pls awards

The 5th Elets Pharma Leadership Summit & Awards, held on 5th October 2023 at Holiday Inn, Mumbai, was a grand spectacle of innovation, collaboration, and accolades. The event, grander and more impressive than its previous iterations, revolved around the theme ‘Pioneering the Frontiers of Pharma Innovation.’

Acting as a hub for innovative ideas, the summit showcased presentations from over 30 speakers, hosted more than 5 engaging sessions and was made possible through collaborations with over 7 partners. With over 150 attendees, including prominent CEOs, CIOs, CXOs, and pharma leaders like Dr Mukesh Kumar, Senior Vice President & Head of Clinical R&D at Cipla; Dr Santosh Dixit, Chief Domain Expert in Healthcare and Life Sciences at Persistent Systems; Gaurav Bhatia, Head of Planning and General Manager of Supply Chain at Reliance Retail Pharma; and Dr Ajay Singh, Head of the mRNA Department at Gennova Biopharmaceuticals, the event epitomised the strength of collaboration.

But the summit wasn’t solely about discourse and reflection. It also celebrated the pharmaceutical industry’s accomplishments with an illustrious awards evening. More than 20 individuals and organisations such as Biocon Biologics, Ayushman Liver Campaign – Zydus BioNext, MediBuddy-vHealth, Nikkhil K Masurkar, CEO, Entod Pharmaceuticals, Gaurav Bhatia, Head of Planning and General Manager- Supply Chain, Reliance Retail Pharma, Rohit Nayyar, Cluster Head (Sales & Marketing ) Cardiology, CNS & Srilanka Business at Lupin India, Bijender Mishra, Global IT Head & Global CISO, Alkem Laboratories Ltd were honoured across diverse categories, such as Excellence in Use of Technology, Excellence in Medical Device Manufacturing/Service Provision, Leading Emerging Pharma Leader, and Leadership in Supply Chain Excellence, among others.

Welcome Address

Dushyant Mishra, Vertical Lead – Healthcare, Elets Technomedia

dushyant“Today, we have convened here in the heart of the pharmaceutical hub, Mumbai, united by a shared vision to reshape the future of the pharmaceutical sector. India’s pharmaceutical industry, as we often hear, is regarded as the world’s pharmacy and a testament to our nation’s scientific prowess. The pharmaceutical sector has witnessed significant growth over the past few decades. Reflecting on the success of our previous four editions, we are excited to present the 5th edition of the Pharma Leadership Summit & Awards, promising even more enriching discussions, networking opportunities, and learning experiences. We are delighted to have you all with us today as we work together to shape the pharmaceutical industry.”

Panel Discussion

Fueling India’s Pharma Growth: Building a Stronger Future

Dr Mukesh Kumar, Senior Vice President & Head – Clinical R&D, Cipla

mukesh“The challenges we currently confront have a distinctly futuristic dimension. As the pharmaceutical industry expands its global footprint, cutting-edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are becoming increasingly integral. Across the globe, there’s a palpable shift towards personalisation in many sectors, driven in part by these technologies. However, one must question: Are we truly harnessing the full potential of AI and ML on a global scale? As the world becomes more interconnected and personalised, it is imperative to ensure that these tools are employed judiciously and to their utmost efficacy.”

Amit Bhakri, Business Unit Director – Biopharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca

amit“We need to harmonise our processes to align with international regulations. This calls for an investment in capacity building. While we excel in manufacturing, aligning with international standards means we must enhance our capacity in quality management.”

Nikkhil K Masurkar, Chief Executive Officer, Entod Pharmaceuticals

nikhil“India is often termed the “Pharmacy of the World.” We shouldn’t just introduce it as a manufacturing hub but also as a research and innovation hub. To bring us to a global standard, we first need to upgrade our GMP Standards. There has already been a revised GMP in the draft form of Section M of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rule. This revision will elevate us to a much higher global standard of pharma production and manufacturing. Numerous changes can be expected, such as the introduction of electronic GMP records, ensuring no manipulation of records at the factory level, and the mandatory testing of raw materials before production. Many provisions in the updated section aim to enhance our GMP standards. This is crucial because, currently in India, out of 10,500 manufacturers, only 2,000 adhere to the WHO, GMP Guidelines. This means 8,500 manufacturers are not yet up to those global standards of manufacturing. We have a considerable journey ahead. The optimal approach is to ensure Section M is revised, which it is, and we hope it will be enforced in the coming year.”

