10 years of success

Biotech companies take time to mature and develop. They take time to reach a place where they can be confident that they are a success. To have a product that the market requires and will regularly make payment for.

Ariana Pharma have reached that place and SSC are very proud to have been part of that story.

Dr Mohammad Afshar cut his teeth in business through being part of the management and research team at Ribotargets in Cambridge in the late 1990's. He then progressed to his own 3 person organisation in a small office in Pasteur Inst in Paris and today that company has an impressive turnover and 13 employees in several offices across the globe.

In those early days SSC were able to smoothly blend in the organisation wherever need was diagnosed and value could be added to provide

  • Market research, pricing analysis and competition analysis,
  • Business Development management establishing key-relationships in Europe, the US and Japan
  • Technical Writers who have been fundamental to ensuring the correct communication of their early products.
  • Introductions of senior staff members to complement the growing team.

Now we look forward to the next 10 years of observing their growth and success. Congratulations!

Are you really Selling?

For scientists emerging into the business world bringing the fruits of years of research into the market place can be a hard task especially if you want to make money from the products.

It is easy to get discussions going – years of practice of discussing research with colleagues and lay-people enable confident approaches to people who have previously shown interest in the work and who potentially could be important early adopters of the technology. But are those discussions useful within a sales cycle or do they simply add information into the product development process?

Are you enhancing the credibility of your product by having the CEO or CTO making those initial approaches? Or does it just emphasis the small company size? If you address that problem through employing a young enthusiastic business graduate does that give balance to the skill set that you have within the organisation or dilute the scientific understanding and correct product placement?

Where in all of this energy and effort is the requirement for professional sales experience – the industry contacts, the understanding of how to sell scientific products into a scientific market? The confidence and skills to assess buying signals rather than academic interest in the research and product development? Often a colleague with a sales title from any background but without years of industry experience and contacts is just another person on the same steep learning curve as the rest of the team.

Professional sales staff are expensive commodities, particularly ones with a good fit between your potential market and their contacts, so what if you can't afford that approach? How do you get traction to actually close deals, many of them, and increase revenue?

These are exactly the issues that SSC is dedicated to helping small scientific companies solve through a mixture of provision of extra resource and training so your scientific colleagues can take on real sales challenges and your young business colleagues can rapidly gain experience to confidently take your products into successful sales process and lift you out of the vortex of scientific discussion about the ideal product.

We are currently working with FinPro and Tekes in Finland to create a  3 year Vientirengas of Finnish Bio-IT companies to provide them that missing link. This will be a group of up to 5 companies that work together and with SSC to target new international markets and to bring an extra dimension to their marketing strategy and their sales success. Any companies with Computational Chemistry, Biology or informatics backgrounds and an interest in using cloud technology to further their innovations should contact us directly for further information.

We would be happy to hear from companies outside of Finland as well as we feel this model of co-operation and mentoring has benefits for all small innovative companies in this market area.


Innovation Support?

Good news for Scotland - GSK have confirmed expansion of their Montrose site and 25 new jobs
Whilst this is welcome and is a great compliment to the skills of the team at the plant, it does make me wonder if the £1.5M contribution from Scottish Enterprise is really the best way to spend money under the theme of innovation support.
Let me set my thought process clearly.
GSK are a massive company provding shareholders with £6.3Billion of profit in 2012.
Can they really not afford to create these jobs themselves without that extra support? With all their expertise in project management, business risk assessment, understanding of personnel development and all the other skills that make them a large, successful pharmaceutical business, can they really not spare that 0.00024% of their profits for re-investment in their long-term plans for Montrose?
Is that really the best use for that money for Scotland, or any area of pop 5 million with many small companies that are failing to gain traction in their market places and expand? Is this really investment in INNOVATION, in the knowledge economy, in developing business???
That same money would provide a grant of £500 for website development, or travel to meet new potential clients or training in new skills for 3000 small companies struggling to get going and without the benefit of scale to be able to do it all successfully themselves. Money which would potentially be treasured and valued higher because of their much lower profit levels.
And yet organisations such as Scottish Enterprise don't like to handle small amounts of grant support such as £500 because of the administration overhead that goes with it. It's too small. They like larger projects, larger contributions.
But without some public sector body somewhere providing those small grants to small companies - the grants that can make the difference between going forward with a business ideas or not, between taking salary in a particular month or not - how can any nation really support innovation??