"We are in the business of minimizing risks for biopharma companies"
Jaswinder Chadha, founder president and CEO, marketRx
marketRx assists the pharma and life sciences industry in improving the effectiveness of their sales and marketing initiatives. The company operates out of the US and India, with a growing presence in Europe and developing markets around the globe. In 2004 marketRx was recognized as the Rising Star in New Jersey's Deloitte & Touche Technology's Fast 50 program and in 2005 it was ranked 195th in the Inc. 500 list of "Fastest-Growing Private Companies" in the US. Jaswinder Chadha elaborates on the services rendered by the company and its future goals. Jaswinder was awarded the "Ernst & Young New Jersey Entrepreneur of the Year" award for emerging growth in 2004.
What made you venture into this novel arena and what is the positioning of marketRx?
I started my career working for a sales consultant company in New Jersey. I saw that the level of technology and analytics being leveraged in the pharma industry was very primitive as compared to the other industries, which have really done well in understanding the customer behavior and launching the brands. And I thought this provided a unique opportunity.
Essentially marketRx is in the area of providing commercialization services to the biopharmaceutical industry. Presently the industry spends almost the same amount on sales, marketing and commercialization of products as it does on drug discovery, development and manufacturing. We saw the need to bring better processes, analytics and technology to make the commercialization more effective and efficient. Thus the pharma companies hire marketRx to help them launch new brands, plan for their sales and marketing, do analysis for their current promotions and manage their existing portfolio.
As the cost in the industry has skyrocketed, there is increased competition in almost every business area - biopharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical devices. There are more products in every category than there have ever been. The industry is highly competitive and a company cannot afford to take huge risks without having market facts in place. marketRx is in the business of minimizing the risks and making available a world-class process, system, and ecosystem to launch a brand and nurture it to a successful and profitable lifecycle.
What is the range of services that marketRx offers?
marketRx is a pioneer in the remotely delivered knowledge services. We combine technology, analytics and market research to provide solutions that enable our customers in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry to improve effectiveness and optimize return of their sales and marketing initiatives.
In one way, we do not do any sales and marketing, we just make it better. So we do not sell or market anything for our customers but we improve the sales and marketing for the biopharmaceutical industry. We cover the areas of sales marketing as well as trade relations. On the sales front - it is planning for the sales forces; its size and structure; where should they be deployed, in which territories; which doctors or health care professional should the products be promoted to; how to track the product promotion and measure its impact; how to plan and disburse performance linked variable incentive compensation. So the area that we are talking about is managing the sales operations for the biopharma industry. On the product management and marketing side it deals with how brand managers go about shaping their brands; planning how to increase the market share; what should be the product positioning and messaging for their brand; which channels of promotion should they use; how to track performance of various promotional channels and finally how to make their marketing more effective and profitable for the company.
Are there any special offerings for biotech companies?
Biotech companies that are eager to survive are presently competing in an investment-constrained environment. As a result, the biggest challenge a biotech company faces today is to achieve scale without losing the benefits of being a small organization.
Emerging and fast growing companies today have a variety of options including licensing, co-promotion and even commercializing products themselves. Whether evaluating partners and licensing or considering building their own franchise, biotech and specialty pharma companies can now grow and maintain value by utilizing the commercialization outsourcing services from marketRx. We start with helping the company to evaluate all strategic options in light of the pipeline and long-term strategy.
How has been the response to marketRx in India?
We launched our services for the Indian companies only in 2005. So we are relatively new here but we have worked with Indian companies, helping them commercialize their products in the US. For the Indian pharma industry, which has been largely based in the back end or actually manufacturing more generic or bulk products, the Holy Grail has been in having their own brands and selling them in the world market. Hence we have been helping them in identifying the right products, the right markets, putting their portfolio together, developing the sales and marketing expertise to commercialize those brands in global markets. In the Indian market we are talking to some of the leading pharma companies and are helping them think through how to commercialize their branded products.
So far we have got an overwhelming response from our potential Indian customers. A very important aspect that marketRx brings to India is the global experience. Till date we have worked in 20 countries and have dealt with nearly 60 global companies. We have launched a number of global brands worldwide and have the understanding of how people think about it in the Asia Pacific, Europe, the US or Latin America. This is particularly relevant in context of the current IPR scenario in India where the market is projected to grow very rapidly in the next five years.
What was the initial response in the US when marketRx was launched?
The timing of our start in the US, one could argue, was either very good or very bad. It was very bad because we started our business in an industry which was after the boom. Over the last five years the pharma industry worldwide has been in a slump. So one can argue that our timing was off target. On the other hand I think it was perfect as we are in the business of enabling our customers to do more with less. As the companies faced more increased competition, they needed to figure out how to utilize the resources better. The demand for what marketRx does is an order of magnitude bigger than what our capacity has been at any given time. This has enabled us to grow very rapidly.
We started about five years ago, in 2000, and focused the first year or so in building the software products that could actually help companies in sales force planning, sales force analysis, promotion planning, market analysis and then we launched our services in 2001 and here we are, five years down the line, working with 19 of the top 20 pharma companies and three of the top five biotech companies in the world.
We are one of the fastest growing companies in the US. And even after the fifth year in business, despite the fact that we have grown 200-300 percent year on year, we are growing over 50 percent in this year too. So I would say that the response has been tremendous. In retrospect, we were at the right place at the right time with the right solutions.
What is your vision for the company?
Our goal is to be the largest sales and marketing company in the pharmaceutical industry globally and as of now we have just scratched the surface of a huge market opportunity. We will continue to extend our repertoire by providing additional value based services in the areas where our expertise is best leveraged for our existing clients.
We started from the US, which has 40 percent of the worldwide pharmaceutical market and we still have a long way to go. Last year we really started growing our business in Europe to a point that today we have our European headquarter in London. We already have three offices in the US. Two years ago we came to India more for doing product software development as well as developing a world-class delivery center to provide services to the global pharma industry. Here we realized that the two fastest emerging markets in the world, India and China, are already experiencing tremendous growth in branded biopharma products and would defiantly need solutions that marketRx provides in chalking out a strategy for commercializing these products profitably.