Industry Presentation

Harnessing Digital Innovations for BioPharma Ecosystems

Dr Santosh Dixit, Chief Domain Expert – Healthcare and LifeSciences, Persistent Systems

santosh“After the 2019 pandemic, there has been an unprecedented generation of data, particularly in the healthcare domain. What’s evolving is not just personalised medicine, but an approach often referred to as “P4”. This stands for Preventive, Participatory, Predictive, and Personalised. Personalised revolves around the utilisation of vast amounts of genomic information. Predictive might involve the application of AI, while Participatory encompasses a surge in community research. The overarching shift is from disease treatment to health maintenance, signifying a big explosion in the field of preventive medicine.”

Panel Discussion

Harnessing the Power of Data, Innovation, and Technology in Pharma

Dr Deepa Arora, Chief Executive Officer, CLINEXEL Life Sciences Pvt Ltd

deepa“Data and innovation serve as the foundation for all industries, particularly in the pharmaceutical sector. Technologically, we’re at a juncture where data isn’t always adequately generated or stored. With AI, it’s crucial to address every facet, ensuring data is collected, managed, and coordinated from start to finish. We still have significant work ahead in the realm of automation, and alongside this, we should also explore AI. Automation doesn’t necessarily demand vast amounts of data; it primarily relies on logic, making it simpler and quicker.”

Manish Kishore. Global Head IT, Wockhardt Ltd

manish“I believe that as an organization, we need to be precise about the specific technology we aim to adopt, its purpose, its application, and how we can maintain it effectively. In India, many dive into AI/ML and ChatGPT without clear focus areas, leading to about 90% of such projects falling through.”

Narendra K Saini, Chief Digital & Data Officer, Lupin Ltd

saini“We often get sidetracked by a plethora of technological terms. However, technology’s primary role is to address business challenges. Automation has evolved from handling basic, routine tasks to managing more intricate processes, making significant strides in efficiency and capability.”

Bijender Mishra, Global IT Head & Global CISO, Alkem Laboratories

bijendra“The pharmaceutical industry is different and compelx. Over time, technology has advanced to cater to precise requirements, with the pharma tech market projected to reach $150 billion USD in the upcoming five years. It’s essential for technology to be seamlessly incorporated into every phase of the pharma workflow. AI, in particular, is playing a significant role in drug discovery, development, and delivery. Indeed, technology is integral to the future of pharma and must be embedded in every procedure.”

Sanchit Nanda, Senior Director (India, South and SouthEast Asia) Global Patient Solutions, Gilead Sciences

sanchit“When examining technology, we can categorise it into two main phases: initial exploration and early adoption, followed by widespread acceptance and growth. In this specific domain, technology is emerging rapidly, with precision medicine expected to reach new heights in the next 5-10 years. Two decades ago, no one could have predicted how the internet would revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry.”

Yogendra Yadav, Director IT, Sai LifeSciences

yogender“Behind the success of any Artificial Intelligence lies robust natural intelligence. If we don’t fully grasp our manual processes, automating them becomes challenging. At times, I perceive technology as today’s oracle; whatever advancements we make, be it in AI/ML, they lead to enhanced outcomes. In healthcare, while technology can facilitate improved production, the true formula for immediate transformation is accurate prediction coupled with human judgment, which ultimately dictates our actions.”

Industry Presentation

Gross to Net & Data Mining in Pharma Processes

Vimal Manchanda, Chief Operating Officer, Samvardhana Motherson Health Solution Limited

vimal“Data is termed as the new vitamin for us and it often provides us with care and protection which is the essence of the new goal. If we can process this data effectively, it can guide us in the right direction. In any data analytics venture, certain attributes are necessary for an organisation. Thus, continuous learning becomes paramount. This is where our models will be defined. As we understand and structure more and more data, its potential grows.”

