Bengaluru-headquartered STEER Engineering, said on Tuesday that it had reached an out-of-court settlement with UK pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline Group (GSK) with regard to the use of “STEER’s revolutionary technology” to produce Horlicks, a malted milk drink seen as a staple for the children of upwardly mobile families in the country. STEER is the creator of advanced materials platform technologies that effectively transform and functionalise materials in the fields of plastics, pharmaceuticals, food and nutraceuticals, biomaterials and biorefining.
Following the settlement, GSK has issued a public statement acknowledging STEER’s contribution in creating step-change technology to produce Horlicks. GSK said, “Using STEER’s state-of-the-art technology, high-quality extruders, and dedicated personnel, the project has brought a new-to-world technology to fruition, involving numerous improvements compared to the traditional way Horlicks is made. The new process requires only half the footprint of a traditional factory, uses a fifth of the water and reduces the energy usage by 80 per cent.”
Stating that the two companies had reached a satisfactory settlement, the managing director of STEER, Dr Babu Padmanabhan said, “There is no other technology available in the market that has this immense cost-benefit and extraordinary performance. Apart from Horlicks, technology can be used for the manufacture of other food ingredients. STEER will continue to remain focused on supporting India’s quest in bridging the nutrition gap and help ensure food supply-demand stability”
STEER, which was founded in 1993 by Padmanabhan, has 5 global offices and 10 satellite offices, serving over 39 countries. It employs over 500 engineers, scientists and technicians across the globe.
It may be recalled that in December 2018, STEER had gone to court seeking protection of the technology and know-how it had provided to GlaxoSmithKline Group (GSK) for the manufacture of Horlicks. This happened after GSK announced the deal with fast-moving consumer goods company Hindustan Unilever Limited for its consumer healthcare business in India, leading to IP (intellectual property) issues which have been settled.