Stelerix Web Blog Knowledge at your Fingertips

15Feb/110

KOL Engagement and Alignment.

Here's a quick excerpt from our Special Comprehensive Country Report, India. It's something we've seen addressed again and again in our follow-up interviews.  I've also thrown in a YouTube interview with Tushar Barad who talks about some of the intricacies of engaging with KOLs.

The updated report will be exclusively available for free through our great friends over at pharmaphorum. So you better get registered!

"Respondents identified active engagement of local Key Opinion Leaders as the most effective means to understand their needs. Further, this strategy provides accurate insight into actual affordability as demonstrated by purchasing power and cost of living, in addition to possible commercial strategies and their respective likelihoods. However, our research also suggested that organizations as a whole have been slow to actively engage end-users. Patience and value on the long term was also a key trend among respondents. It was evident from our results that success in India favors ongoing and long-term relationships that grow and evolve over time. While short-term profit can be made, it is clear that the initial time investment and requisite patience were rewarded many times over when focus was placed on the longer term.  A further benefit of continuous investment in “relationship capital” is the evolution of mutually business partnerships. Organizations who establish themselves effectively in India can often leverage their presence to reach other fast-growing markets in the South-Asian and Asia-Pacific region. Our experts agree that to be effective into 2020 and beyond, market leaders must invest proactively in nascent relationships, given the propensity for longer cycle time in such business partnerships. Opportunity to cut costs and drive access will exist for those who look to partner and aid, rather than exploit."

Posted by Jeff

Oh yeah, the full report will also be available for download here, but this week only!!

28Jan/110

Value-Added Generics

I appreciate your patience in bearing with me in the last few weeks. As you undoubtedly know, I've been busy populating the library section of the main site. I am making a lot of progress, and there is even more in the pipeline.

One of the challenges has been ensuring high-quality audio. Much to my initial dismay, the sound-quality suffered on the first few recordings. For enduring this, I am grateful. After much experimentation I have found a methodology for getting things online relatively quickly and at high-fidelity.

I'm also picking out parts that I thought were of particular value. Here's a clip from Atul Sharma, talking about the importance of innovation in value-added generics.

Posted by Jeff

25Jan/110

Patient Retention and Recruitment

I was lucky enough to catch up with Melynda Geurts, Chief Operating Officer at D. Anderson & Company (DAC). As a leading service provider, the DAC team leverages clinical trial expertise, creative acumen and site management excellence to produce measurable results.

DAC is scheduled to be appearing at a couple of upcoming conferences, so I kept it brief and honed in on the critical things to remember, in terms of effective clinical outsourcing and patient recruitment strategies, like, why it's worth remembering in the first place.

13Jan/110

Call for Questions!

I have a number of interviews coming up.  I am really excited to have the opportunity to speak to experienced stakeholders. It is bound to be one engaging and informing discussion after another.

Get ready for a flood of quality content in the latter half of next week.

I have done my best to think up intriguing questions. They are all based on direct input from our preliminary research and direct industry stakeholder input, like this. But I'm still new to the interview game. So if you have ideas or are burning for answers, please send them to us!

If you could pick the brain of an emerging market expert, what would you ask?

If you need some inspiration, here are some tried and true questions (and answers).

Alok Kumar, Part 1, Part 2 (FREE On-Demand webinar)

Vivek Varma - Contract Manufacturing

Posted by Jeff

7Jan/110

Exclusive Interview: Dr. Vivek Varma on Sales and Success in Contract Manufacturing

This feature is permanently archived in our library, available here. For more exclusive interviews, added regularly to the blog please check back, or browse the library.

Dr. Vivek Varma, Joint Director of Indian-based Premier Medical Corporation, which manufactures rapid response diagnostic kits, is responsible for increasing sales by 300% in the last Indian fiscal year. Read on to learn how:

Jeff Waite: It's great to finally have you here, Dr. Varma. In all of our conversations, you have presented yourself with the utmost modesty. And yet in the last year you’ve increased sales turnover by more than 300%. Can you comment on the role modesty and grace play in your ongoing success?

Dr. Varma: I am just the face of the team who managed this increased turnover. It would not be appropriate to take credit for their efforts in this achievement. My only role has been to ensure that they are kept motivated at all times. I recognize the supposedly small, but very effective, suggestions given by all the members of the team (including those at the shop floor level) and give due credit to them.

