The case traces the journey of an Indian pharmaceutical firm, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, which had traditionally focused on generic drugs, into the area of discovery research. After India entered the global product patent system with the signing of the WTO TRIPs agreement in 1994, a number of Indian companies sought to move into discovery research. Glenmark invested heavily in developing its capabilities to undertake high-risk pharmaceutical research, and within three years, developed several promising molecules. The company signed out-licensing agreements for the molecules with international companies two agreements with U.S.-based Eli Lilly and Company and one each with U.S.-based Forest Laboratories and Germany-based Merck KGaA. The case takes students back to 2008, one of the most critical periods in the company's evolution. Three of Glenmark's four drug development projects have failed and the fourth is showing signs of failure. The company's stock price has plummeted and the management is under pressure from financial analysts to drop discovery research and focus on what they had always done best generics. The case puts participants in the chair of Glenmark's CEO Glenn Saldanha, who must, amid the building pressure and resource constraints on the company, develop a future plan of action for its R&D. To be or not to be the innovation company? That is the question before Saldanha, and the class.
The case deals with the issue of developing dynamic capabilities, particularly new competencies which are complex and risky. The key learning objectives of the case are: *To develop a framework for a technology (R&D) strategy under resource constraints within firm and from the institutional environment. *How firms develop dynamic capabilities as they shift their innovation frontiers. *To understand the critical role of leadership in creating a failure-tolerant culture conducive to innovation.