ACG’s R&D gets boost with new mega vegetarian capsules facility in Maharashtra

INDIA – ACG, one of the world’s leading capsule suppliers based in Mumbai is set to invest US$800 million to build the world’s largest greenfield vegetarian capsule factory in Aurangabad, Maharashtra.

This move follows Narendra Modi government’s push to replace animal origin gelatin with plant-based cellulose capsules.

This facility will help India’s industrial capacity to provide high-quality, safe, and cost-effective medicines and nutraceuticals around the world.

ACG is the world’s largest integrated supplier of solid dosage products and services, with a presence in over 138 countries, offering hard-shell capsules, film and foil barrier solutions, track and trace systems, and process, packing, and inspection equipment.

The company has signed an MoU with the Maharashtra state government to produce 40 billion capsules per year, catering to both Indian and international pharmaceutical and nutraceutical companies. The Maharashtra government has designated this project as a “mega project.”

Karan Singh, managing director of Mumbai-based ACG, told ET that the company has land allotted by the Maharashtra government and plans to take advantage of the Centre’s production linked incentive (PLI) scheme.

According to the announcement, the upcoming facility is expected to generate approximately 1000 direct and indirect jobs in the region by 2023.

To create and sustain value, the proposed plant will use key design principles from the internationally recognized Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and will be powered primarily by green renewable energy.

ACG intends to set new standards at its capsule manufacturing and research facility by utilizing automation and industry 4.0 technologies to reduce resource intensity and ensure products meet global manufacturing practices (GMP).

Setting new industry benchmarks will use automation and industry 4.0 technologies to reduce resource intensity while ensuring products meet or exceed the highest global manufacturing practices (GMP).

Pharmaceutical R&D in India

According to Statista, Indian pharmaceutical companies spend less than 13% of their annual revenue on research and development (R&D).

Lupin spent the most on R&D in FY 2020, at US$225 million, followed by Dr Reddy (US$204 million) and Cipla (US$173 million).

The Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) released a draft policy in October 2021 to catalyze R&D in the pharmaceutical-medical technology (pharma-medtech) sector, with the goal of making India a leader in drug discovery and innovative medical devices.

This policy will be implemented over a 10-year period through an Action Plan that defines roles, responsibilities, activities, goals, and timelines.

With a network of around 3,000 drug companies and 10,500 manufacturing units, India’s pharmaceutical industry is expected to be worth US$42 billion in 2021.

It is expected to grow to US$65 billion by 2024 and to US$120-130 billion by 2030. According to the OECD, India’s pharmaceutical industry will grow 317 percent between 2017 and 2060, putting it in first place in the global pharmaceutical market, followed by Indonesia according to article published by India briefing.

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Cipla, Lupin, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Aurobindo Pharma, Zydus Cadila, Piramal Enterprises, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, and Torrent Pharmaceuticals are some of the major domestic players in the industry.

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