Eight Roads Ventures-backed Eywa Pharma, founded by two former Mylan employees, is looking at expanding to the US and European Union (EU) markets with a portfolio of limited competition products. It plans to have a front-end marketing presence in the US.
Targeting 16 products in the US market by the end of this year, Eywa Pharma wants to have its own label in the world's largest single-country pharma market, unlike most of its Indian peers who dabble in the generic space.
The company has a total of 36 products filed for approval between the US and Europe. It has an approval for almost 20 so far. It launched its first product in the US in September 2018, and within a year it has launched 12 products. The company is looking at launching four more products in the US and three products in the UK market before the end of this year.
"At this stage, we want to build a good presence in the US and Europe. In the second phase, a year or two from now, we will look at expanding into other markets with our existing portfolio. Young companies are better positioned to address the market because we are nimble footed and fast to respond," said
S Srinivasan, co-founder, Eywa Pharma.
Srinivasan, former CEO of pharma major Mylan in India and former managing director of Shriram Venture (the holding entity of the various industrial businesses of the Chennai-based Shriram Group), and R Jayakumar, former head of global business development and head of regional technical operations for EMEA with Mylan, founded Eywa in 2015.
It is estimated that there are around 800 products with value less than $200 million that have limited competition in the US market.
Eywa picked a portfolio based on limited competition, with low- to mid-volume space where the overall median competition is around three to four companies. It also wanted to be a front-end generic pharma company, which sells products with its own label, while most Indian companies looked at back-end with R&D and manufacturing, and then went into front-end of marketing or continued to remain a back-end player.
The company manufactures most of its products in the US, while some are manufactured in India and exported to the US. Most of its products fall under three segments — pain management, cardiovascular and central nervous system (CNS) products.
Most large Indian pharmaceutical companies have historically been strong in developing and manufacturing high-quality, low-cost generic products, and have relied on their cost competitiveness to win market share in the US. This strategy helped companies in the first two decades of the Indian pharma industry, and up to 2015. Now, with heightened price pressure and competition, the game needs change, said Prem Pavoor, partner, Eight Roads Ventures.
"Srinivasan and Jayakumar were amongst the first few people to recognise that and, as a new entrant, believed they required a US sales and marketing team first. By establishing a front-end in the market first, it would help Eywa understand what the opportunities and gaps were, and based on those, they could organise the rest of the supply chain. This is a company that has established a front-end-first structure, as opposed to what pharmaceutical companies have historically done — start with back-end manufacturing, and then move to set up a front end," he said. "We were primarily attracted to the investment by the world-class team, which has been able to penetrate the US market, and the consolidated distribution structure there, a very rare feat for a start-up," he added.
In 2016, the company had raised $30 million from Eight Roads Ventures India (the proprietary investment arm of Fidelity International), US-based F-Prime Capital Partners and Envestor Ventures together with its affiliates (part of the Shriram Group). Srinivasan said the company may not be raising funds in the