Mumbai-headquartered drug maker Cipla will invest in biotech, medical devices and other life sciences sector startups through Cipla Ventures, an in-house incubator that is being set up by the company, reports The Economic Times. The incubator will weigh investments in startup hubs such as Boston and London and will target companies that complement its own businesses, says the report.
The incubator will be led by Chandru Chawla, who heads international business and corporate strategy. Chawla will be helped by Cipla managing director MK Hamied’s daughter Samina Vaziralli, also one of the senior members of the Cipla leadership team.
The company has not set aside a specific corpus for the incubator. Investments in startups will be made directly from the company’s internal resources.
Globally, it is not unusual for drug makers to float arms or set up in-house divisions to invest in startups, following the corporate venture capital model. For instance, Pfizer Venture Investments, the venture capital arm of Pfizer, has a $50 million annual budget for private investments and invests up to $10 million per round in selected companies in any stage of development, with a strong focus on growth stage opportunities. Then there’s Novartis Venture Funds which typically invests up to $15-20 million per company through specific investments vehicles Novartis Venture Fund, the Novartis Option Fund and the Korea Fund.
The BSE-listed Cipla is the country’s second largest drug maker by revenue and over 2,000 products across 65 therapeutic categories and more than 40 dosage forms. It has 34 manufacturing facilities and employed 20,000 people as of financial year 2011-2012.
Image credit: Cipla