The story of India's richest woman
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw should have been afraid. Every day for three months in 1985 she waded through a crowd of angry employees to get to her office at Biocon India, a maker of enzymes in Bangalore. This was her payback for hiring uneducated employees.
After they joined a communist labor union, she retaliated by automating the plant. The crowd outside burned her in effigy.
"I didn't think they'd hurt a woman," she says. But her detractors have certainly tried to hold her back, making it about as tough as possible for a woman to find her way.
Still, over the last two decades Mazumdar-Shaw, now 51, has turned a small enzyme manufacturer into one of India's premier tech companies. It netted $30.5 million on revenue of $122 million for the fiscal year ended Mar. 31.
Her 40 per cent stake in the company is worth $480 million, making her the richest woman in India. The daughter of a brewmaster and a stay-at-home mom, Mazumdar-Shaw grew up in a progressive, middle-clbutt family, which encouraged her to pursue an education instead of an arranged marriage.
She returned to India in 1975 after getting a B.S. in zoology at the University of Bangalore and an M.S. in brewing from Ballarat College in Australia, expecting to have to fend off job offers. No one would hire her.
"It was too rough a job for a woman," she recalls being told. After consulting for two years, she got lucky after being approached by Leslie Auchincloss, the then owner of Biocon Biochemicals, an Irish specialty chemicals company that had been trying to break into India.
Foreign ownership was limited to 30 per cent, and Mazumdar-Shaw seemed an ideal partner. "She was so focused and had such a forceful personality that I knew she could hold her own," recounts Auchincloss.
MIPS Establishes China Ops, R&D Center
MIPS Establishes China Ops, R&D Center Online staff -- 3-1-2005 Electronic News Responding to the explosive market opportunity in China, Mountain View...
Biocon India started out with $10,000 and a plan to produce enzymes for beer, wine, paper, animal feed and detergents. It wasn't a glbutt ceiling that Mazumdar-Shaw ran into but a concrete one.
It took her weeks to rent space because landlords thought she wouldn't be good for the rent. She couldn't find anyone willing to work for her, so she begged a female friend to fill in as a secretary.
Bankers turned down her request for a $10,000 line of credit; she got the money only after meeting a banker at a friend's wedding. Her first accountant, a man, left as soon as another job opened. By far the worst treatment came from raw-materials vendors who insisted she bring in a male manager if she wanted their wares.
By the late 1980s Biocon India was a profitable concern that was pulling in $1 million a year. Auchincloss sold his 30 per cent interest to Unilever. Mazumdar-Shaw kept her 70 per cent and stayed on, but occasionally chafed under British (and Dutch) rule.
Adobe to expand base in India, target more cities
Adobe to expand base, target more cities Targeting segments like finance, manufacturing, etc., Adobe is planning to address the small city markets by expanding its channel...
"If I wanted to take a certain action, I had to apprise them, then meet with the other managers before I could make a move," she complains. She reclaimed some autonomy by founding Syngene, a drug services research outfit--which provided early-stage development for drug companies--as a separate company.
After India relaxed its foreign ownership rules, Unilever tried and failed to buy Mazumdar-Shaw's stake. In 1997 the food giant sold its specialty chemicals division, which included Biocon, to Imperial Chemical Industries. ICI had no interest in drug research and a year later was willing to let its slice of Biocon go for $2 million, on the condition that it be supplied with enzymes for two years.
Mazumdar-Shaw came up with the money by persuading her husband, John Shaw, a former textile executive, to sell his London home and join Biocon. (Now he's in charge of international business development and owns 25% of the stock.)
India's own Quiet Revolution in education
Mar. 3, 2005. 01:00 AM India's own Quiet Revolution in education HAROON SIDDIQUI This city of 6 million is booming even more than the rest of...
Newly liberated, Mazumdar-Shaw ventured beyond enzymes into insulin production. In this detour Biocon was reversing the dance steps of the Danish insulin firm Novo and making good use of the fermentation expertise it already had. A huge market was right outside its doors--the 32 million Indians with diabetes.
Computers to get cheaper in India
Computers to get cheaper Publish Date : 3-1-2005 3:43:00 PM Source : Business News ExpressNewsline.com The Indian IT industry Monday said computer prices would drop between three percent and six percent after...
market; and from India, into the US The new line of business demanded capital. By this time Mazumdar-Shaw had enough name recognition to be able to raise the cash less painfully: $3 million for a 15 per cent equity share came from ICICI Ventures (no relation to ICI), and $5 million came from banks as Debt Loans at 10 per cent to 12 per cent interest. She also put in $3 million from retained earnings.
Hillary Clinton bowls over Indian MPs promises H1B increase
Hillary Clinton bowls over Indian MPs (from Newindpress, India) Wednesday March 2 2005 00:00 IST IANS NEW DELHI: She came, she spoke and she conquered - US Senator Hillary Clinton left an indelible impression on...
Synygy to invest Rs 50 cr in Indian ops and increase its headcount to 300
Synygy to invest Rs 50 cr in Indian ops The company is also planning to increase its headcount to 300 by the end 2005. Tuesday, March 01, 2005 PUNE: Synygy, Inc. is...
"We bet the bank," she recalls. "If it failed, it would bankrupt the company." After the 2001 patent expiration on lovastatin, one of the earliest cholesterol blockers, Biocon got permission from Indian regulators to sell the generic in India. That was a warm-up.
In 2001 Biocon became the first Indian company to get US Food & Drug Administration permission to sell lovastatin in the US. Now it has 50% of the US market for the copycat version.
Not content to be a star in generics, Mazumdar-Shaw now has 600 scientists doing research to develop the company's own patented drugs.
Biocon has two compounds in clinical trials in India: a monoclonal antibody to treat head and neck cancers, now in Phase II, and a recombinant insulin, in Phase III. (A second monoclonal antibody to deal with rheumatoid arthritis has yet to go to trial.)
Helping to fuel that R&D budget, $16 million a year, is the $70 million Biocon banked when it went public last April. There will be a flood of money coming in from America, as well.
India's own Quiet Revolution in education
are who To get your child admitted at any relatively properly run school one must seek admisson at Nursery affiliated...
As US drug development costs soar, pharmas are looking to India, where expenses from molecule to market can run 80% less.
Partnerships with seven of the largest US and European pharmaceuticals--in drug discovery and clinical trials--now account for 15% of Biocon's top line.