Chairman & CEO, Strand Life Sciences
Having set the trend of
establishing a biotechnology venture by a team of academicians in 2000,
Strand Life Sciences is taking Indian bioIT to the global level
Strand Life Sciences (formerly known as Strand Genomics), a premier
life science informatics innovation company, entered the US market for
the first time by entering into co-marketing agreement with
CombiMatrix, a US-based DNA arrays provider. After six years, Strand
Life Sciences opened a subsidiary in the US in 2010 to commercialize
its scientific intelligence solutions around the world. Strand
Scientific Intelligence is based in the San Francisco Bay area and
offers products and services based on its Avadis software platform for
biologists, chemists and toxicologists. It helps life and health
scientists to solve problems in their complex, data-rich work. The US
operation has five full time and five part time staff.
“Though we have not established ourselves with huge investments in the
overseas market but we do have a big presence there. With marketing
partners, distribution channels spread all over, the company has grown
to create an image of its own abroad,” says Dr Vijay Chandru, chairman,
co-founder and chief executive officer, Strand Life Sciences.
About the company’s global strategy, Dr Chandru says, “In
bioinformatics, we expanded our market by having various channel
partners. In the US and Western Europe, one needs to have big channel
partners to create a mark in the market. We collaborated with companies
like Agilent, thereby helping us develop the market there. In Japan,
China and Hong Kong, we needed local distributors to develop on the
strategies in the market. Support and backing from big companies gives
the push in the market.”
“In case of other consulting and research services, where we focused on
pharma and biotech companies, there was the need for high end modeling.
Specific research based on predictive science was needed. In these
cases, the physical presence of the company was not so significant,
main aspect was the business development, which could happen even when
company delegates visited India,” he added.
On having direct presence in the US, Dr Chandru says, “The US market
has been our prime focus as it is where our major share lies. Japan is
also one of the markets where we have good presence. In Europe, the
market is not concentrated at a single location. Hence in these
countries, presence in the form of distribution, sales and marketing
offices would only help.”
“In terms of growth, there has been steady market growth in North
America, West Europe and Japan. Genome sequencing, understanding of
toxicity of molecules in liver are the key areas where the company is
growing. In terms of investment, roughly about 25% of our expenditure
is spent on the maintenance of the subsidiary abroad, which is also
related to traveling and marketing,” Dr Chandru says.
In the niche bioinformatics market, brand building and maintenance of
the relationship with the strategic partners remain the key issues.
Sharing his thoughts on the challenges Dr Chandru says,“ We need to
have good brand building, maintaining visibility by attending lectures,
seminars, exhibitions abroad. We need to build good relations with
channel partners so that one could convince the customers. Maintenance
of the relations is also very important to develop in the market.
Market research and product research should be done in detail before
entering a market.”
About the future plans, he says, “We would expand our market in Europe
in the near future. Moreover, we want to expand more in India as we see
it as a growing market on par with the other global markets.”