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Sami Labs takes Indian herbal medicine to the world

Monday April 15, 2013 03:45:44 PM, Fakir Balaji, IANS

Bangalore: In a world dominated by allopathic multinationals and their smart marketing strategies, a little-known Indian company in this tech hub has made inroads into the global healthcare sector, focusing on research and development (R&D) in herbal medicines.

"Our mission has been to unlock the mystery of herbs and extract their goodness through biotechnology," Sami Labs founder Muhammed Majeed told IANS here.

"Today, we export to global firms across the world standardised herbal extracts, nutritional ingredients, cosmeceuticals, probiotics (micro-organisms), fine and specialty chemical, oral dosage and topical formulations that are developed and produced in our labs and six factories near Bangalore and in Hyderabad."

The company is projected to have a sales revenue of over Rs.200 crore in last fiscal (2012-13) as against Rs.169 crore in previous fiscal (2011-12), with 80 percent from exports to the US, Europe, African and Gulf and Asia-Pacific regions.

As a multi-disciplinary R&D-based company, Sami has developed a range of patented products using native medicinal plants, herbs, tissues, minerals and natural ingredients grown on organic soil.

Among its innovations are pepper extract (Bioperine) to increase the bioavailability of nutritional products and turmeric extract (Curcumin C3 complex) as an effective anti-oxidant.

"We have also developed anti-glaucoma drug from a native herb - Coleus Forskholii, organic selenium and Forslean for effective weight management," Sami chief executive V.G. Nair said.

Clinical trials are underway for treating psoriasis, human leukemia, and various types of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, asthma and diabetes.

Armed with a dozen molecules and US and international 80 patents, Sami also manufactures a range of phytochemicals, cosmeceutical actives, specialty chemicals and specialised drug intermediates used in nutritional, cosmetic, pharma and food industries.

"Sabinsa's formulation facility at Utah in the US caters to our global markets and enables us to undertake contract manufacturing for multinationals," Majeed said.

He said absence of organised R&D and lack of patronage had hampered the growth of the Indian systems of medicines based on ayurveda, unani and naturopathy.

"It's regrettable that the world of herbs remains unexplored and their potential untapped in the land of their origin (India) while allopathic experts in the US and Europe discover their immense value."

Majeed said his over two-decade-old Indian firm carved a niche in the global pharma sector by adopting "best practices, transparency and ethical values that have been built at our parent company Sabinsa Corporation, I founded in the US over 25 years ago as a research-oriented marketing firm".

A doctorate (Ph.D) in industrial pharmacy, Majeed had worked in the R&D divisions of US pharma majors like Pfizer, Carter Wallace and Paco Research.

(Fakir Balaji can be contacted at




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