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Business Development – What kind of products to look for?
This is an interesting area. And a critically important one.
BD persons may have a different view as compared to others in the organization. As they travel to various exhibitions and forums, they see many innovative and novel products. Some of these are really tempting. And there may be instances where BD may try to push some product(s) which they find very appealing, but which may not be compatible with the organizational needs or capabilities. It is therefore relevant to look at this question in some detail.
May be defined more specifically as portfolio needs. The organization may be looking for one or more or all of the following.
- Portfolio Expansion. The organization may be looking to expand into new therapeutic segments, hence the need for portfolio expansion.
The changing regulatory requirements have determined that various categories of products must be manufactured in dedicated areas. It is neither viable nor advisable for organizations to build all kinds of dedicated areas. It is better to outsource or in-license such products from elsewhere. Examples would be anti-cancer drugs, hormones, certain antibiotics etc.
Another current area of expansion that is being ventured into by many organizations is Nutraceutical products. Pharmaceutical manufacturers cannot manufacture these products in the same plant. Either they should build a separate, dedicated facility or should get the products from outside sources. This is an area of heightened activity at this time. The largest number of contract manufacturers are available in this category at present and they are present all over the globe. You can bring Nutraceutical products from USA, Europe, Japan, China, and a number of other countries, including your own.
Medical science is developing fast and entirely new classes of therapeutic agents are being discovered and employed for treatment. Monoclonal Antibodies (MABs) are current hot candidates for targeted therapies. These are highly specialized products and can only be manufactured in specially designed facilities. These facilities are located entirely in the developed countries. Products must be contracted for marketing from these sources.
Another high activity area is Biological products and Biosimilars. From such well known and commonly used products like Erythropoietin, Albumin, Interferon to Interleukins, hemophilia factors, MABs and others. These are also specialized products which are manufactured in custom-built facilities. Other organizations have to get these products on contract.
Yet another high activity area is new, innovative Drug Delivery systems. Ordinary tablets are being converted into Quick-dissolving Flash tablets, Orally Dispersible Films and Orally Dispersible lyophilized tablets. You can sell the same Piroxicam or Diclofenac in a changed drug delivery system at a much higher price (and profitability). PEGylating of interferon and several other drugs falls in this category. Liposomal drugs are same old drugs but coated with liposomes for enhanced absorption. Liposomal Iron is already available in the local market. Some liposomal anti-cancer drugs have been around for quite some time.
Portfolio expansion may take the organization to new segments and/or open new business opportunities.
- Portfolio Enrichment. Is adding more products in the same therapeutic segments where the organization is present already. A very appropriate example may run like this.
Let us say a company is already selling Levofloxacin and Moxifloxacin and Montelukast and concentrating on Pulmonology. They feel they have good access and standing in this clinical area and have been able to build a decent customer base. This organization may consider bringing from somewhere Aerosol inhalers containing bronchodilators/ steroids/ or both. Or they could contract for Dry Powder Inhalers (DPIs). Nebules of bronchodilators or steroids are also a good add-on. On the higher technology side, it could be some lung-surfactant product, or something to retard fibrosis development, so on and so forth.
Similar exercise can be done with other therapeutic areas.
Portfolio Enrichment is straightforward, simpler kind of activity. Portfolio Expansion needs much more analysis, discussion and decision-making.
To be Continued……