Sami Labs Ltd. (SAM!),
formerly known as Sami Chemicals and Extracts Ltd., was established
in 1991 by an enterprising technocrat, Dr. Muhammed Majeed. The company
is today engaged in the manufacture and export of standardized herbal
extracts, fine chemicals, specialty chemicals, cosmeceuticals, probiotics
and spice oleoresins.
Dr. Majeed, who had earlier done his doctorate in Industrial Pharmacy
from St. John's University, Jamaica, New York, founded the Sabinsa Corporation
in New Jersey, USA in 1988, with the objective of marketing generic
pharmaceuticals of Indian origin. However, delays in FDA approval for
such products necessitated a different vision for the company. He then
pioneered the introduction of several plant materials of Indian origin
to the rapidly growing U.S. nutraceuticals market. These then, were
the products that were manufactured at SAMl.
What distinguished these early Sabinsa products from some of the other
herbal products then prominent in the marketplace, was the fact that
they were all standardized extracts. In other words, the potency of
the active ingredients could be assured from one batch to the next.
This concept helped to increase the acceptance of herbal extracts of
Indian origin in the U.S. herbal market, as they could now be authenticated
and analyzed for active constituents.
SAMI started its activities in 1991 with merchant exports. In the same
year, it also established a small laboratory to develop new manufacturing
processes and analytical methods. In the following year, a small-scale
manufacturing unit was set up in Singasandra, Bangalore. This unit manufactures
herbal extracts and fine chemicals. SAMI now has four manufacturing
facilities at Kunigal, Mysore, Singasandra and Nelamangala, and a corporate
office/ R&D center in Peenya, Bangalore. All its manufactured products
are exported to SABINSA Corporation in New Jersey, USA.
In association with Sabinsa, USA, SAMI pioneered the manufacture and
introduction of several phytonutrients to cater to the expanding global
market. Towards this end, agencies were set up in Europe, and a full-fledged
office established in Japan. The nutraceuticals focus has now expanded
to include cosmeceuticals, which are increasingly finding applications
in personal care products. The thrust at SAMI is on market-oriented
research and new product development. Ideas for new product development
are generated on the basis of the feedback received from its U.S. marketing
arm, Sabinsa Corporation and its customers, and also from other international
In the specialty chemicals area, pioneering research led to the development
of L (+) Selenomethionine, a nutritional source of the essential trace
element, selenium. This product won for Sami Labs the National Award
for basic drugs in 1994.
Exim Bank has been playing a key role in the development and growth
of the company. In fact, SAMI's first biotech facility was built with
financial support from EXIM Bank. Exim Bank sanctioned a term loan of
Rs. 345 lakh to SAMI to part-finance its project for setting up of facilities
for manufacturing Lactobacillus, and for expansion of capacities for
extracts in its Kunigal and Mysore units.
Sami Labs is in the final stages of setting up a Supercritical Co2
extraction facility at Nelamangala, utilizing indigenous technology
developed at lIT, Mumbai. Here too, Exim Bank has stepped in with financial
assistance. Exim Bank sanctioned a term loan of Rs. 450 lakh for setting
up the Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SCFE) plant that would meet US
FDA requirements. A Research & Development loan of Rs. 350 lakh
was also sanctioned for funding research aimed at standardisation of
herbal extracts and standards isolation, development of newer applications
for existing products, expansion of research & development in fine
chemicals, development of patentable products, tissue culture, and agricultural
Stringent adherence to quality and a commitment to the principles of
"tradition, innovation and research" have resulted in several
awards and international recognition for SAMl. The company was awarded
Export House Status by Government of India. This was followed by the
award of the Spices House Certificate, and a recognition of manufacturing
facilities and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice), by the Spices Board.
SAMI also co-owns seven US-issued Patents, ten pending US Patents and
23 international patents with Sabinsa, U.S.A. In order to be a global
player in the true sense, SAMI plans to introduce in India the cultivation
of medicinal plants from all over the world. SAMI has over 95%, export
orientation. Its cumulative exports in the last 3 years stood at Rs.130
The story of SAMI thus demonstrates how an Indian company can successfully
make pioneering strides in the rapidly growing global market for products
of Indian origin.