Dr. Sunil Kumar Panda: Leading A Passion For Developing Better Medicine

Dr. Sunil Kumar Panda: Leading A Passion For Developing Better Medicine

Dr. Sunil Kumar Panda, Senior Director & Head of China R&D

Dr. Sunil Kumar Panda

Senior Director & Head of China R&D

A Doctorate in Novel Dosage form for cardiovascular diseases, Dr. Sunil Kumar Panda, Senior Director & Head of China R&D has a rich 16 years of work experience in the formulation of stable and bioequivalent dosage forms for the US & EU, Japan & China regulatory market. His first breakthrough in the pharmaceutical research industry was as a Research Associate in the Formulation Research Laboratory of  Zydus Cadila Healthcare, Ahmedabad. Over the years, Sunil has brought laurels to many leading pharmaceutical companies in India such as Cadila Pharmaceuticals, Jubilant Research Lab, Dr. Reddy’s Lab, and Unichem Research Lab in various leadership positions.

His astounding knowledge and leadership ability have brought him to China to lead the research team of Menovo pharmaceuticals. He has developed multiple products for the US, Europe, Japan, and China market and have experience in developing complex technology platform such as MUPS, Nanoparticles, Extrude Spheronizer, BCS Class IV drugs, Delayed Release, Sustained Release, Liquid-filled Capsule, Multilayer, Matrix-based, and Erosion-based formulations. His passion for science and research drives him constantly to stay motivated and conduct research for the welfare of society. Sunil is also an author of published books and has one US patent approved and four Chinese patents and 20 international research articles published in high-impact journals. Let’s hear it from him.

What has been your inspiration to venture into the pharmaceutical sector?

I have always been keen to pursue Management at premier institutions and settle down in the Product Management team of Pharmaceutical Companies. So, in the final year of my bachelor’s degree, I started visiting top pharmaceutical industries which later motivated me to stay and excel in this professional domain. However, I  changed my mind; I completed my Master’s in Pharmaceutical Technology during which I successfully conducted a one-year research  internship at Alembic Research Lab, Vadodara, Gujarat. The atmosphere and the intellectual people in the research lab influenced me to begin my professional carrier in the Pharmaceutical Research industry.

Later, I also enrolled myself in an executive management program from IIM Trichy and Project Management Course from IIT Delhi to fulfill my quest for exposure to management and shape myself into an efficient leader. This management degree enabled me to understand management better and was an added benefit to my research skills. Besides professionally, at the personal level my parents, wife, and daughter had always been a constant support to keep me motivated and inspire in my journey.

How would you define Menovo as an organization and its position in the market?

Menovo Pharmaceuticals is a Shanghai stock exchange enlisted public company. It has a wellfledged research laboratory developing products for China, the US, and Europe with a strategic collaboration with KrKa, Slovenia. The company is a comprehensive international pharmaceutical science and technology manufacturing enterprise specializing in the R&D, production, and sales of characteristic APIs and finished drugs. It is one of the enterprises exporting the most varieties of European characteristic APIs in China and has been awarded the Top 20 CDMO Enterprises in China for many consecutive years.

Tell us about the technology framework built in your organization that helps to meet the requirements of the evolving pharmaceutical market.

We are developing products with high-end technology platforms such as Osmotic laser drilled tablets; Hot melt Extrusion, Roller compaction, MUPS, Liquisolid, and Nanotechnology. Most of the products are patent non-infringing and novel. Several intellectual patents have been granted by the Chinese government for the technology. The high-end technology platform will enable the company to have a distinct position in the cutthroat competition in the evolving pharmaceutical market.

Could you tell us about your leadership approach? What are the guidelines or methodologies you follow to lead your team?

I believe, the key to successful leadership is influence, not authority; leadership to me is not about titles, positions, or work hours; it’s about action and good relationships. I have a strong resource integration and leadership collaboration ability, which helps me to cultivate the growth of subordinates and achieve performance together. I focus on communicating and coordinating the preparation of technology from smallscale to pilot-scale, scale-up, and process verification. As the Head of R&D for China, I follow up on domestic and foreign drug research and development policies, regulations, and technical requirements, adjust research plans promptly according to regulations and new situations, and improve the company's research and development system.

The key to successful leadership Is influence, not authority; Leadership to me is not about Titles, positions, or work hours; It’s about action and good Relationships

What are the changes in market behavior that you anticipate and what are the opportunities that you foresee?

The market is becoming more competitive with fewer profit margins. Complex technology is overtaking the conventional formulation. I do have experience with complex technology and in developing products with high-end technology barriers, hence I see it as an opportunity to go through and develop good intellectual as well as professional opportunities in the coming time.

Dr. Sunil Kumar Panda, Senior Director & Head of China R&D, Menovo Pharmaceuticals

Having a Master’s in pharmaceuticals from Odisha, a Project Management degree from IIT Delhi, a PGCBM degree from IIM Tiruchirappalli, and a Ph.D. from Berhampur University Odisha, Sunil is a Pharmaceutical Formulation expert in developing products globally.

•Hobbies: Badminton & Swimming

•Favorite Cuisine: Different delicacies of Odisha

•Favorite Book: Bhagavad Gita

•Favorite Travel Destination: Puri & Puducherry

•Awards & Recognition: Nominated as a Foreign Expert by the Chinese Government



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