The science of life is founded on beliefs and sprouts answers to the innumerable questions that our minds continue to pose. Disruptive inventions are built on the human ingenuity of inquisitive curiosity and expanding intelligence and imagination. The constant change will continue to disrupt traditional ways of thinking and what is accepted at the time. The only way forward is to adapt to shifting norms, adopt novel technologies, and gain profound insights by researching and developing pragmatic solutions to the problems that plague us.
Imbibing this core philosophy of “Innovating our future in excellence” in its working principles, the committed team at Ross Lifescience Limited—under the visionary guidance Dr Deepak Phal, Managing Director—is advancing with the goal of “Providing humanity with a better quality of life by furthering its exploration in the areas of crop care, pest management, safer food, and effective pharmaceuticals,” informs Dr Phal. Ross Lifescience Limited is currently one of the leading CROs (Contract Research Organisations) in India, serving both domestic and multinational companies. It is based in Pune, India.
Expanding through Explorations
Elaborating further, Dr Phal says that the journey that began in 2008 with four founder directors – Dr. Kedar Deobhankar, Mr. Nitin Ghatpande, Dr. Swati Vitonde, and Dr Phal himself, and just one employee has now turned into a success story of 14 years, growing to a team of over 130 professionals, with a lab environment of over 30,000 sq. ft. “We specialize in the development and evaluation of products utilized in pest management and household insecticides,” says Dr Phal.
Armed with conviction, passion, and confidence, the business grew exponentially, and in 2010, the team shifted into a larger premise in Wakad, on the outskirts of Pune. The company continued to grow and invest further in the business.
Accreditations such as the ISO certification (9001-2008) for the laboratory added credibility. New verticals got added on, resulting in RLS being bestowed the ISBA Entrepreneurship Excellence Award for Green Technologies. He shares, “We have OECD-GLP, CIBRC, DSIR, SENASA, and FSSAI certificates and have been accredited by ISO 17025:2017, ISO 22000, ISO 14001:2015, ISO 45001:2018, ISO 13485:2016, ISO 15189:2012, and APEDA.”
An organization is as strong as its people. RLS encourages the staff to pursue their post-grad and doctoral programmes by lending them ample flexibility to enable them to conduct their research in-house. With the largest number of PhDs at one location in the Agrochemical, Public health and household insecticide sector, the main laboratory in Pune, and an office in Mumbai, RLS is the first choice in research for the biggest names in the world. “Our USP is our team of dedicated and qualified staff, who can provide solutions to any problem that exists,” states Dr Phal.
Today, RLS caters to almost all of the world’s leading MNCs in Agrochemicals, Public health and household insecticides, spanning four continents. He adds, “Our global clientele list includes major multinationals and reputed companies from India, the USA, Europe, Asia, Japan, and elsewhere. The industries we serve are Agrochemicals, Household Insecticides, Public Health, Pharmaceuticals, FMCG, and Food.”
With a firm commitment to quality, RLS is gradually expanding into other verticals, and is the embodiment of its philosophy…
Excellence through Innovation
Ross Lifescience Limited provides a one-stop solution for different industries by offering services in Agriculture, Field trials, Food, Chemistry, Toxicology, Entomology, Microbiology, New Product Development, Contract Research Manufacturing Services and Packaging testing.
Dr Phal believes, “What makes us stand out is our attitude towards projects, which is a Never say no approach.” There are many CROs that do routine testing work. Still, RLS has created a niche for executing complex projects involving a lot of R&D in terms of trial-and-error methods leading to the successful development of innovative products. Timely delivery of such projects over the past so many years has helped Ross establish a strong bond of trust with its customers.
Dr Phal’s educational contour displays a strong academic background. He holds a Doctorate degree in Chemistry, a Master’s Program in Business Administration, and is a Paint Technology Diploma holder. Before getting engaged in Ross, he had 11 years of Industrial experience working in leading Indian and Multinational companies in New Product Development, Quality Assurance, Contract Manufacturing, Supply Chain Management, Vendor Development, and Commercialization of New Products.
Additionally, he has 14 years of business experience while working with Ross Lifescience Limited and handling multiple roles like leading the entire operations and business development of the Laboratory in Field trials, Chemistry, Toxicology, Entomology, Microbiology, New Product Development, and Packaging.
Disrupting through Distinction
Being an experienced leader, Dr Phal shares his opinion on how the adoption of modern technologies like AI and ML is impacting the Agrochemical CR solution/Services space and how is RLS adapting to the change. “According to my experience and reading about the advancements in technologies such as AI and ML, I believe that AI can be of great help for CROs as we can implement just-in-time client requirements and increase our productivity,” he says, adding that it can be used to identify clients’ requirements well in advance.
Laboratories based on the AI model would be the future for business-to-consumer (B2C) businesses, assisting in the scaling up of businesses using disruptive business models. Whereas, Machine learning (ML) can help in rapid CRO growth by monitoring regulatory policies that are bound to change and forecasting the affected business and opportunities due to change. This would help B-to-B businesses.
These technologies will be too costly for Indian CROs and will result in widening the gap between Indian and Multinational CROs.
“However, we at RLS have taken initiative in developing a disruptive business model for the growth of different verticals and in different sectors using AI & ML,” he conveys.
Succeeding through Inventions
When asked about the current industry scenario, what kind of challenges he faces, and how he drives RLPL to overcome them, Dr. Phal reveals that the first major challenge is clearly understanding the client’s requirement to deliver what is expected. However, according to the current scenario, operational resilience and flexibility are of utmost importance as they pose the biggest threat to any CRO. As the industry keeps growing, due to its fast-paced development, operational risk needs an equally speedy response and flexibility to improve efficiency.
He ensures, “For this scenario, we have a dedicated team that keeps abreast of the developments going on and what is going to be the way forward if there are any changes so that we are always ahead of time and prepared for any changes from external and internal sources.”
In his advice to budding entrepreneurs aspiring to venture into the agrochemical CR solutions and services space, he expresses, there have been many greats, who have said so much about business and life, but there are certain things that remain with you always, and one of them is ‘Believe in Yourself.’ As Henry Ford famously said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Believe that you can succeed, and you’ll find ways through different obstacles. If you don’t, you’ll just find excuses. No one is born an entrepreneur, so mistakes will happen. We learn more from making mistakes, so embrace and accept them, and this will help you move forward and stay competitive.
On envisioning scaling RLS operations and offerings in the future, Dr Phal shares that there are certain plans in the pipeline, “But to give you a gist, Ross Lifescience Limited plans to go from National to International by increasing its presence in new geographies and adding new service sectors,” he concludes.