Born: December 30, 1917
Achievement: Founder of pharmaceutical giant Ranbaxy
Laboratories Ltd; Awarded with Padma Shri
Bhai Mohan Singh can be called as the doyen of pharmaceutical industry
in India. He is the founder of pharmaceutical giant Ranbaxy Laboratories
Bhai Mohan Singh was born on December 30, 1917 in Rawalpindi district.
His father Bhai Gyan Chand was a Hindu and his mother Sunder Dai was a
Sikh. Bhai Mohan Singh began his business career in the construction
business during the Second World War. His firm bagged a contract to
build roads in the North East. After Partition, he left Rawalpindi and
settled down in New Delhi.
Bhai Mohan Singh started business as a moneylender. Ranbaxy was started by
his cousins Ranjit Singh and Gurbax Singh. Ranbaxy's name was a fusion
of Ranjit and Gurbax's names. They were distributors for A. Shionogi, a
Japanese pharmaceutical company manufacturing vitamins and anti-TB
drugs. When Ranbaxy defaulted on a loan, Bhai Mohan Singh bought the
company on August 1, 1952, for Rs 2.5 lakh.
Bhai Mohan Singh collaborated with Italian pharma company Lapetit Spa
and later on bought it. Bhai Mohan Singh made his mark in the
pharmaceuticals industry in the late 1960s when he launched his first
Calmpose was an imitation of Roche's valium. But Roche had not patented
it in India. In early 1970s when Indian adopted a regime of process
patents in the Bhai Mohan Singh quickly realised that one could make any
product in the world through reverse engineering. He established an R&D
facility at Mohali and launched one blockbuster pill after the other,
such as Roscillin, Cifran etc.
Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd went public in 1973. At this time Bhai Mohan
Singh introduced his eldest son Parvinder Singh in the company, who
later on became the company's Managing Director in 1982. Bhai Mohan
Singh also co-founded Max India with his youngest son, Analjit Singh.
With liberalisation differences arose between Bhai Mohan Singh and
Parvinder Singh over the expansion and professionalisation strategy of
Ranbaxy. Subsequently, in 1999 in a boardroom coup of sorts Bhai Mohan
Singh was forced to bow down and Parvider took over the company. This
broke Bhai Mohan Singh's spirit and he retired from active company
affairs. He died on March 27, 2006.
Bhai Mohan Singh was a former vice president of the New Delhi Municipal
Corporation (NDMC) and was awarded the Padma Shri for his contribution
in civic matters. For his contribution to the industrial development of
Punjab, the Punjab Goverment had named an Industrial Township near Ropar
after Bhai Mohan Singh.