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Get Ready India Because ‘The Future Is Big’

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India has a strong presence in the pharmaceutical industry’s Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) segment. Notably, it also offers world-class quality for pharma products at a low price, which opens opportunities for contract manufacturing, as it is among the fastest expanding areas of the pharmaceutical business.

Contract manufacturing for pharmaceuticals requires the use of innovative technologies to keep up with changing market trends. Today, the aim is to build supply chains with multiple facilities across locations to meet the rising and unpredictable demands.

The contract manufacturing market is estimated to grow to $157.7 billion in 2025, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.9% since 2018, outpacing the pharmaceutical industry as a whole.

Here are some of the upcoming trends and opportunities in the sector:

Healthcare advancements driving facility divestment

The facility divestments of pharma firms shall impel outsourcing as well as contracts for products that will become generic or non-core, and novel product manufacturing where the pharma business lacks the manufacturing capabilities or knowledge. CMO’s have been increasingly acquiring or building biologics capabilities and capacity; however, because most of the biologics and advanced therapeutics are marketed by larger companies that are less likely to outsource, CMOs will have to find ways to entice these companies to achieve a good return on investment. 

Presently, we are already witnessing a significant shortage of critical pharma products in certain geographies. The CDMO, biopharma, and life science service industries are aiming to improve ATMP manufacturing processes, which include automation, modular facilities, improved upstream titers, and better downstream purification technologies.

Need for better controls

While time and money savings can be gained via multi-product facilities, this approach comes with its own set of problems, the most serious of which is the potential of cross-contamination. While contamination issues have long existed, the growing practice of outsourcing has increased the need for improved controls. Further, many of these facilities are modified and old and can pose a health risk. Such old facilities can also limit flexibility and adaptability, making one-way product flows difficult to construct. Because the pharmaceutical business is under such intense pressure to create life-saving drugs swiftly and cheaply, maintaining the aseptic process under such tight deadlines can be a challenge.

According to the EY and FICCI Indian Pharma report, as one of the top ten industries in lowering trade deficits and attracting foreign direct investment, the pharmaceutical industry has contributed majorly to India’s economic growth (FDI). Between April 2000 and June 2020, the medications and pharmaceuticals sector received a total of US$16.54 billion in FDI.

The road ahead

The evolution of CDMOs across geographic locations is due to the significant advancements made by the pharma sector. They will play a critical role in ensuring that pharma innovation, accessibility, and affordability are on par across geographies. However, this needs a holistic approach by key stakeholders in the industry.

In short, by looking at the rising FDIs and demands in the Indian Pharmaceutical Industry, we can say that the future is very bright indeed, with the system receiving a shot in arm after recent events.

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Business

The story of Tiktok and beyond

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The story of Tiktok as social media apps

As social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter were staying strong in the digital age, TikTok seemed to appear out of nowhere to share the thunder with the social media giants mentioned earlier.

TikTok is an entertaining, addictive app that managed to win over the hearts of people, mainly the youth. It is a short-form video platform, has perhaps become the hottest app ever as it has over 2.3 billion all-time downloads. The growth of TikTok has been exponential.

Right after the collaboration with Musical.ly, ByteDance launched TikTok. It instantly got the reception that was expected to reach around 800 million active users. Not just the youth but people from all age groups made it on TikTok. It was also known for the creation of jobs, as “influencers” made huge profits online.

TikTok in India saw a huge rise in the number of users (over 200 million). But just when TikTok was expanding in India, India’s long-time dispute with China seemed to be ignited again. In a move that month befitting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” initiative, the Indian government removed 59 Chinese-made apps, TikTok among them, citing national security concerns.

Left reel-ing

Not only was Tiktok hit hard, but also the influencers lost a majority of their livelihood. There were petitions, protests to bring TikTok back but none of them worked. Suddenly, 200 million people had to live in a post-TikTok era. Many apps like MX TakaTak, Josh, Roposo, etc. tried to replace TikTok in India, but could not create the impact TikTok did. After that, social media giants like Instagram and Facebook decided to quickly take the stage and launch ‘reels’ which did have a significant impact on the TikTok audience but failed to connect with the ‘hinterland’ part of India like TikTok.

