Kallam Anji Reddy, a doyen of Indian pharma industry and founder of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL), passed away in Hyderabad on Friday afternoon. He was 73.
Reddy, who is survived by his wife Swarajyam, son Satish Reddy and daughter Anuradha, was undergoing treatment for lung-related ailment for sometime now.
A researcher and one of the pioneers of the local generic drug industry, Dr Reddy was honoured with the Padma Bhushan award in 2011 for his contribution to the pharma sector.
Born in a turmeric farmer’s family in Tadepalli of Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh, Reddy graduated from Bombay University in BSc (Tech) with specialisation in pharmaceutical science and fine chemicals and obtained his PhD in chemical engineering from National Chemical Laboratory, Pune. He started his career with the then public sector drugs major Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (IDPL).
After working with IDPL till 1975, Reddy founded Uniloids focusing on research and then Standard Organics Ltd, another pharma firm. In 1984, he founded Dr Reddy’s Labs with a focus on exports market.
Though being a copy-cat exporter in the initial days, DRL stepped up focus on research and development by taking up drug discovery initiative in 1993.
He led the company to a global scale by securing several patents worldwide and out-licensing the discoveries to global majors for co-development.
Reddy also set up Institute of Life Sciences in Hyderabad, a public-private partnership with the Andhra Pradesh government for carrying out cutting- edge research in life sciences.
For sometime now, Reddy was keeping off the day-to-day activities of the company though he remained the chairman.
The company is being managed by Satish Reddy, who is MD and COO and son-in-law G V Prasad the vice-chairman and CEO of Dr Reddy’s Labs.
Apart from his business contribution, Reddy was also a philanthropist who
institutionalised several corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Naandi Foundation, a public charitable trust which he set up in 1998, is one of the largest safe drinking water providers. It also provides mid-day meals to 1.3 million government school children and farmers. Reddy had also taken up the cause of safe motherhood and new born care. He founded the Neonatal Intensive Care and Emergencies, or NICE Foundation, which does a large-scale community outreach programme.