Why a cut-and-paste approach to digital transformation won’t cut it: An interview with the founder of Biocon

Why a cut-and-paste approach to digital transformation won’t cut it: An interview with the founder of Biocon

McKinsey & Company’s Sathya Prathipati and Joydeep Sengupta – an interview with Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

Asian companies can reap many benefits if they not only embrace but also truly understand digital innovation, says Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw cuts a formidable figure in India’s pharmaceutical industry. The chair of the country’s largest biopharmaceutical company, which registered more than 65 billion rupees ($930 million) in revenue last year, established Biocon in 1978 with initial capital of just 10,000 rupees ($140). Mazumdar-Shaw has increased Biocon’s stable of products from a single papaya enzyme, used to arrest the clouding process in beer, to scores of diabetes, oncology, and immunology treatments reaching more than 120 countries. Its mission, says the company, is to make drugs and medicines affordable to all, with an innovation model seeking to “reduce disparities in access to safe, high-quality medicines, as well as address the gaps in scientific research to find solutions to impact a billion lives.” Biocon’s “Mission 10 cents,” for example, offers human insulin to diabetes patients in lower- and middle-income countries for less than ten cents a day.

COVID-19 has touched Biocon’s founder in an especially personal way. On August 18, Mazumdar-Shaw, who maintains a lively social-media presence, tweeted “I have added to the COVID count by testing positive. Mild symptoms n [sic] I hope it stays that way.” Still, she continued to oversee Biocon from home as she recovered and even found time in September to participate in a videoconference interview with McKinsey’s Sathya Prathipati and Joydeep Sengupta.

Read the full interview by McKinsey & Company below.

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