DST-UoH-TEC and ASPIRE innovation café is a collaborative initiative between ASPIRE a section-8 company of UoH and DST-UoH-Technology Enabling Center to inculcate the innovative mindset and to develop entrepreneurial skills among the students and faculty. Innovation café is a monthly program being organized at ASPIRE networking facility at the School of Life sciences. Innovation café brings distinguished speakers to cover different topics like innovations, entrepreneurship, case studies, business models, funding, and inspirational journeys etc.  This is also a platform to share and discuss your ideas and to have interaction with resourceful experts over a cup of coffee.

As part of the Expert Talk Series, Dr. Mahender Rao Siripragada (R&D President, Neuland Laboratories, Hyderabad) delivered a talk on the topic “The key to successful entrepreneurship in the Pharma & Biotech Industry’’ on 18th April 2022. The event was coordinated by Dr. Sunil, Scientific Officer, DST-UoH TEC.   Dr. Anil Kondreddy, CEO of ASPIRE-BioNEST welcomed the gathering and  Dr. Nageswara Rao (BYCUS Therapeutics) introduced the speaker.  Prof. Reddanna (Director, ASPIRE) presided over the talk, which was attended by the faculty, staff, and students.

Dr. Mahender Rao Siripragada, is an experienced Senior Vice President with more than 30 years of experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceuticals industry. He worked as the Principal Scientist in Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories and has publications in several international journals. Dr. Mahender Rao initiated the talk on a lighter note by mentioning that although he is not an entrepreneur himself, he has worked with many entrepreneurs to be able to give insights into the functioning of the industry.

He gave two examples based on his own experience explaining that the prior knowledge of the industry does not matter much if you understand how the market functions and hold the ability to enrich your customers. He further explained the value of sustainable and disruptive innovation and how it can help to captivate the customers by making the products and services affordable and approachable. For disruptive innovation, he gave examples of covid vaccines and how they were able to venture into the market and established a concrete position.

He emphasized the need and importance of understanding the market dynamics. He also said that the success of a project is not dependent on the money but more on the focus and ideas. He gave the examples of MSN Laboratories and Glenmark Pharmaceuticals to elaborate this concept further. He explained that although the approaches and the areas of focus for them are very different from each other but regardless of that, both of them are success stories. According to him, first and foremost that comes while starting anything new is your mindset and determination. He sighted the examples of Haldiram’s and Velvet shampoo, explaining how by just changing their packaging technology, they created all the difference.

He concluded his talk by showing that there are exiting opportunities these days and encouraged young entrepreneurs to move confidently with their visions.

Contributed by Aakriti Bansal, Department of Communication at the University of Hyderabad