work with in our process at Biosys. We all know the first three, but the fourth dimension- one that until now has been largely overlooked- is that of time – 4D. As I see it, for our growth at Jubilant, this fourth dimension is a critical consideration in drug discovery. In drug discovery, time truly is of the essence. Time is Life is a quote that today resonates even more.
Everything you see or read right now, all the conversations about AI and ML technologies ultimately have only one purpose. To accelerate the process of drug discovery and make it more efficient, to accelerate IP generation, increase the speed of generating new candidates and thereby new medicines.
That is what’s happening at Biosys right now. Biosys is ahead of the competition in this industry with all that we’re doing. To me, this is also what’s so fascinating, exciting and inspiring about our field. And I’ve brought this same principle into our engineering design, particularly in the new Bengaluru and Greater Noida facilities, being developed from ground up.
Q. How so?
A. I am a chemical engineer by training, so I naturally think in terms of processes, safety, and compliance. That is part of the excitement of our facilities in Noida and Bengaluru. When I explain to industry friends in the U.S., what we are building, their surprise and enthusiasm is remarkable. A few have even remarked they would like to come work with us at Biosys, acknowledging what we are doing here. They have not seen much of this yet in the U.S., or elsewhere in the West.
Our expansion in Bengaluru, and corresponding speed to delivery, will allow us to traverse from identifying a new drug, to scaling it up for clinical trials in a completely integrated service from a single site. For our customers, this means they won’t have the uncertainties of transfers or changing numbers. This is the purpose underlying our expansion. This is the promise and vision of Biosys.
While having full, advanced capabilities within one facility in this way does deliver critical speed, equally important, it also ensures security and safety. Security and safety are structured into the very design, materials, and processes of our new facilities.
Furthermore, there’s another important element to our new expansion plan for Biosys. It’s also about bringing expertise together - about designing a facility where people, materials, and excellence flow together providing maximum efficiency to our research and work.
Q. With the fourth-dimension reference, you are talking about time, and therefore, you are also talking about speed and velocity. Is that the core of how Biosys will use AI and ML in your processes of drug discovery?
A. Our vision of how we will use AI and ML at Biosys is along the same lines as you described, but actually larger and more interesting. I can discuss only a limited portion right now, but in a nutshell, my aim is to augment our scientists with those tools so they can do things faster. Also, so they do not have to do let’s say 10 reactions but are able to get even more precise results and insights from conducting only three. In addition, from our biologists’ work throughout the day being recorded digitally in real time, it will also be available instantly. Thus, reports can be reviewed both internally and by our customers 24/7, given they will have continuous access to that data through our global cloud capabilities. All of this and more are key elements of the new global vision we are implementing for Biosys and our customers.
Q. What particularly excites you about Biosys and the biotech/pharma industry today, as well as into the future?
A. We are experiencing tremendous, exciting momentum and growth across all our geographies. The industry is doing well as a whole and our enhanced performance at Jubilant, is being enthusiastically received by customers. That of course, further increases demand for our capabilities and services.
Q. Any closing thoughts?
A. With our new site launch less than a few months away, I would like to invite all our customers current and new to a future ready, digitally enabled Jubilant Biosys site and greet them with a warm ‘Namaste’ and come see our new labs and meet our amazing people.