Janak Sheth: A Quality-Focused Leader, Developing New Directions For The Pharmaceutical Industry

Janak Sheth

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Achieving Goals with an Intense Desire and Working towards Success

Tell us about your early career influences. What made you choose to work in this industry?

I was born in India but moved to East Africa with my parents and did schooling in Kenya and Tanzania. I came back to India for higher education and made it to IIT Delhi in Chemical Engineering. During my study at IIT, I made up my mind to start my own pharmaceutical business and since my family had no experience in business, I decided to take experience and started working in a pharma company to gain experience although with the lowest salary. Soon, my dedication led me to Indonesia as a Project Manager. I saved sizeable amount of capital of my company as I designed multi-stage distillation columns for them. At the time when my company was purchasing an Italian technology, I convinced them to use my own researched technology instead and which resulted in savings of around INR 60 Lakhs per annum.

Based on these developments, I got approval from the management to redesign and install the new plant based on my own research. This gave a tremendous boost to my self-confidence as it all worked out well at a tender age of 23. I worked on that foreign pharmaceutical project in Indonesia for 4 years and gained enough experience as a project manager and later as a production manager. With an intense desire to start my own business, I left the job and took a loan from the government to establish Century Pharmaceuticals Limited.

Fighting Bad Times without Compromising Customer Satisfaction

Enlighten us about the journey of Century Pharmaceuticals?

Since the beginning, it was clear that we should manufacture and sell products that meet customer expectations. Profit was never the end objective. We wanted a business that could cater to increasing customer needs and especially make products which were safe and without any side effects. At the start of Century Pharmaceuticals, building a customer base was challenging as we had no business experience.

It was a time when we were highly stressed as our sales performance was not enough to pay the term loan interest and instalment payments. However, with a clear mission to make good quality products, we stood strong and never compromised our quality products over short term profit. Soon, our efforts and promise to offer quality products came to our rescue and we started gaining loyal customers. In a short span of 3 years from the production date, we paid back most of the term loans much ahead of the schedule and later, also paid back the very low interest bearing seed capital loan 2 years ahead of its schedule. Since then, our company is debt free and stands tall in terms of quality products.

Supplying High-Quality APIs to Leading Pharma Companies

What type of products and solutions does Century Pharmaceuticals Ltd offer?

We are a pharmaceutical active ingredient manufacturing company (APIs) that manufactures the raw materials for several verticals of the pharma industry. We supply to all the leading pharmaceutical companies who formulate to make medicines such as Pfizer, Abbott, Cipla, Glenmark, Macleods, Aristo, etc. Being their partner in business, we really enjoy working with these reputed pharma companies. Our offerings range from Antibiotics, vitamins, anti-coagulants to ophthalmic products. We are also audited by several organizations such as ISO, ZED and also GMP by regulatory bodies in India and overseas.

Working on Developing Pure Products Free from Side Effects

What are your thoughts about the present pharmaceutical industry?

The pharmaceutical industry has come of age from the time we began in 1980. Since then, there have been lots of improvements in the manufacturing processes with an ideological shift from high purity of products to concentrating on impurities. Thus, there is a dire need for making products safe for use with reduced side effects by eliminating the impurities in the products manufactured. At Century Pharma, we dedicate most of our development efforts to work on products that are pure and free from side effects. Our approach is to go natural as far as possible. That means we are heavily emphasizing on ayurvedic products made from herbs and plant extracts for our veterinary product range.

I believe in the idea that Biotechnology can offer the greatest hope for new molecules. At Century Pharmaceuticals, we are working on a patented technology for a recombinant protein which works on a novel targeted therapy and also assures no side effects. Currently, we are working on high-end novel molecules and if the tests go well, we could have the first biological novel molecule from India. In the meanwhile, since we have a top-end research laboratory, we are presently conducting experimental studies on stem cell rejuvenation therapies which also promise a future of medication without any side effects.

Thriving Forward with Exceptional Rewards and Achievements

How do you manage to keep the motivation to strive for excellence?

After each milestone is achieved, we set another milestone. This milepost-driven approach gives us satisfaction and maintains our standard of excellence. We try to exceed the requirements of our clients to remain ahead of the competition and ensure that our customers are always satisfied and happy with our services. In recent years, we have hardly lost any satisfied customer! This keeps us on our toes and we remain self-motivated.

The proudest moment of my career was when Lockheed Martin awarded a Gold Medal to Century Pharmaceuticals Ltd for our novel recombinant protein molecule on Asthma and Allergy. Under their India Innovative Growth Programme, Lockheed Martin recognized our project as the Best Biotechnology Research Project in India with the highest potential. This award was based on their detailed research about the potential of our molecule in the USA.

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