Kapil Soni, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Revoquant AI

kapil“We aim to foster collaboration among domain experts to establish an ecosystem that brings significant value to society. While our primary focus is on the commercial aspect, it’s because a robust return on investment allows us to fund extensive research and development initiatives. Ultimately, our emphasis is not just on improving top-line and bottom-line figures but also on enhancing the processes we discuss.”

Industry Presentation

Nishant Vyas, Senior Director, Sales India and ASEAN, Kinaxis

nishant“Supply chains are no stranger to disruptions. These disruptions have been occurring for ages, but they came into the forefront after Covid. The term “disruption” entered the daily vocabulary of many people. One disruption ends and another begins; it is a never-ending cycle. Various reports by consulting firms and media outlets suggest that disruptions will continue. Complexity and volatility are here to stay.”

Panel Discussion

Optimizing Supply Chain and Logistics for Pharma Growth

Vickram Srivastava, Head of Planning, Global Supply Chain, Sun Pharma

vickram“Optimisation is crucial, but in today’s world, we must also prioritise the resilience of supply chains. Over the past 3-4 years, we have experienced significant challenges in our lives, businesses, and across all functions. Therefore, to me, resilience is equally vital. We must design supply chains not just to endure but to adapt seamlessly.”

Gaurav Bhatia, Head of Planning and General Manager – Supply Chain, Reliance Retail Pharma

gaurav“From a pharmaceutical industry perspective, particularly when viewed from the Indian vantage point, India stands at the crux of global pharma. India supplies almost 25% of Europe’s pharmaceutical requirements, a contribution that is undeniably substantial. From the US standpoint, we cater to approximately 40% of their pharmaceutical needs. Remarkably, no other Indian industry matches this level of contribution.”

Kalpajit Saikia, Senior Director, Sales APAC, Kinaxis

kalapjit“The pharmaceutical industry is indeed captivating. While its market operates in distinct areas, sourcing locations differ substantially. Coupled with the intricacies of production and the need for certifications and approvals, managing such a multifaceted system can be challenging. Traditionally, supply chain planning within this sector has emphasised accuracy, particularly in material planning. However, given the volatility and complexity inherent to the industry, this accuracy often becomes elusive. In such circumstances, the emphasis shifts to how effectively one can respond to disruptions or daily challenges in the supply chain.”

Industry Presentation

Building the Cutting Edge Infrastructure for Tomorrow

Sumit K Gehani, Chief Growth Officer – New Verticals Citius Communications

sumit“With Pharma 4.0, achieving uninterrupted connectivity is a challenge. A significant shift towards automation is anticipated, especially given the current shortage of skilled labour. The modern generation is less inclined to work in production, with many aspiring to create their own standout startups. This skilled labour gap is where robotics technology will play a pivotal role.”

Industry Presentation

DNS Security & Automated Response

Dr Manish Rane, Chief Technology Officer, iSecureNet Solutions Pvt Ltd

manish“We’ve been in the pharma industry for the last two decades, and during this time, we’ve witnessed numerous cyber attacks on pharma companies. Every time we discuss cyber security, there’s a multitude of vendors in the market each highlighting various sources of cyber threats. Yet, specialising in advanced cyber security, we’ve analysed certain threats. Surprisingly, even with internal security measures in place, these threats still manage to infiltrate organisations.”

Panel Discussion

Navigating the Pharmaceutical Triumphs for Business Success

Sunil Nat, Head of E-Commerce & Digital Strategy, Galderma

sunil“Within the industry, collaborations are scarce, except for life-saving drugs. For therapies or medicines that aren’t vital for survival, there seems to be a lack of innovation and partnerships. As Indian companies, we’ve positioned ourselves prominently on the global pharmaceutical map, and we’re also among the fastest-growing economies.”

