“Sami Labs to grow its Indian business to 20-25 % in coming years”

Sami Labs is a leading global pioneer in the field of phyto nutrients, standardized herbal extracts and functional foods. It enjoys a dominant market presence and recognition in major nutraceutical markets like USA, Japan and Europe with the big players in the health and wellness industry. Founded in 1988 by Dr Muhammed Majeed, a visionary from Kerala it is a company dedicated to the principles of tradition, innovation and research. Over the past 25 years, Sami Labs has brought to market more than 150 standardized botanical extracts and privately funded several clinical studies in conjunction with prestigious institutions in support of these products. 

Sami Labs has a strong R&D team of 100+ scientists, who are Ph D holders and are guided by an expertise of scientific advisors and consultants, who have decades of experience in the field of phyto chemistry. It received recognition by the Department of Scientific Industrial Research of India. Sami is investing 7-8% of its turnover into Research & Development annually. The company has strong portfolio of 85 international patents out of which 39 are from the United States and 46 patents are from Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries. In an interaction Neeraja Shetty, Director and President – Strategy & Business Development, Sami Labs shared her thoughts about the success and growth path of the company. Excerpts of the interview,

What are the contributions of Sami labs to the health industry in last 25 years?

The mission of Sami Labs is to provide alternative and complementary natural products for human nutrition and well-being. Sami Labs has introduced many phyto molecules like Forslean, Citrin, Fabenol, which are brand names for standardized natural extracts of herbs like Coleus forskohlii, Garcinia cambogia, Phaseolus vulgaris into the international market for weight management.

Sami Labs introduced Curcumin and Boswellin, which are anti inflammatory in nature and can be used in the management of inflammatory conditions like cancer and various forms of arthritis. The decolorized form of Curcumin was a remarkable achievement of Sami Labs. Introduction of the Saberry, a multifaceted antioxidant from Indian gooseberries is also a milestone in Sami’s history.

To add on to this, Sami Labs is benefiting more than 10,000 farmers commercially to grow Coleus forskohlii in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and by assuring them with a buy back guarantee. The Drug Controller General of India’s (DCGI) approval for two molecules as natural drugs for treating Psoriasis and Glaucoma are the recognition of endless research and development activity at Sami Labs. All these achievements are really exhilarating for a company, which is just 25 years old in the nutraceutical industry.

What is the share from India towards the turnover of Sami Sabinsa Group?
The India business division of Sami Labs is contributing to 8-10% of the global turnover of the group. We are planning to develop this business in India to 20-25 % in the coming years.

What are the groups plans to increase turnover of the India business?

Sami Labs has long-term strategy to increase the turnover in India. Sami Labs today has strategic alliances with leading Pharma and Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) majors like Abbott, Ranbaxy, Hindustan Unilever, and Godrej etc. We intend to fortify our business partnerships with many more companies to diversify our client base by selling our actives in bulk and also supplying finished formulations, we not only work with Pharmaceutical companies but other companies that adapt natural actives and products into their product portfolio.

Due to such a diversified customer base we ensure that we are selling both active ingredients and finished products to our clients and this ensures an infinite and sustainable growth in our India business. Sami has been in the process of fortifying its penetration strategy in India by building up a strong sales and distribution force, increasing its investment in sales and marketing activities in the local markets, setting up regional offices to ensure stronger coverage of the client base across India.

In 2011, the group launched its direct marketing company, Sami Direct to bring nutraceutical and cosmetic products to the market, which has proven therapeutic benefits. This provides the group a platform to bring directly into the market its cutting edge research and its benefits directly to Indian consumer and capture market share in India.

What is your investment strategy to grow in the local market?

Sami Labs is investing in marketing as well as formulation development and manufacturing activities to see positive results in the domestic market. Sami Labs is committed to the growth of its business in India. Sami Labs is also planning to invest in areas across life science, FMCG, personal care, cosmetic, food and animal health businesses in India.

What will be the role of R&D center in the growth of the company?

Sami Labs has carved a niche for itself by its extensive research support for its customers and products, and the scientific credentials of its key technical staff. The products of Sami labs are a result of the extensive research of 100 + scientists supported by state of the art equipments and Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) recognized laboratories. The Research and Development Centre is based out of Bengaluru and will play in key role in the India business growth story. The company has been focusing on areas like health and wellness, adjuvants to the management of health conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, bone and joint health, memory health, prostate health, post menopausal health conditions, personal care which includes skin and hair care, nutritional supplements and last but not the least a novel drug, which is natural in origin to treat complex health conditions like glaucoma and psoriasis.

The R&D’s Analytical department is National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accredited and is at par with the stringent standards and testing procedures as per international norms and certifications. The Biological Research team helps assess efficacy and safety of actives and dosage forms through its in vitro testing modules.

The scientists in the Formulation research and development take up the challenges involved in formulating the Active Ingredients to finished formulations. This team is spearheading the development of finished dosage forms to be launched by Sami Direct in the India market. The innovative R&D services will continue to provide the business in India a comprehensive range of the customized products and services.

What is your experience as an exporter of herbs in the international markets?

Sami Labs has an international presence for the past 25 years in the world. Sabinsa Corporation, the marketing arm of Sami Labs has an enviable reputation in the world of nutraceuticals.
Research Institutes of high repute in the United States such as the National Cancer Institute make use of our flagship products like Curcumin C3 Complex and Selenium SeLECT for their clinical trials.
On demand we constantly supply our products meant for their anti inflammatory and anti oxidant activity to various universities in India and abroad for clinical trials on different types of Cancer, arthritis etc.
Our products are known for their quality and purity and serve as benchmark for the nutraceutical industry. Each product is a story in itself due to the various pain staking and time consuming procedures that have been undergone in its discovery right since it was a herb till it took shape as an active ingredient and finally ready for processing into a finished product.

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