April 10, 2003

Sami Labs to go national



By Darlington Jose Hector
Times News Network

Bangalore: The Rs. 70-crore Sami Labs, a Bangalore-based nutraceutical and cosmeceutical fir, which has thus far remained largely an export-oriented outfit catering to multinationals, is laying out plans to become a national player.

In a move that would pit it against the likes of Hindustan Lever; Emami and Himalaya, Sami Labs will be using its cosmeceutical (ingredients with medicinal properties) expertise to launch a brand of cosmetic products in the indian market later this year. Its range of nutraceutical products will also be taken national over the next few months.

Muhammed Majeed, managing director; Sami Labs, said the company was already a big supplier of cosmeceuticals to global cosmetics companies like Avon and Estee Lauder. "We plan to use this expertise, as also our continuing research in the area, to develop cosmetics. We'll come out with unique products," he said. The products will be in areas like wrinkle-conditioning, treatment of dark circles and maintenance of skin texture.

Majeed is now in the process of deciding whether to take the multilevel marketing or FMCG route to enter the cosmeceutical pool.

In the area of pharmaceuticals, the company is ready with a low-cost molecule for the sleeping sickness drug eflornithine. Sami Labs claims it can make the drug available for $600-700/kg, against the prevailing international prices of $7,000-8,000/kg. Majeed is currently holding talks with WHO for introducing the drug in Africa, where the drug is most needed.

Sami Labs, which has patented three molecules so far, plans to set up a dedicated pharmaceutical wing in a year or two.