His Story

Pankaj Patel – A New Discovery to Pharma Industry


Pankaj Patel is the chairman and managing director of Cadilla Healthcare which is the 5th largest pharmaceutical company in India.  In 2004, he was placed on 24th position in Forbes magazine. The headquarters of Cadilla in Ahmedabad.

He was named the “Best Pharma Man of the year 2003” by the Foundation of Indian Industry and Economists in recognition of the growth of Cadilla under his leadership. At that time, Patel predicted that Zydus Cadilla would become the third-largest pharmaceutical company in India by 2005.

He holds Bachelor of Pharmacy and Master of Pharmacy degrees from Gujarat University, as well as a BA in Science and Law from the University of Mumbai.

Over the last two decades, Patel has built pharma brands and expanded either through joint ventures or strategic acquisitions of niche pharmaceutical companies across the globe. Today, with about 15 acquisitions, four joint ventures and 11 manufacturing plants, Patel’s Cadilla Healthcare, which was a Rs 200-crore company in 1995, has revenues of Rs 7,224 crore with net profits of Rs 820 crore. 2011 was a particularly defining year for the company as it crossed the billion-dollar mark in revenues.

For Cadilla to survive the next decade of pharma wars, Patel says his company needs to discover and patent its own drugs. In pharma, this is called discovering an NCE (new chemical entity). Cadila’s first and so far only NCE was launched in India in September 2013. Lipaglyn, which treats diabetic dyslipidaemia (by controlling blood sugar and cholesterol levels), did well in India, American and European markets. In 2003, Patel acquired Alpharma France, the French subsidiary of American company Alpharma Inc, to venture into the European generics market, the second largest after the US.

Beyond acquisitions, Patel has also forged successful joint ventures with Abbott, Hospira, Takeda and Bayer.

Patel’s ambitions have taken him beyond pharma. He has established another set of businesses housed under Zydus Wellness brands such as Sugar Free (a sweetener for diabetic patients), EverYuth (a skincare brand) and Nutralite (a healthy substitute for butter). The company, with revenues of Rs 403.64 crore in 2013-14, claimed 93 percent of the market in the category of sweeteners.

Pharmacy legend Pankaj Patel’s generics drugs Cadilla Healthcare was taken to court by Swiss giant Roche for selling a clone of its popular breast cancer drug Herceptin in India. Cadilla said it had secured regulatory approval. Its shares, which suffered a hit earlier when it received a warning from the U.S. FDA for violating manufacturing standards at one its factories, recovered after a positive report by the health regulator. In June Cadilla acquired 2 drugs in the pipeline from Teva Pharmaceutical’s U.S. portfolio.

Zydus Cadilla CMD Pankaj Patel has been elected president of industry body FICCI for 2017 and will take over once the work term of the Ambuja Neotia Group Chairman Harshavardhan Neotia completes his term next month.

Pankaj Patel is actively involved in various educational institutions and is on the advisory committees and academic councils of several educational institutions such as Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, IISER, Kolkata, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, The Ahmedabad University and Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies.

Patel is the Executive Chairman, Vice President and Trustee of the Gujarat Cancer Society and Chairman of the Gujarat Cancer and Research Institute, a regional Cancer Centre and one of the largest of its kind in India.

Facts about Pankaj Patel:-

  • He is head of Cadilla healthcare.
  • He was awarded as a “Best Pharma Man of the year 2003″
  • Cadilla healthcare is the 5th largest pharmaceutical company in India.
  • He holds Bachelor of Pharmacy and Master of Pharmacy degrees from Gujarat University, as well as a BA in Science and Law from the University of Mumbai.
  • Till now, he has done 15 acquisitions, four joint ventures and 11 manufacturing plants.



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