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Ranjeet Ajmani
Ranjeet  Ajmani

Ranjeet Ajmani

PlasmaGen BioSciences Pvt Ltd, Bangalore

PlasmaGen BioSciences Pvt Ltd.

Brief description about me
I was born and raised in Indore in Madhya Pradesh; a town in the heart of India, famous for its hospitality and variety of food, you get here. I really do not recall, when I started thinking at my own and started journey of my life. Till masters, I studied in Indore and went to IIT, Mumbai for my Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering. It was the best time of my life; full of learning, excitement and joy. Then time came to leave very happy and comfortable IIT campus, as I got the offer to work at National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA. I came back to India in 2000 and started as Faculty at PGI, Chandigarh and finally into corporate world.

I am working in biopharmaceutical industry with focus on blood plasma products. This is a very exciting and challenging field. This project is technically very challenging and socially very relevant project, as it deals with human blood and its use in saving the lives of others. It is a truly bond of blood. Since it deals with blood, it is a very sensitive subject. To deal with such a project, one needs to have very deep understanding of human behavior and its complexity.

There is a huge gap between demand and supply of blood and its products in India. Further to that only 30 % of donated blood gets componentized, it further adds to shortage of blood components. The plasma, which is one of the components of blood, is a rich and only source of many life saving medicines. Unfortunately, India is a largely import dependent for these products and therefore availability of safe blood/plasma products at affordable price is a huge challenge and public health concern. There is so much to do, as India is way behind compared to other developing countries. My efforts have been to consolidate position of India in this field and work towards achieving self-sufficiency for these important life saving medicines, which are used in the treatment of Hemophilia, PID, and many other rare genetic diseases. Many patients loose the battle of life just because of non-availability of safe blood and its products. It is a very exciting, interesting and at times consuming journey.

Currently am working at PlasmaGen BioSciences, based at Bangalore. I also work with Govt of India on developing Plasma Protein Therapy program for India.

My work takes most of my time but cooking is real passion for me. I enjoy cooking. I equally enjoyed reading all sorts of magazines/books, watching films and traveling. Spending time with family and growing kids is a really very fulfilling experience.
Couple of years from now
Honestly speaking, on professional front I do not see any major change happening in my life. The kind of work in which I am involved in, has a very long gestation period like elephantine pregnancy. I only wish that I am able to contribute something substantially in the field of blood plasma products by facilitating changes in the regulatory framework in India, as this is a key change required.
My achievements
It is highly subjective and difficult. On professional front, my biggest achievement has been to set up entire technical operations and business model of contract plasma fractionation in India single handedly. This was being done for the first time in India and for  entire SAARC region and there was no model available for a country like India.  We could not have adopted western models, as socio-economic conditions of India and SAARC arevery different than developed world and those models would have been totally unsustainable. Therefor it was quite a challenging task to set up a team and work towards developing a model, which is technically and financially viable and then to convince regulatory authorities of Govt of India to give permission to execute such a project. It was a quite an uphill task but with the help of young dedicated team, we could do it and this model is still  beingpracticed in India and SAARC region.

On personal front, I feel connecting to many many people around the world has been my biggest achievement.  I enjoy talking/communicating to them. Emotionally it is a very satisfying experience.
Important lesson learned
• Be open and mentally very alert.
• Stick to your guns and face every challenge of your life with full conviction
• Whatever work you decide to do, enjoy it completely and give your 100 %
• Be consistent and have patience, do not believe in miracle happening overnight.
• Commitment to work should not super pass, your respect for truth and transparency
• Respect everyone in your life
• Do not hold grudges against any one
• Crush your ego and work with everyone
• Strike a good balance between work and personal life
My family background
I come from a business family. My parent moved to Indore from Lahore with practically nothing and started their lives from scratch in 1947. Though my father was into business but he was very keen that we all should study well and get into professional jobs. My mother was home maker and a great source of inspiration. Unfortunately, I lost both of them in very quick succession and greatly miss them, as I could not spend enough time with them. My brothers and sisters are my sounding board. My wife and kids are biggest strength and reason for me to be happy.
Influenced by
I was most influenced by teachers at IIT, Mumbai. First time, I ever i realized the meaning of liberal life and its value. I was allowed to follow my heart and take all important decisions of my life. I was greatly encouraged to participate in various activities of campus..It is/was very rare to talk to a teacher on equal level and express your view very openly. I could speak my mind and argue on any matter, which I felt was very important. It helped me to realize my potential and strength.
Qualities needed to become a successful leader
In my view every leader has his/her style of management, which depends upon the kind of business and work environment you are in. But if one has to generalize it, I would think one of the most important qualities a leader should have is “to be above fear and favor”. Being passionate, transparent and accessible to everyone make work environment healthier and productive. His/her integrity and subject knowledge also play a very important role in accepting him/her as a leader. I think, a leader must understand the fact that he/she is dealing with human beings and their needs. So sensitivity to various aspects of of human life is very critical, and more so for India, as India is highly heterogeneous and multicultural society. Most importantly he should truly motivate and engage people
More about myself
I would like to say that it is very important to remain happy at heart and each one of us should try to understand the deeper meaning of life. Good and bad time are a part of everyone’s life but what matters is, how gracefully you handle it.