There is also the grisly undertone of ‘classism’, as TikTok succeeded not just because of the content on it, but who was on it. Even as Facebook, Instagram, and the likes were flooded with users from urban India, TikTok gave India’s hinterland creators a voice. Once it went dark, these erstwhile TikTok users faced a deluge of criticism, outright hate, and a much reduced fan following. Even as the Indian audience continues its search to find the right successor of TikTok, many look forward to TikTok’s return with bated breath.

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Credit cards for India’s unbanked, now a reality

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Credit cards are an excellent way to build credit and make important purchases when cash is a bit tight. However, not everyone has access to a credit card, and this is particularly true in India, where financial inclusion remains a challenge. Across India, approximately 400 million people cannot “afford” a credit card, leaving them out of the financial mainstream and without access to a critical financial instrument. One startup, named GalaxyCard, provides a digital credit card specifically to these low-income individuals overlooked by others. And they issue these cards within 3 minutes. 

This FinTech startup ties up with multiple channels like UPI, in-app services, and even offline. Around 1 lakh digital cards have been issued until now, with annual revenues touching Rs. 1 Crore.

Amit Kumar, who previously founded the mobile-based payment application firm Eashmart, which was eventually bought by PayUMoney in 2014, co-founded GalaxyCard with his friend Gunjeet Singh. The latter was closing down his own logistics firm Truckload at the time, after repeated stints as a product manager.

How does it work?

The income model of the firm is comparable to that of a traditional bank, but with smaller ticket sizes. The credit limit lies within a minimum of Rs. 1,000 and a maximum of Rs. 25,000. A user can begin with Rs. 1,000, and when the system collects additional information (such as how the money is spent, repayment time, overdue, other sources of income, dependency, and so on), the limit rises to Rs. 5,000, then Rs. 25,000, but remains below the user’s total steady income. The ‘bump up’ is based on the user’s financial situation, and it is thoroughly scrutinized by the platform to keep dangers of default to a minimum. 

As fintech rises exponentially, companies tend to change their business model as technology and requirements evolve. If India’s digital banking ecosystem is to grow, it must look beyond the pool of users in urban cities, and bring in those within India’s hinterland to its fold. GalaxyCard is an interesting solution to a long-time problem faced by the unbanked, and could well solve rural India’s credit conundrum. 

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CoinSwitch Kuber: The story of India’s largest crypto exchange

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The growth of Cryptocurrency over the years has been astronomical. People are now tempted to take their first steps into the world of crypto. To make trading, investing, and knowledge of crypto easier for people, three engineers, Ashish Singhal (CEO), Govind Soni (CTO), and Vimal Sagar (COO) launched ‘CoinSwitch Kuber’ in 2017. This began the journey of a platform that is now home to over 11 million users.

In early 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a policy that did not allow the banks to support crypto transactions that forced the three founders to spread their idea outside India with the VC, Sequoia Capital funding them in the seed round. But soon in early 2020, their dream of shedding light on the digital currency in India came true as the Supreme Court of India overturned RBI’s policy. ‘CoinSwitch Kuber’ was then introduced to the people of India.

Ashish defines simplified User Experience (UX) and the decision to not provide the users with some trading features as the two factors that helped the platform overtake other coin exchanges.

CoinSwitch recently suspended crypto withdrawals for its users due to lack of clear rules concerning the currency. Clarifying the move, Ashish says, “This was perhaps the hardest call we had to take. But regulators are worried about crypto being used as legal tender and hurting the sovereignty of the Indian rupee. Further, they are worried crypto can be used for money laundering and other illicit activities. So far, no one has figured out how to stop it, but disabling crypto withdrawals in a stopgap measure till the right policies come in place.”

Talking about the future, the founders aim to transform this app into a full-time investment platform with crypto and traditional financial instruments available for everyone. Praising the investors such as a16z, the founders hope that the Indian government defines the rules around crypto better, and compartmentalize virtual currencies based on their use cases and not prohibit it in upcoming legislation.

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