Dr K Anji Reddy, founder & chairman of the country’s second largest drug maker Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd, passed away on Friday evening in Hyderabad. He was suffering from liver cancer for some time.
He had earlier stepped down from active executive role at the company which is now managed by his son K Satish Reddy, managing director & COO and his son-in-law GV Prasad, who is the vice chairman & CEO of the company.
A B Sc graduate from Bombay University with specialization in Pharmaceutical Science and Fine Chemicals, Dr Reddy obtained his Ph D in Chemical Engineering from National Chemical Laboratory, Pune. Soon after his studies, he served in the state-owned drug maker IDPL before he founded his own company in 1984.
Dr Reddy’s Laboratories today has grown to become the second largest drug firm in India in terms of both revenues and market value, behind Sun Pharma.
Under his leadership, Dr Reddy’s became one of the first local pharmaceutical companies to initiate basic drug discovery research in 1993. Till then much of Indian pharma industry banked on churning out cheap generic versions of drugs developed abroad.
It is also one of the few top firms which is still Indian owned. Other big firms such as Ranbaxy and Piramals sold off their firms/business to global drug makers over the last few years. While such rumours of promoters exiting Dr Reddy’s persisted over the last few years, especially after its German acquisition of Betapharm turned out to be tough to digest, the firm stayed put and so did the promoters.
Dr Reddy is also credited with setting up the Institute of Life Sciences at Hyderabad, which is a public-private partnership with the government of Andhra Pradesh for carrying out research in Life Sciences.
Satish Reddy, MD and COO of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd said: “Dr Reddy touched millions of lives through his contribution to the pharmaceutical industry and his philanthropic efforts. In improving access to affordable, high quality medicines and in innovation, his contributions have been extraordinary. His philanthropic initiatives made a difference in the lives of so many Indians in the areas of livelihood, education, clean drinking water and healthcare.”
Dr Reddy also served as a member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Trade & Industry, chairman of Andhra Pradesh Industrial Development Corporation (APIDC) and president of The Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance. He also served as a board member of GAIN, Switzerland (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition) and also was on the board of directors for TB Alliance, New York (Global Alliance for TB Drug Development).
In April 2011, he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan, one of the highest Civilian Awards in India, in recognition of his service in the field of trade and industry.