We as a human race, have been telling stories since our existence and it has been an essential part of our communications. Cut to the date, in the corporate world, when we hear a brand’s story that reflects the journey of how the people behind it did the hard yards in moving heaven and earth for its success, they take away your heart. Such stories are all about the legacy brands created by visionaries who aspire(d) to change the world. They convey their businesses’ purpose to the world while building people and society.
This narrative is an epitome of such successful business stories that matter.
My encounter with Dr. Satya Ramani Vadlamani, the Chairperson and Managing Director of Murli Krishna Pharma Pvt. Ltd. was a digital experience (the pandemic’s new normal) and I immediately drew a perception – a person who is armed with experience, vision and sheer passion and I might want to add more words, undoubtedly. Moreover, it was her interview with us that made me a complete admirer of Dr. Satya Ramani Vadlamani. With a doctorate in Strategic Management, Dr. Vadlamani did her Bachelor’s in engineering. From there to establishing and leading Murli Krishna Pharma to change the Pharma landscape of India, Dr. Vadlamani has touched and transformed lives with her sheer passion, grit and determination. Out-setting her pharmaceutical voyage in 1992 while working with various leading Pharma companies, Dr. Vadlamani started independently on her own with a small company named Murli Krishna Exports in 1998. Soon she realized the need to reform and revolutionize India’s Pharma industry with innovative products and a new approach. And that’s when the seedling of Murli Krishna Pharma was planted in 2004.
From being a Regulatory Compliant prefinished formulation intermediates facility in 2004 to becoming a finished dosage firm based on the FTF formulation, the growth trajectory of MKPPL has been quite an inspiring one.
Let’s hear directly from the visionary leader who is acknowledged for her innovation, strong will and improvisation – Dr. Vadlamani. She outlines MKPPL’s journey hosting to innovations, product pipeline & plans and concludes with an inspiring advice for youngsters.
We have successfully anchored our presence in the industry by walking on our three ideologies. Today, our approvals from the European Union, Jordanian FDA, Ministry of Health United Arab Emirates, WHO, the local FDA and various other customer-based approvals board speaks about us and our quality-driven approach. Talking about innovation, we have gone a big way into developing new technologies which are still non-existent for others and which are very beneficial for the human race. MKPPL has proved its mettle in technological advancements and new developments.
We initially started from a normal pallet product to now having PFIs which are available in the range of 100 nanometers. We have enhanced and upgraded our encapsulation techniques. All our visions and plans are being reflected well in our products which are appreciated worldwide by leading companies.
“To become a successful regulatory compliant prefinished formulation intermediate facility was the vision which we had 17 years ago. Even today the vision continues but it has branched into not just being a PFI product company, but to be a finished dosage firm based on an FTF formulation as well.” And that’s just the iceberg! We are growing strong in Nanoparticles manufacturing as well. This is the vision we are eyeing for MKPPL in the near future.
Our ability to encapsulate even the most hydrophobic and hydrophilic drugs through liposomal, polymeric and various other kinds of encapsulation polymers which we used to produce notable products has become our specialty. So the vision has moved from just being a company that‘s into prefinished formulation intermediates to a company that delivers final products with a promise of a painless relief experience at a cost-effective model.
For everyone, milestone is an achievement, whereas I look at a milestone as not just an achievement, but a pathway to moving ahead in life. We have had several milestones – we faced our failures, we faced our successes. But if I have to just list out 3 key milestones, that would be
• The European Union approval for a single molecule
• When we got the Mylan contract – a supply agreement with the company for 300 metric tons of a product
• When we forayed into nanoparticles and moved away from the traditional system of manufacturing and supplying across the world.
Besides these, there have been many milestones. There were also times when I felt personally to give up but somehow something kept fueling my dream. We shoulder the responsibilities of 200 families. Walking away is very easy for an individual; walking away is very difficult for an entrepreneur. There are too many people, there’s too much baggage which we carry and I think each time we survived any battle, for me it was a milestone.
MKPPL’S Innovative Formulation- The Transdermal Solution for the treatment of children suffering from malnutrition and anemia
We hold proficiency in nanoparticles. Today our liposomal encapsulations are very well accepted in the industry worldwide. If you talk about a novel drug delivery system, you think about a product that can deliver itself in the targeted area. We have worked with the toughest of the molecules – be it a soft mist of budesonide which doesn’t exist or ophthalmological preparations for glaucoma where we have brought down the particle size to nanometers.
A special mention to my favorite product – the Transdermal Oil - a work towards Anemia Mukt Bharat - a vision of the Prime Minister of India in their 6 by 6 by 6 system (6 Beneficiaries, 6 Interventions, 6 institutional mechanisms). We conceived the product way back in 2019 with help from the WHO as well as from the Canadian Government. We were asked to make a product that would reduce anemia in infants. So we initiated our project and we made liposomal encapsulations of Iron, Folic Acid, D3 and B12. These liposomes were then blended in a cold pressed oil and an academic trial was conducted on 444 babies. This was the beginning of what we call the Anemia Mukt Bharat’s story.
This transdermal solution developed by us works absolutely in a different fashion. Today, due to Anemia, the mortality rate is more than 50% in pregnant women and more than 58% of children and adults in India suffer from anemia. Anemia is a disease that does not have a cure so what is done today by all governments is offering an oral formulation.
