|Mr Rajeev Kumria
General manager, business development, Transasia Bio-Medicals
The author is responsible for foray into new immunoassay projects and
mergers & acquisitions at Transasia Biomedical. He has previously
worked with Bharat Serums and Vaccines and Advy Chemical. He holds a
master’s degree in biotechnology from the Center for Biotechnology,
JNU, Delhi, and a postgraduate diploma in marketing management from
IGNOU, New Delhi.
Biotechnology is a vast and diverse field and the complexity of biotech
marketing in India is further heightened because of cultural and
infrastructural issues. Revenue of the biotechnology industry in India
touched $4 billion in 2010-11, witnessing a growth of approximately 22
percent. The biotech sector is a young industry and it is already
ranked the 12th-most lucrative sector in the world.
With the spectacular growth comes a deeper understanding of the
challenges ahead. These challenges become an impediment in the growth
of the industry and delays commercialization of products. The
challenges of marketing in the biotech sector are very different from
the challenges in other industries. Many times, it is the lack of
understanding on the part of the end user for whom the product or the
solution is developed or designed. In the mature markets too, there is
a debate and lack of understanding on the part of marketers on ways to
handle the more complex biotech products.
The gap between the product makers and marketers leads to rejection of
product, sometimes with repercussions that can lead to perfectly good
products being rejected. A more detailed segmentation of the industry
will lead to unique issues and challenges.
at pharma companies and university research
range, lack of information on consumption and research area
and understanding gap
therapeutics, monoclonals anti cancer
of products, gaps in understanding as these
are new age products
change expense, return on investment understanding, economics
The very young nature of the industry is throwing a huge challenge
before the regulatory bodies to institute changes in the regulations to
support faster launch of products, while taking into account extensive
long-term safety profiles and socio-economic impacts.
Also, the issue with the biotech sector is that start-ups are founded
by scientists and their appreciation for marketing comes very late
during the day.
Furthermore, the issue gets more complex as most of the innovations are
coming from start-ups and these companies have high costs and risks. By
the time a product reaches beyond mid phase of development, the
pressure on commercialization is very high and, although marketing is
the most important activity that should start early, it is generally
not introduced until late in the day.
Addressing the issues
The complexity of the industry presents complex challenges never
encountered by society and the biotech fraternity. Among the steps that
can be taken to address the issues is creating forums or portals to
disseminate information at different levels.
At the level of industry, information exchange platforms are needed for
connecting different stakeholders and, at the company level, more
educational and information channels are needed. These could be portals
with information on research and activities to assist life sciences
marketers and users, and segmental portals with information on products
More understanding and expenditure by companies is required in reaching
out to consumers. There should also be bodies to assist young start-ups
in understanding and providing cost-effective marketing platforms.
Neutral platforms and forums, which provide a balanced view of products
and services, are also important. This is needed to avoid bad media
coverage and generating a balanced view of opportunities and risks
Special cells are needed in regulatory agencies to deal with biotech
products. A lack of understanding and old dogmas about biopharma and
bioagriculture can act as roadblocks for the industry. More than
understanding, the speed of response is important, considering the
dynamism of the industry.