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Cipla floats in-house venture capital firm

MUMBAI: Cipla, India's second-largest drug maker by sales, is preparing to become an incubator for start-ups that will shape the future of the company. Cipla Ventures, the new in-house division of the drug maker, will weigh the prospect of investing in companies from start-up hubs like Boston and London among other places, in areas such asbiotechnology, medical devices and new chemical entity. 

The brainchild of Cipla's new Global CEO Subhanu Saxena, the idea of this business is to build companies that will complement the future of the company. 

"I strongly believe that you don't want to mix running today with building tomorrow, so this way, I have the organisation focus on the operating business and I have a team that is able to, with sensible risk, place bets for the future," 
Subhanu Saxena told ET. "And out of the five or six bets I place, only two or three need to pay off," he added. 

The venture will be led by 
Chandru Chawla, who has been appointed head of the new business ventures, and helping him will be Samina Vaziralli, who is one of the senior members of the leadership team of Cipla, and the daughter of Cipla's joint managing director MK Hamied. 

Saxena asserts that 
funding business won't be an issue; its own internal accruals can take care of the new business. "We can fund it through our cash generation; you fund it like a VC to the next master, the team comes with the business case and you decide how you want to move forward," he added. 

Cipla's new initiative comes at a time when the company is making bold moves in expanding its international business. Recently, it acquired South Africa's Cipla Medpro for Rs 2,850 crore, the only big-ticket acquisition it made since its inception. Also, apart from setting up a new team in Europe, Cipla has entered the 
US market for the first time since 60 years of existence.