The oral formulation has a bioavailability of less than 16%. Then comes injectable interventions which can be given in case of an emergency where the hemoglobin level goes down beyond the acceptable levels. However, this requires the presence of medical and paramedical staff. So what we did was different; the transdermal oil developed by us was applied to the soft part of the baby. We worked on babies who were 0 months to 6 months to 12 months old. At the zero month, we could not do a test to see how anemic the babies were since it’s not permitted. Post-six months, the studies were started and it was a complete one-year-long study that was performed in a small rural community closer to Pune in a place called Vadhu under KM Hospital. And the study paved the way to tell us what could be the results and how iron can be transferred from the product that is bypassing the gastric system into the human body through the blood vessels.
We found that Iron moved in and children who were kept on placebo versus the children who were given the actual liposomes, it was found that the children who were given the liposomes did not develop anemia, so it had a prophylactic use. Afterwards, we extended the entire development, we advanced and created higher dosage liposomes for the older people and also smaller dosage liposomes. Today we are proud to say that we have a product that actually can work and can give you a result between 60 to 70% of iron transference into the body without the use of an injectable or a tablet.
In India, there has been a long-drawn system and ancient customs which talk about massage. Massages are a very well-known traditional system in the country by which infants, as well as mothers, are given oil massages. What tends to happen is if you have an anemic mother, you have an anemic baby. Unfortunately, anemic mothers cannot be given oral iron. Oral iron or tablets generally have problems since it goes to the gastric route, it irritates the gastric lining and causes either constipation or diarrhea in the mothers which could further lead to complications for the concerned woman.
Oil, on the other hand, can be applied in a prescribed format. It is treated as a drug; it is not an OTC product. So when it is applied to the soft part of the body, the oil transference takes place through which the liposomes get transferred into the body and thereby increases the iron levels, the folic acid levels, D3 levels and the B12 levels in the human body.
The product development was completed in the year 2019-20. At that time while we knew that the product was very good, we were unversed about how we would proceed with this product in the context of the Indian government or the Indian requirements. One of my aims all my life has been that I should give something back to society. If we sell all developed products to overseas companies then nothing comes back to India and for its people. That was one of the reasons why I was holding and trying to understand in what way we could contribute to the government in its truly fascinating policies for healthcare among women and children and the people at large.
We also started connecting with some people who are associated with the Anemia Mukt Bharat scheme. They were highly interested and impressed by the process and our product. Some of the gynecologists felt that this was going to be a turning point in MKPPL’s journey.
Today we are proud to say that we are a part and parcel of a massive scale commercial trial that is going to get conducted PAN India, using our product for checking and providing the results among the women who are anemic across. We hope that through this commercial trial, we are going to come up with very concrete results with regards to the transference of iron from the product into the human body.
It is a very strange thing but the fact remains that the GOI gives the first gift to every baby and mother who are born in the Government Hospital which includes a hamper that contains iron tablets, folic acid tablets, deworming tablets, and some milk and other things. Through our product, we are hoping to replace these tablets with transdermal oil which is going to ensure better efficacy, better bioavailability, less gastric irritation and assurance that this is going to be a prophylactic treatment for anemia for a lifetime.
Expansions and Innovations in Pipeline
Pharma Industry worldwide is the smallest industry with a maximum number of regulations and guidelines. It’s a very strange thing that we can eat outdoor food and nobody questions. Similarly, when it comes to popping a pill in your mouth it involves a lot of queries, a lot of questions, a lot of compliances and all these cost money–from regulatory compliance to developments and Innovation, at every step, you’re talking about money.
In a nutshell, a lot of Investments are required in this industry and in 2020, MKPPL got a massive investment from InvAscent, a.k.a India Lifesciences based on our industrial innovations. Everyone was aware that 2020 was the peak year of covid-19 and that was the period where investment stopped world across. MKPPL was among the very few companies that got massive investments at that time. InvAscent invested in our potential and capabilities and the product pipeline that will take us to the next level. What they came in for is what is happening at MKPPL.
We also have our Nano mist or the soft mist of budesonide which by itself is a specialized product. If you are giving a normal product vs. our product, you’re giving 1/20th of the dosage and the product deposits itself very evenly on the alveoli. So this has become an extremely significant product for MKPPL for COPD treatment. COPD it’s a lifetime disease and if you are going to continue giving High dosages, it is going to be tough for the concerned individual so we require a lower dosage for better treatment. We are going ahead with registering our product in India.
Next, we have an ophthalmology product to treat glaucoma. The majority of OTC glaucoma ophthalmic drugs fall more out of the eye than stay in the eye. The human eye has a lipophilic layer that protects the cornea from any foreign object going into the eye, hence throwing out the drugs as well. So when you reduce the particle size of the drug, you are ensuring better absorption of the drug into the cornea and thereby reducing glaucoma. • We have utilized our technology advancements even in Oncology and regular dosage drugs.
“We can say that Innovation flows in our DNA.”
MKPPL, in these years, has moved from being a formulation intermediate to finish formulation manufacturers which will lead us further. We are not only looking at making finished dosage forms of the regular drugs available in the marketplace, but also making finish formulations of innovative products and hence entering into a new niche. This area is what will position MKPPL from being a small small-sized company to a Mid-Cap company and further a Blue-chip company.
Our growth path is very well laid out and I think you will hear a lot more about MKPPL in the near future I hope it’s all going to be good news. We expect to be number one in this Niche pharmaceutical range. We look forward to being a good innovative company. Dreams are many, the pathways are long and there is no time to sleep because we are in the most interesting and the most exciting part of our business and I think we are going to grow the right way.
Words of Wisdom
First learn, then unlearn when you are progressing in your career. Don’t rush in – Only Fools Rush In Where Angels Fear To Tread. Take your time and follow the right path. A quote from 3 idiots would summarize it all if you want to be successful, just follow what you are passionate about and success will automatically follow you. You don’t need to chase it.