My schooling was in a very traditional /conventional school, which was very high on discipline and extra-curricular activities. During my school time, my favorite activity was scouting. I truly enjoyed camping, hiking and trekking.  Along with this came, value of your role  as an individual in the society. Doing a good deed every single day was drilled in my mind and I still try to follow it. The motto of Boy Scout movement being “resourceful” comes to rescue me very often.  I genuinely feel that every child must undergo such training during school time.  It helps you to grow stronger and look at life in much different light.  During my college time, I started working in social sector, especially with youth. It was an eye opening experience.  First time ever, I was exposed to real world of youth and their dilemmas, ambitions and potential. I made uncountable number of friends and they filled my life with love and affection.

Joining, IIT was one of the most important decisions of my life.  It completely changed my life and viewpoint about matters of   intellectual world.  More than academics, I learned so much how to deal with self and around you. I was very active in campus life and served as literary secretary, canteen secretary and member of anti-ragging team and this gave me a chance to explore my capabilities and weakness.It was my journey to self-exploration and I was very lucky that I could find very good friends, teachers/mentors.

Life at NIH was totally different then what I had experienced so far. My journey/stay at IIT was time of outward, while at NIH it inward, where I started thinking more and more about Indian life and its perspective. Finally, I decided to come back to India and joined my most favorite profession; teaching- faculty at PGI, Chandigarh. Though it looked very good choice but very soon, I realized my weakness that I am not cutout to work for any Govt job. I need space to grow and experiment, which unfortunately was not available at PGI, therefore I decided to quit and take plunge in corporate life. This brought me to Ahmedabad. Started working in a very different and entirely new area of healthcare system; blood plasma products.  This assignment gave me chance to travel very extensively and meet people with extra-ordinary caliber and commitment. It definitely left huge impact on me.  I was very happy with my work and life in Ahmedabad. I was very lucky to have a wonderful team. As things were progressing, there came a professional volcano, and a real ethical dilemma to deal with. I realized that how some time so called commitment to project/work can very conveniently bypass the respect for truth and honesty and I decided to leave my job of 10 years, which I was enjoying thoroughly and more importantly, I gave best time of my life too. I consider this as one of the biggest learning of life in professional world, with a very big price tag.  It broke many myths and taboos of professional world. I feel happy that I spent good 10 years, what I wanted to do and did not make any compromise, which otherwise would have pricked my conscious.
Initiative to develop a country
I would like to say that why only professional, every citizen of India could immensely contribute in the success story of India. In fact we have many success stories of India, where people were not conventionally educatedbut they changed the landscape of India and immensely contributed in the development of the nation. India is a country of contrast, verydifferent than most of the countries. Its social, political and economic dynamics is highly complex and requires very innovative thinking. The models ofdevelopment, which have been evolved and used in west, may not work and therefore intellectual/professionals have very important role to play in evolving various models, which are sustainable in local conditions.

I believe that people who are/were lucky enough to get good education, see the world and understand complex socio-political dynamic scan immensely contribute to the developmental agenda of India. India needs to undergo major transformation on account of social change. Indian society at large is still very feudal and hierarchical This is one of the major stumbling blocks in the process of development.

