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Kallam Anji Reddy, founder of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, dies

Reddy, 72, was battling cancer.

Bureau Report

BANGALORE: Kallam Anji Reddy (72), the founder of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL), died at Hyderabad’s Apollo Hospital, where he was being treated for cancer, today.

The body has been shifted to Reddy’s house at Banjara Hills. Cremation is scheduled for tomorrow, reported the Business Standard.

Hailing from Tadepalli village in Guntur district, Reddy started out as an employee of state-owned Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. He quit the company, pooled all his resources and started DRL in 1984 with an initial capital outlay of Rs 25 lakh. In 2011-12, DRL posted a turnover of Rs 9,597 crore and a net profit of Rs 1,426 crore.

Reddy’s son-in-law, G V Prasad, and son, Satish Reddy, are in the immediate line of succession, according to industry insiders. Prasad, vice-chairman and CEO at DRL, looks after the export business of the company. Satish Reddy, COO and MD, heads the domestic operations, said the report.

Anji Reddy’s peers and industry veterans remember him most for his passion for innovative research and ambition to make a mark internationally. Reddy is also known for his philanthropic work.

Cipla Chairman Yusuf Hamied, a close friend of Reddy, was quoted as saying by the Standard, “He was very much research-oriented. Many a times, he did the thinking on research on new drugs and I did the doing.” Hamied, who last met Reddy a couple of years ago while setting up a research facility in Cambridge, said the success of DRL goes to Reddy. “He started DRL from nowhere and it really took off very well. My condolences to the family and hope DRL will follow the path shown by him.”

Ranjit Shahani, MD and vice-chairman of Novartis India, said Reddy was a man with “unflinching conviction and passion”, who steered the inception and growth of bulk drug industry in the country. “If it was not for his entrepreneurship way back in 1984, the bulk drug industry would not have developed in India. He spawned the generation of entrepreneurs from Hyderabad, making the city the bulk drug capital of the country,” said the industry veteran.

Starting as a manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients, DRL soon introduced branded formulations. Between 1985 and 1986, it came out with a drug, Methydopa. The company approached Merck with the samples for manufacturing the drug but the proposal was rejected. This is said to have turned around the fortunes of DRL, said the Standard. “That is where I got into the act. I took it as a challenge and within three months, we produced Methydopa equal to Merck’s quality and acceptable to them,” Reddy had said during a media interaction a few years ago.

In 1987, DRL got another break when it secured approval from the US Food and Drugs Administration to make Ibuprofen. This opened a world of opportunities for Reddy.

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