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Indegene planning to buy US call centre

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Bengaluru  based Indegene Lifesystems, a company backed by a former Infosys founder and a former employee, is close to acquiring a US-based call centre providing medical education and communication services to doctors and patients. Two potential targets have been identified and a Canadabased boutique investment banking firm is assisting Indegene with the valuation, the Bangalore-based company’s chief executive Manish Gupta said.

The value of the acquisition will be $10-15 million (Rs 50-75 crore), Gupta said, declining to identify the potential targets. Indegene was started in 1998 by Infosys ex-employee Gupta, four of his associates and the Nadathur Holdings investment firm of Infosys cofounder NS Raghavan.

The acquisition will help Indegene gain a strong foothold in the United States and increase its ability to expand its service offerings to top pharmaceutical companies, Gupta said. Indegene also wants to provide patient analytics services to insurance companies in the United States. Once the acquisition is completed, Indegene, which at present employs 750 staff, would have increased its headcount by 100 and revenues by about $15 million a year, Gupta said.

The acquisition will help Indegene reach its target $100 million in revenue by 2015, he added, but declined to say what the turnover is now. Indegene, which has six delivery centres in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, China, Singapore and India, gets 90% of its revenues from the world’s top 10 pharmaceutical companies, among them GlaxoSmith-Kline, Novartis and Merck.
Big Pharmaceutical have been vigorously cutting costs after some of their top drugs, fetching billions of dollars in revenue, have gone off patent, opening up the market for generic players. As a result, they have begun outsourcing not just clinical trials but also marketing and medical content for new and mature drugs.

A 2011 survey by the Boston Consulting Group on the strategies adopted by pharmaceutical companies showed that 51% of their global departments outsource activities such as medical education, communication, publications, marketing and analytics, among others. This helps companies focus on research and development and minimise their outlay on marketing and other selling expenses.
“Big Pharma wants us to develop strategies for developing countries as the companies have their own infrastructure in bigger markets like the United States and Europe. They want partners who can accelerate the go-tomarket strategies for them in many of the emerging markets,” Gupta said.

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