Dr Tej Kumar, Head of IPR, BDR Pharmaceuticals International Pvt Ltd

tej“The keys to propelling a company’s success lie within the competitive landscape. When partnering with any company, it’s crucial to meticulously examine not only your intellectual property rights but also the rights of others, typically manifested as patents. Instead of routinely comparing versions with competitors, it’s more advantageous to adopt a strategic approach, analyzing the market through thoughtful evaluation.”

Ravikiran N, Business Head – India & South Asia Region, Natco Pharma

ravi“The pharmaceutical industry is continually witnessing new innovations, and significant investments from innovators are essential, not just for product innovations but also for patient benefits. In my view, collaboration will be the key mantra. A few decades ago, innovators rarely collaborated with Indian companies. However, in recent decades, this has begun to change. Now, there should be more partnerships, and innovators should be more open to collaborating with India.”

Industry Presentation

Company Overview and Role of Health Economics Outcomes Research (HEOR) in Indian Health Technology Assessment (HTA)

Shubhram Pandey, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Heorlytics

shubram“The purpose of HTA is to provide policymakers with evidence to inform decision making and develop guidance on the reimbursemnt and administration of new health technologies in a national healthcare system. As such, HTA is regarded as a bridge between research evidence and health policy.”

Industry Presentation

Small Steps, Big Impact: How Early Life Nutrition Shapes a Healthier Society

Sunil Kumar, Country General Manager, NeoLacta Lifesciences

sunil“India contributes to one crore of the global pre-term births, and that totals to 3.5 million births each and every year. India is the most populous country in the world, and with lifestyle complications, another set of challenges arises, causing an increase in pre-term deliveries. What we have also realised is that pre-term birth is a major risk factor for infant mortality. Additionally, we have noticed that 72% of the infant mortality rate occurs within the first 28 days of life, which is quite unfortunate.”

Panel Discussion

Pioneering Drug Discovery and Driving Innovation

Dr Vijay Bambulkar, Former Asia-Pacific Director Regulatory Affairs, External Growth & Innovation Johnson & Johnson, Consultant to Industry & Academia

vijay“The majority of drug discoveries emanate from the Western world. America leads with over 50% of these discoveries, Europe contributes about 33%, while Australia and a few other countries account for 7%. But what about India and the broader Asian region? Despite its vast scientific potential, India has registered only four notable drug discoveries over an extended period. This disparity in pharmaceutical innovation underscores the need for introspection. While we continue our deliberations and exploration, it’s vital to understand that drug discovery is a meticulous process. It encompasses pre-clinical development, clinical development, and the actual discovery of the drug.”

Dr Santosh Taur, Director of Medical Affairs, Vaccines & Digital, Pfizer Ltd

santosh“Traditionally, we have understood that discoveries, from the initial phase of a drug’s inception to its market introduction, take around 15-20 years. This not only involves the discovery phase but also spans the period until the product is marketed. On average, this process requires an investment of around 2.5-3 billion USD. Given today’s technological advancements, especially in computing and genomics, I see a promising opportunity. These advancements are poised to reduce the duration of drug development by an average of 500 days. Additionally, they have the potential to reduce the cost of development by at least 25% and significantly enhance efficiency.”

Dr Ajay Singh, Head – mRNA Department, Gennova Biopharmaceuticals

ajay“Earlier, there was a concept of ‘bench to bedside’. Now, it has shifted to ‘vein to vein’. The distinction lies in the realm of personalised medicine. If something is taken out from the body, it’s modified before being reinjected. In this context, computational biology, genomics, and data mining are crucial to ensure the timely delivery of a product that is both safe and efficacious.”

The 5th Elets Pharma Leadership Summit & Awards was more than merely a conference. It served as a nexus for all stakeholders in the pharma ecosystem to collaboratively envision the future of the pharmaceutical industry in India. This gathering presented an unparalleled opportunity for attendees to network, collaborate, and play an instrumental role in the ongoing digital transformation within the pharma sector.

In conclusion, the 5th Elets Pharma Leadership Summit & Awards emerged as a triumphant milestone in the march towards a digitally robust pharma system in India. The summit underscored the paramount importance of innovation, synergy, and acknowledgment in steering the direction of the pharma industry.

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