The fledgling Reliance Pharmaceuticals Ltd seems to be having teething problems.
Its plan for a Rs 1,400-crore production facility in Jamnagar (Gujarat) has been “reconfigured” and all pharma-related activity has been shifted to its parent company’s premises in Navi Mumbai.
Reliance Pharma is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mukesh Ambani-backed Reliance Life Sciences (RLS). RLS was incorporated in 2001, but Reliance Pharma is only a couple of years old.
In 2007, Reliance Pharma top-brass had detailed plans to set up a production plant in the special economic zone in Jamnagar to tap the generic opportunity of medicines going off patent.
About Rs 400 crore was said to have been invested in Reliance’s pharma venture, of which about Rs 250 crore had reportedly been invested in the Jamnagar plant alone, a source familiar with the development told Business Line.
However, a little more than a month ago, Reliance Pharma’s President and Chief Executive, Mr Lalit Kumar, quit. And heading Reliance Pharma at present is Mr K.V. Subramaniam, head of RLS.
Asked whether Reliance Pharma had stopped construction at Jamnagar, an RLS spokesperson said: “The pharma project has been reconfigured to focus primarily on specialty API and formulations and for all activities to happen out of the Reliance Life Sciences campus based at Dhirubhai Ambani Life Sciences Centre, Navi Mumbai.”
Explaining the rationale, the spokesperson added, it was done to focus on specialty products, particularly oncology, steroid, hormone and peptide classes of products. “The Jamnagar facility was to do some speciality API (active pharmaceutical ingredients) and formulations, such as hormones, but not the entire range,” the company official added.
Reliance Life Sciences is not exiting the pharmaceutical space, the official clarified.
However, it remains unexplained why Reliance Pharma changed gears from focussing on generic drugs to looking at speciality drugs and whether pharma plans have been scaled down, since production has shifted from the proposed large facility in Gujarat to the kilo-lab at Navi Mumbai.
RLS maintains it is working on specialty API and formulated pharmaceutical products.