A conversation with the kick-starters: Dr. Ferzaan and Mr. Kaushik

 

 

I: Why did you choose pharmacy?

F: I hadn’t that much choice. In our times it was more like be an engineer, doctor or pharmacist that’s it. But I believe when you have a good attitude you can do good in anything you choose.

K: I would say my first love was mechanical engineering. But due to some family compulsion and financial circumstances I ended up choosing pharmacy. But as Ferzaan said when you have a positive outlook then you can perform well in anything you opt.

I: Is there something that being an entrepreneur or taking leadership taught you that you didn’t learn in pharmacy?

F: First thing I would like to mention will be team spirit. You have to face so many kinds of failures, sometimes the market goes wrong or sometimes you go wrong but a good resilient team will come back against all the odds.

Second thought I have while being in college, knowledge and its application was important and I may say that’s still important but what perhaps is also needed is confidence and bright outlook which is not taught in college. If you have got self confidence and ardency then nobody can stop you. So this is what I have learnt in later parts of my life.

K: If I have to succeed as an entrepreneur I can’t take success alone. It definitely has to be contributed through a team. Though I personally believe that leadership is situational.

I: Having done your PhD from US  do you(Dr. Ferzaan) find some differences or something we can probably inculcate into our education system?

F: I think both can learn from each other but one thing that fascinated me was that there you can study any subject at any age which I find a very positive thing.

I: Going through your (Mr. Kaushik) whole life one can observe that you have done a lot of work in formulation and development. Any specific reason?

K: Actually my passion was engineering but I somehow landed up in pharmacy. So I was naturally more interested in pharmaceutics which involved the machines and the physics of the product.

I: You (Dr. Ferzaan) have been fairly involved in R&D field in general. What are your views regarding R&D scenario in India?

F: I think at present India does extremely well. But where I feel a little disappointed is that we need to invent new molecules in India and that’s not happened yet or may be its too early for us. But I feel like we are a little limited in terms of innovation.

I: What has been the role of this college for you both especially in shaping your future? Any special experience or memories?

F: I think this is a great institute and yes the oldest one in the country! Wherever you go in the world you will find someone who has been touched by LMCP and that makes me so proud of it.

K: I have always enjoyed all the practical work especially of pharmacology, pharmacognosy and microbiology.

I: As noticed while flipping through journals we find more positive trial results than we find negative trial results which I personally think should be given the same importance. What are your views about this?

F: I guess you are making a very good point and I agree with you. We should almost celebrate failure as much as success because both are inherent part of life. If everything is successful you should probably suspect it rather applaud it.

I: You also took an initiative to start a CRO. What inspired you to do so?

F: That actually started by converting a problem into an opportunity!

Initially it was an ambitious plan with the aim of investing few crores into a long term project. But eventually we realised that this project was  going to be very difficult as the company also went through its own vicissitudes. Rather than giving up I came up with an idea to do something that people pay us to do research. So went to US and brought top CRO students one after another to show them the factory and the R&D sector. In the end we managed to tie up with biggest among them! (Intas)

I: Being involved in the production what would you say to the current generation who are being a little pessimistic about the production section?

K: I always find it as an opportunity. Innovation will happen only when a skilled person gets involved in production. He may try find out an engineering solution to speed up the process or may be reduce the efforts which will lead to introduction of something new and better.

I: What would be your message to the future pharmacists who somehow think that pharmacy is getting a little hopeless these days?

F: I think its a great field and a versatile subject too. Actually the challenge is not whether its a good subject or not but its that you have to think out of the box then only you will be able to explore its versatility.

K: I personally believe it has a huge scope. Whatever section of pharmaceutical science you pick up there is a role to play everywhere whether it is in industry, market, quality assurance, manufacturing or formulation development. But yes the need will be your sincerity and adrent attitude.

I: Any message you want to convey to the students?

K: I would like to say three things – Learn from past, live in present with the eye in future. Keep that attitude in life!

We convey our special thanks to  Dr. Mamta Shah ( Head, Department of Pharmacognosy) for arranging the interview.

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Interviewers: Tvisha Shah, Ankita Yawalkar and Vijaykumar Bhavsar

Edited by : Dr Radhika Pandya, Tvisha Shah and Amisha Nehru

Photography credit : Yash Bhavsar

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