Jeff Waite: Another thing that we’ve seen you do throughout a variety of past roles, is continue to improve incrementally. Each year you seem to be able to increase sales and productivity by a significant percentage. Is there a specific attitude or mindset you focus on to keep moving forward?

Dr. Varma: As mentioned earlier, I do not hesitate in acknowledging in public the originator of any idea. This helps me get more out of them. Insecurity and lack of self-confidence at higher levels are the major factors that keeps the productivity low.

Jeff Waite: Increasingly, team work and group collaboration are becoming the norm. In all of your roles so far, you have had a lot of success when it comes to working effectively and leading diverse teams, especially sales people. You’ve obviously and intelligently made it a priority, why is this so important to you?

Dr. Varma: As I have had the opportunity to work my way upwards towards higher responsibilities, it has helped me hone my attitude towards the sales team members. I always interact with each member of the Sales team at the individual level and have always looked at improving his / her career by giving suggestions. This has had an significant effect in their approach towards me and helped create a personal rapport. I always believed that “They are not working for me, but I am working to help them achieve their goals”

Jeff Waite: Given your broad experience setting up contract research and manufacturing facilities and organizations, is there a particular accomplishment or project on which you’ve worked that you are the most proud of, and why?

Dr. Varma: In my present company, we had a major challenge in improving the productivity of the packaging department. We were in the process of installing a machine that would improve the productivity dramatically. Initially, there was a lot of opposition from the shopfloor about the performance of the machine. In fact, people refused to work on the machine and at times deliberately misused the same. Once, there was a tremendous pressure on the team and they were unable to cope up with the timelines. At that point, I got the team together and explained to them about the benefits of the machine and how it would help them achieve the deadlines effortlessly. Though they took it up reluctantly, I stood with them and constantly motivated them to use the machine. After a few days, they realized that the machine was indeed helping them achieve deadlines easily. This realization made them more enthusiastic about the machine. In fact, when we were planning to add another machine, the team came up with very interesting recommendations that the productivity went up even further.

This is one accomplishment that I am very proud of. One of the major reasons is the fact that I could manage to convince them to use the machine for improving productivity. The team actually comprises of uneducated, but extremely intelligent people.The icing was the enthusiastic recommendations that we received for the subsequent machines.

Jeff Waite: A lot of our audience are students. Today, students in faculties from biomedical engineering, to commerce and economics, have more options than ever before. The most successful long-term commitments require a degree of passion, or vested enthusiasm to keep us going. What aspect of your work gets you the most excited? How are you planning to incorporate this going forward?

Dr. Varma: Yes. The options are more now than before. But, the students are generally unaware of them due to the limited exposure that they have during their studies. They are usually frustrated during the initial years of their career. This causes a lot of job changes as they are in the process of understanding their passion for a particular career. The most successful long-term commitments are achieved after about 3 years in a particular direction and the perceived achievements therein. Recognition of their contributions in the growth of the company adds to their long-term commitment. Thus, engaging them in situations that would enable me to understand their passion keeps me very excited. I have been using this strategy quite successfully over the years and am yet to find a better option.

Jeff Waite: The world is obviously becoming a smaller and more connected place. Given your vast international experience, can you briefly explain why global cooperation and collaboration is now more important than ever?

Dr. Varma: As the world is getting connected due to fast changing technologies, the ability to work in teams has just become globalised. I believe in working towards using strengths and complementing weaknesses. In order to use such a strategy, it is imperative that companies collaborate so that the entire team benefits on the outcome.

Jeff Waite: We have done some very comprehensive primary research over the last few months, reaching out to international stakeholders looking to learn more about India. Increasingly, people are interested in contract manufacturing, but worried about finding a good partner. Can you please explain a few of the things companies looking to partner with contract manufacturing providers in India should consider when they are trying to establish a good fit?

Dr. Varma: Contract manufacturing companies in India are being setup by highly educated individuals with a passion to deliver the best product. In order to achieve quality, quality labour is also essential. Usually, companies look towards India for contract manufacturing only to reduce costs as it is implied that the labour is relatively cheap.

