The Sami-Sabinsa Group is a global pioneer in health science and a leading producer of nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals, phytonutrients and specialty fine chemicals for the nutrition, pharmaceutical and food industries. Founder and Group Chairman of Sami-Sabinsa Group Dr. Muhammed Majeed spoke with Bridges.
Bridges: When you started the business, what was your vision?
Majeed: When I began my career in the pharmaceutical industry, I saw many opportunities to develop a business. With my educational background, my experience in North America and my research-driven approach, I made the decision to focus on the prevention of diseases through the use of natural products. This became my mission, and the business and our reputation are founded on this evolution.
The desire to support and enhance a person’s quality of life and reduce patients’ dependency on allopathic drugs led me to ayurveda, recognized as the oldest medicine in the world.
I established a research initiative which focused on developing innovative products based on ingredients used in ancient traditional systems. I presented our natural products to key markets, including America and Japan.
Over the last 25 years, we have secured 357 patents and have become one of the industry’s most innovative companies. Our target is 400 patents by the end of this year and this will pave the way for our continued growth. I have a firm belief that businesses within the health sector need to be founded on research and development in order to remain sustainable and serve future generations.
In which markets is the Sami-Sabinsa Group active today and in what ways are you contributing to the global community?
Our first overseas expansion was from North America to India in 1991. India became our research and development and manufacturing base before we expanded the business to Germany, Japan, South Korea, South America, Poland, Canada, United Arab Emirates, China, Australia and South Africa.
We pioneered the use of ayurveda around the world and today we are active across all key markets in order to be close to our clients and partners and better serve our growing customer base.
Global Business Expansion and Operations President Madhu Subramanian and our strong team deserve credit for the success of our global footprint. I remember Subramanian went to Frankfurt one morning and in the evening he called to say the company had been successfully registered in Germany.
Success in Japan
Our talented and highly localized teams have enabled us to build an internationally minded corporate culture across our organization.
The team in Japan is led by Sajimoto-san (Hideyuki Sajimoto) alongside our Japanese associates and Japan remains a hugely important market for us. We are very proud of our achievements in Japan and of our team’s ability to successfully popularize ayurvedic supplements and improve the lives of people across Japan.
Our people, our patents and our products and solutions enable us to keep growing. In terms of products, our Curcumin C3 Complex is the most powerful natural anti-inflammatory on the market today. BioPerine, a natural ingredient, significantly improves bioavailability and enhances the benefits of nutritive compounds.
We recently introduced Sabroxy to the Japanese market. This neuronal health ingredient helps improve brain function and memory and will undoubtedly play an important role in helping to address the challenges Japan is facing regarding the country’s aging population.
What are the goals of the Dr. Majeed Foundation?
Our priorities are to deliver educational programs to children and provide quality care and support to senior citizens. In many countries, children are still in desperate need of an education while senior citizens are often abandoned by their families and need to be cared for.
We have a moral duty to support all members of society and our corporate social responsibility initiatives at the Dr. Majeed Foundation contribute to and fund support organizations around the world.
Looking back on your career so far, which achievements are you most proud of?
I have been very fortunate. I am one of the few people of Indian ethnicity to be awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. The medal, which I received in 2004, is awarded to individuals who share their wealth of knowledge, compassion, talents and generosity with those less fortunate. In recognition of my role as a leading figure in the development of the nutraceuticals industry, I was inducted into the Hall of Legends at the Natural Products Expo, USA.
In Europe, I was awarded the NutraChampion award at the NutraIngredients Awards in recognition of my work on nutrition, and in India, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, the representative body of the country’s chambers of commerce, named me the “Father of Indian Nutraceuticals.”
For such a small team, our achievements, especially with the work we have undertaken regarding our patents, have been tremendous. We continue to focus on research and innovation and create products which relieve some of the problems we face as a society. We are recognized as innovators across our industry and we are driven by our philosophy: research, innovate, patent and market.
What message would you like to share with our readers as we celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations between India and Japan?
To our people, Indian businesses and our Japanese friends, remember to be caring towards your fellow citizens. Once corporations turn a profit, they should share their success with society.
We need to care more about the impact we have on the environment and take sustainability issues and solutions more seriously. With the changes we implement, our children and grandchildren will be able to continue our work within a more caring and compassionate world.