World’s Number One Pharma Billionaire!

by buildingpharmabrands


The third richest billionaire from India, Dilip Shanghvi is also the Number One Billionaire in the world pharmaceutical industry. Forbes India in October 2013 listed Dilip Shanghvi as the third richest among billionaires from India with a net worth of $ 13.9 billion. He is the biggest dollar gainer, up by a whopping $ 4.7 billion this year. When you take into account billionaires only from pharmaceutical industry, Dilip Shanghvi is at the number one position. How did he achieve this unique distinction? By starting and building India’s most valuable drug company, Sun Pharma with a market capitalisation of about $ 16 billion.

Started thirty years ago in 1983, with one product and a two-member field staff to promote its first product, Lithosun the company grew rapidly. From a meagre first year sales of  $ 0.02 million the company has grown to a $ 2 billion plus company by 2013 into a vertically integrated specialty pharma company with 23 manufacturing facilities spread over the five continents and a growing presence in fifty countries across the world.

What makes Dilip Shanghvi Dilip Shanghvi? There are at least seven distinctive characteristics and competencies  or winning habits that separate him from the rest.

Unparalleled Domain Knowledge. Dilip Shanghvi’s depth and breadth of knowledge about the end to end of the pharmaceutical business from R&D to manufacturing to marketing and finance is unparalleled.

Industry Foresight. He has an uncommon Ability of Spotting Opportunities and seizing them. He often sees opportunities where others don’t see them, and before others if they do see them. It was in 1984, which the second year of Sun Pharma that the Waxman and Hatch Act came in to existence. Shanghvi set his sights on this lucrative  North American generic market right from the moment that the Country had paved the way for speedy market access to generic versions of the off-patent drugs.

Thinking Differently. His ability to think differently and out-of-the-box helping him choose, design strategies that are distinctly different from others and choose a road less travelled and even not travelled. He was the first to think of creating stand-alone specialty divisions to serve the needs of physicians specialising in a particular therapy area or branch of medicine such as Psychiatry, Neurology, Gastroenterology, Cardiology, and others before anyone even thought of and reaped rich dividends in terms of market leader ship. Other companies later replicated this model.

Ability to Measure and Manage Risk. Dilip Shanghvi has an incredible ability to measure and manage risk. The number of at-risk generic launches in North America amplify this.

Relentless Focus. Focus seems to be his first name. It is this focus coupled with cost controls, Sun’s proprietary know-how, although it is not officially patented, and ruthless execution that turned every business the company acquired. Every single one of the sixteen acquisitions have been turned around are on a healthy growth path.

Goal-Directed Behaviour. Goal setting seems to be his second nature. Shanghvi has always set goals that are challenging and has an unflinching determination to realise them.

Simplicity and Humane Nature. It is very difficult to be as simple as him with such a huge success. Shanghvi himself says that he never takes him too seriously. He is simple, down-to-earth even today. He would not hesitate to rush out even in the dead of the night if required to help out and counsel employees in their times of need.

Shanghvi’s managerial style contrasts with that of the iconic industry leader and great innovator, the late Steve Jobs. Shanghvi once said: Jobs’ philosophy was to hire the best and ensure that there is not a ‘B’ member in your team. I prefer to get the best out of the average people.

Above all the secret of Shanghvi’s huge success is in the lesson that he learnt from his father, that one should take into account the long-term implications of decisions and relationships are more important over making money. Today Sun Pharma’s success is built upon these principles: We do not look at products as profit centres but look at profit by satisfying customer-needs.