Weathering the Pandemic Storm

A decade ago, the word vaccine wasn’t as searched online as it was a couple of years back. From international to Indian vaccines, as citizens across the world watched with bated breath, a solution towards the end of the pandemic that shook the world.

Very few firms managed to match up to the demand of billion people, and one such brand was BSV. We got an exclusive interview with Sanjiv Navangul, MD&CEO, Bharat Serums & Vaccines Ltd (BSV) on becoming one of the leading pharmaceutical firms. He takes us through the success of current healthcare solutions and the future.

Can you shed light on the growth of vaccines and pharmaceuticals industry?

A report titled “Taking India’s life science to the global stage: Make in India to fuel 4x growth in biosimilars and vaccines by 2026” quoted vaccines and biosimilars as two opportunities that combined can offer a $10 billion opportunity.

Biosimilars are expected to generate major traction in global markets over the next decade—growing from $12 billion in 2020 to at least $36 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 24 percent, stated the Report.

And if India needs to build on this growth path, a sound biotech strategy is the need of the hour; strong R&D capabilities, investments, and new products that address the unmet needs of patients in India is the prescription in the post-pandemic world.

How BSV contributed to the growing healthcare needs of the masses?

At BSV we walk the talk!

For over five decades, BSV-a leading bio pharmaceutical company in India- has been working towards improving patient outcomes in the key therapeutic areas of Women’s Health, Assisted Reproductive Technology, Critical Care & Emergency Medicines.

BSV continues to showcase its scientific capabilities by developing many first of India and world drugs And, while we do this, we remain committed to saving and improving lives.  Our world class R&D centre at Airoli, Maharashtra houses nearly 100 scientists who endeavour to bring scientifically advanced biologicals, biotechnology products and novel drug delivery systems that deliver better patient outcomes.

Globally till date, BSV is the only Indian company to have developed Anti-Rho (D) immunoglobulin product, immunosuppressive Anti-thymocyte globulin & deliver treatments for the Neglected Tropical Diseases (snakebites, rabies) that predominantly affects vulnerable populations of India living in rural and remote locations

How did you respond to the immediate needs of the pandemic?

While the pandemic storm hit us hard, our heroes in white lab coats made us proud.  The Mucormycosis outbreak in the second wave had to be addressed. Our scientists worked tirelessly towards developing Liposomal Amphotericin B to combat the outbreak.  In fact, the production of Liposomal Amphotericin B was ramped up from 10,00,000 vials annualized capacity to 24,00,000 vials annualized capacity at our manufacturing facility in Ambernath, Maharashtra, to ensure that we support our country’s battle against the Black Fungus.

The effects of the pandemic storm on overall health have been catastrophic.

And while the storm weathers away slowly, the damage on women’s health has been significant.  According to Gates Foundation, the impact of COVID-19 on the health of women and newborns has been worst, as mothers continue to face disruptions in prenatal care and delivery.  Disruptions to health systems put important services like family planning and prenatal care out of reach for millions of women.

The pandemic has thrown to light several existing healthcare challenges for women.

The global maternal mortality ratio was 152 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2020. This trajectory projects 133 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2030, nearly double the SDG target. More than 800 women continue to die globally every day from pregnancy- and childbirth-related causes, including haemorrhages and infections.   Women also battle healthcare conditions that may not be life-threatening yet have an adverse impact on quality of life.  Endometriosis continues to be a silent health hazard for several women.  One in ten women of reproductive age is estimated to have endometriosis, which can cause debilitating pelvic pain and infertility.  Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) has now become a common disorder of hormone imbalance that affects one in 10 women of childbearing age. Menopause in older women may also lead to health challenges such as heart diseases, osteoporosis and weight gain, to name a few.  All of these can impact physical and mental health of women, in several ways.

What is the future of the industry in the current decade?

The Good news! Healthcare innovations specific to women’s health remain the North Star.  BSV is at the forefront of bringing treatments to prevent Rh isoimmunization, post-partum haemorrhage. Our innovations also treat luteal deficiency, endometriosis and infertility.

It’s time to prioritize women’s health.

We need to weather the storm of gender inequality in access to healthcare for women and focus on building good health & well-being of every woman that has a larger positive impact on societies and economies, as a whole.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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