Brand In Focus | Premas Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd.
With its genesis in 2011 by a team of highly experienced and proficient professionals, Premas Life Sciences Private Limited (PLS) is engaged in the technology and knowledge distribution of niche genomics and proteomics state-of-the-art solutions accelerating breakthrough research and clinical diagnostics. It is the team’s firm belief in Genomics as the key-driver in shaping the future of healthcare, which has led to prolific research outcomes and setting up of advanced genomics facilities at eminent institutes such as CSIR-IGIB, DBT-NIBMG, CSIR-CCMB, IISC-CBR etc. In fact, the team has worked rigorously to promote Next-Gen sequencing-based diagnostics at India’s largest cancer research hospital- TMH & the largest service provider- Medgenome- owing it all to the robust partnership with the global genomics leader Illumina Inc, that ushered and fostered an entire ecosystem of cutting-edge genomics research, service models and employment. The landmark partnership has also contributed to some amazing milestones in Indian research, spanning domains like human genome sequencing, bovine genomics, cancer consortium efforts, stress tolerance in legumes and interrogation of genomes of many indigenous plants and animals.
The foundation of Premas was laid down when the ‘start-up culture’ was yet to become a buzzword. The biggest challenge the team faced was to establish the value proposition of a very niche technology – the Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) - at a time when it was nascent in the Indian market and awareness was extremely low. Apart from the herculean task of changing the course of traditional research and widening acceptability and adoption, there were other issues too such as maintaining continuous cash flow and building the right team. The leadership took these roadblocks boldly on the chin, chipping away relentlessly in the quest of innovative answers to achieve their big goal. As the founding member and VP-Support, Mr Sanjay Yadav reminisces on those times, “It has not been a cakewalk. There were times we would sit down in hopelessness. Our journey no matter how dicey, has taught us that Customer Experience means everything. No Ifs or Buts- People buy from Experts. It’s simple as that.”
In PLS, our shared vision is to not only to serve an existing need but to create new routes and roadmaps for creating new markets, by bridging the existing gaps that can be answered with the super advanced technology solutions. The team’s dedicated and persistent client-centric approach has transformed the enterprise from a young start-up to an established leader with a CAGR of 60% in short span of time. The most important milestone has been the successful evolution into an integral part of the ‘core system’ that’s designing the next genomics space in India. The journey to a potential contribution for a thriving 450 Crore industry – one which today employs nearly 4000 people and has established 10+ service providers (which ensures that Indian samples remained in India) - was all achieved from scratch, of course. “This gives us immense pleasure to look back at our growth curve not in numbers alone, but also in terms of spearheading and supporting a completely new area of research”, shares Sanjay.
So what kind of customers do Premas Life Sciences serve? Sanjay elaborates, “In the initial years we were mostly working with academic researchers, who would use our solutions to answer complex questions in basic and translational sciences. Over the years, there has been a paradigm shift in the applications of genomics into contract research, diagnostics, industry applications etc. Additionally, we now have many more technologies in our portfolio spanning real time cell assays, mass cytometry, oligo synthesizers, protein characterization tools etc, which has widened our customer base to India’s biopharma space too.”
Among multiple accolades, the one that generates the most pride and satisfaction for the visionary leadership is being an ‘elite partner’ to Illumina. Being awarded as one of Asia’s Best Brands in the Lifesciences Space is equally fulfilling. The brand has also been covered by FortuneIndia as the top genomics technology solution provider in the country. However, one has to look beyond material achievements to understand the real disruption and role that PLS has been playing with quiet and resolute commitment: Catalysing the rise of Genomics in India by literally hand-holding the industry from its nascent stage. “That’s been the brightest feather in our cap. We continue our quest for game-changing technologies, and in the last few years have brought key brands like 10x Genomics, Twist Biosciences and Codex DNA to India, revolutionizing research in newer application areas like Single Cell Genomics”, says Sanjay.
No disruptor – be it a brand like Premas or individual like its founders - goes without its fair share of adversity. Dwelling on the challenges faced by the company, Sanjay says, “The 2 major obstacles that we faced were attracting talent as well as customers because for both the groups we were a new, unknown and untested brand. Our vision for the future, our passion coupled with the technical prowess helped us establish faith in our customers ultimately conquering these hurdles down the line.”
In all fairness, the COVID-19 pandemic has been disruptive globally, rendering the fight for survival into a hard and harsh reality that threatens to be a long drawn one. As they say however, ‘Never waste a good crisis. On cue, the agile and courageous leadership has re-purposed its core competency areas to meet not just the New Normal, but the one that will inevitably follow. It has been closely affiliating with new opportunities and nimbly adapting to the dynamic market needs. In this war of ‘survival’, Premas seems equipped with the wherewithal necessary to not just survive, but thrive, as the fittest.
Even pioneers need to constantly look over their shoulder to gauge competition, while keeping an eye on the horizon that’s unfurling ahead. So what is Premas’ secret when it comes to keeping an ‘ear on the ground’, so to speak? Reveals Sanjay, “Staying abreast of the market is half your job done. While one can retain their core competency areas, it’s important to diversify beyond these while business is good, and one has the luxury of means and mindspace to explore. It’s important to invest in new ideas with potential to lay a foundation for future business opportunities.”
We are curious about the forward blueprint that the leadership at Premas has doubtless been working on – for both the near and the long term future. Sanjay notices the sense of enquiry, illuminating: “We are looking at diversifying further into the clinical diagnostics and Biopharma space, and also delve into the manufacturing space in future”
Amazon creator Jeff Bezos has famously gone on record saying ‘A brand is what they say about you when you are NOT in the room’. So what legacy does Brand Premas Life Sciences hope to create? How would it, in other words, want to be ‘talked about’ when it is not in the room as by its business community, fans and competitors? Sanjay smiles - the honest sparkle of true self-made success showing clearly on his visage - as he humbly shares, “We are really hoping to create a space where technology can be used to answer important problems in science and how it influences people’s lives. In addition, we also believe in fostering the spirit of science among students and young adults through our scientific outreaches. Because undoubtedly, science and tech form the backbone of economic and social development of any country, and we would definitely like Premas, in its own unique capacity, to contribute to the India story.”
*This story is published by VOH team*
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