While looking at partners for contract manufacturing in India, the key points that could be considered are:

Management Team passion

Quality processes and consciousness

Ability to contribute towards reducing costs

Flexibility in operations

Operational location

[Editor's Note: We will be following-up on these specific aspects in more detail, with related experts].

Jeff Waite: Like a lot of people, our listeners are concerned with finding the best information or knowledge. Nowadays more than ever, the problem seems to be sorting through the absolutely massive haystack to find a proverbial needle. How do you prefer to stay up to date on important evolving issues?

Dr. Varma: Reading up on trends and looking at opportunities to use the Technology effectively and efficiently in the area of operations. The best way is to first focus on a particular area that needs improvement and then look for Technology that can help you achieve the same.

Jeff Waite: It was an absolute pleasure to have spoken with you today, Dr. Varma. Thanks.

6Jan/110

Merck Moves In

It is always encouraging to see the big players making aggressive moves into a market. The announcement then, that Merck KgaA is setting up an Indian technology centre to provide contract development services for a large range of applications, is exactly what we like to hear. That it's part of an ongoing initiative is even more exciting.

Some of Merck's other innovative initiatives, such as the one below, present very interesting soft opportunities that will also benefit rising executives in emerging markets. And not just in job-specific technical roles. Access to the seasoned experiences of others is something that we predicate our own business on (see: interviews with experts) and another hidden benefit of globalization.

Posted by Jeff

UPDATE: Brought to our attention by our good friend, @andrealmarch is this fantastic Globe and Mail article: Ten tips for success in India

5Jan/110

Clinical Trial Site Selection

It's interesting to see talk about the shifting preference of clinical trial sites. While India has compelling advantages, other opportunities are evidently making themselves apparent. An understanding of the driving issues behind this development is incredibly helpful, and described effectively in the linked article.

The idea is of particular interest to us and our survey respondents. Our primary research has shown time and again that pharma executives have limited resources and will be stringent in deploying them, such that only the most advantageous new markets benefit.

Further developments of this nascent trend are something that we will keep a close ear to the ground for...

21Dec/100

New Year, Old Story.

It's not a new problem. Rather, a tired old refrain. It's no surprise then, that the  EMA predicts only the most modest of increases when it comes to number of new drug applications.  So another year goes by, and big pharma fails to boost it's R&D productivity. The cost to submit new drugs continues to increase, meanwhile.

Our own primary research identified this as an obvious concern. But we also found there is lots that pharma is doing to  boost revenues, outside of developing, manufacturing, and distributing new drugs. India and other emerging markets present an incredibly exciting opportunity to leverage existing products and increase brand awareness in high-growth areas. Partnerships and in-licensing agreements allow for increased reach. But problems about effective partner selection and management remain.

What's more, as the cost of doing business continues to rise, leading organizations will adapt and find flexible solutions to lower the cost of sale, our survey respondents concurred. Clinical trial outsourcing, contract manufacturing, and business process outsourcing are all being utilized by top industry contenders to keep padded, to the utmost extent.

Additional commentary is available here.

Posted by Jeff

20Dec/100

Money Talks.

Another day full of excitement, for those of us interested in fast-growing, emerging pharmaceutical markets. To get to the thick of the action, it's always best to follow the money...

And Gujarat seems to be where it's headed! Not satisfied with the whopping $500 million invested during 2009, M. Sahu, Gujarat's principal secretary for industries declared this year's summit would draw in at least $1 billion based on the interest so far. Over 20,000 delegates are expected to attend this veritable hotbed of investment activity.

In our follow-up phone interview with Alok Kumar, (to be posted tomorrow) we talked about how India can be used as a hub to reach other emerging markets. The recent endorsement of India from Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov is thus rather encouraging.

Posted by Jeff

20Dec/100

Seasonal Summaries

If you were to ask us, one of the most under-rated aspects of the holidays are the magnitude of top-ten lists. The highlights of unbelievable moments that have occurred, the year prior. This is along the same theme, and worth checking out! A big tip of the hat to outsource-pharma.com

PwC has consistently produced easily accessible top quality reports on emerging pharmaceutical markets, in particular. So their recently released list of  "Top Health Industry Issues of 2011" has us very excited.

Posted by Jeff

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