First and foremost, I feel each should professional should do, is to change himself /herself and realize how individually he/she can contribute, may be in a very small or big way. Indian societies must change in terms of work ethics/culture, respect for women, dignity of every individual, and respect for work. Breaking feudal system and creating a very open transparent and accountable system is the need of the hour. Professionals can truly motivate new generation, understand/ appreciate new thoughts/ideas. Making use of their experience and guiding young generation to realize their potential and their role in the development of India is very important step in this process. At the same time. Young professionals should look at their role in much larger perspective.
My strongest skill

  • Subject knowledge

  • Communication

  • Networking –Human Resource

  • Straight forwardness

  • Clear goal setting

  • Patience

  • Respect for others view point
My role model
To be honest, I have really not come across anyone, to whom I can say that I follow him/her as a role model. I do not know how they would reacted/acted in my situations; therefore I would like to say that many people impress me in my life for their contribution in different fields.

My visit to Robin Island, Cape Town was very moving experience, where Nelson Mandela had spent 27 years. His conviction and inner strength was simply exemplary. His approach towards to resolving conflict was unique. He was such a simple man with utmost respect for human values. He was capable of changing the course of history and write a new chapter of love, compassion and dedication.
Thoughts on Education system of our country
Though objectively speaking Indian schooling system is fairly robust and good “academically” but it is fairly rigid. In the last 2 decades it has been terribly commercialized, because public schools have lost their credibility and people have no option other than to send their children to private schools. One of the major issues with Indian schooling system is our policies and regulations.  Govt has really disappointed, despite its focus on public education in its 12thfive-year plan.  Govt has not paid enough attention to soul of the school, which is a teacher. He/she is the most ignored and marginalized factor in the entire debate.  There is a hardly any incentive for him/herto work and align his thinking with national goal/objectives. Most of these teachers are  there by chance not by choice. With this as an entry point, how one can expect  any contribution towards the larger goal of India ?.

With this comes the issue like infrastructure, safe drinking water, approach to school, black board etc. Public schools are far from their objective. That is where private schools have come-up and changed the scenario of school education.  In all fairness these schools have contributed immensely in brining up the level of education in India but these schools are expensive and much beyond reach of a common citizen. Many of these schools are very fancy with hardly any attention to true education. They pay more attention to infrastructure, uniform and so on rather than its core need; providing good education, civic values and preparing kids for their contribution in the development of India. There is great a need to completely revamp educational system keeping in mind what kind /caliber of “Human Resource” is/would be required in time to come. Schooling is a very formative age of your life and its impressions are very dark. This is the time, we must inculcate value of national pride in young generation and this can come only via education.

  • Focus on public school and strengthen them; human resource wise and infrastructure wise.

  • Develop human resource in the field of education

  • Modernize the concepts of education using new technology and tools

  • Develop very strict guidelines for private educational institutes and implement

  • Make educational systemmore liberal and vocational
Ensuring success
Growing and evolving is a very dynamic multidimensional process. First and foremost important thing to grow is to do your best and learn from your own mistakes and others mistakes.

I read and attend various scientific and other relevant meetings to update myself. I also read various magazines/reports on advancements/changes healthcare industry is going through. I do interact with regulators of various countries to understand global perspective and how it is going to impact India in particular. I interact with my team on day-to-day basis so that I get fresh ideas/thoughts.
Important decision
Some of the important decisions, I have made;

  • Decided to enter a very new branchthen of biological sciences   “Biomedical Engineering” at IIT, Mumbai and it was a great experience.

  • Accepted fellowship of National Institutes of Health(NIH), USA over other prestigious fellowships and this was unique experience for me to work on clinical/technical side as well as management side.

  • Returning back to India, when US economy was doing well and many people thought, I have taken a wrong decision. I am very glad that I could take this decision and follow my heart.

  • Leaving PGI, Chandigarh, as I realized I am not cut out to work for Govt establishments, so why to hold on to something in which you are not able to see far.

  • Working for start-ups, full of challenges and a great opportunity to experiment your ideas/thoughts.

  • Choose to work in the area of biotechnology “Blood Plasma Products for India” .

  • Decided to leave my previous organization, where I have worked for 10 years as Chief Scientific Officer on the matter of principle
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