Trends within our industry tend to emerge slowly, and as a consequence of many small, intertwined developments that remain unnoticed as individual factors.
At some point, however, the many small incremental changes come together to form a mosaic that emerges clearly. Once you see it, it appears obvious. You think, “How did I not see this before!”
The trend in Swedish life sciences that I am referring to can be described in three words: market entry readiness.
“In addition to the evolvement of the project pipeline as such, we notice how biotech and pharma companies are increasingly diversifying into combinational products or adding services to their product portfolio as a source of income.”
With the maturing Swedish drug discovery and development pipeline, as shown in a report published by SwedenBIO in 202011, more and more companies are now beginning to sniff the scent of market entry. In addition to the evolvement of the project pipeline as such, we notice how biotech and pharma companies are increasingly diversifying into combinational products or adding services to their product portfolio as a source of income. For us, this means that we are having trouble putting the right pharma/medtech/biotech-label on our members when categorizing them, but more importantly, it means that time to market is shortened at a company level. As a consequence, the logics of market entry are changing significantly compared to the one project-drug-development-companies.
This is new. As strange as it sounds to anyone outside our sector, it is normal to us that companies worth hundreds of millions still don’t have a single product on the market. Issues such as how to raise capital for your phase one clinical trial, what to consider when going public, to out-license – or not out-license, those are the usual topics requested by our members in the networking events and services we provide as the national life science industry organization.
“Support from fellow business executives who embarked on the same journey and already dealt with these four P:s of market entry is also needed!”
What is not normal is the pressure we experience to broaden our focus towards market access. The many pitfalls and opportunities that arise when standing on the threshold of actually having a product out there. Those are not necessarily the same kind of market access issues that big international companies need to address when they are looking to Sweden as a (quite small) market. Being a small fish in a really big ocean and managing how to set up the production, how to be ready to fight for your patent among competitors with sharp teeth, how to hit the market with the right pricing level and deciding who to partner up with (or not) when building up your sales organizations and selecting distribution channels – well, it takes a lot of guts! Support from fellow business executives who embarked on the same journey and already dealt with these four P:s of market entry is also needed!
“There is a growing need in our ecosystem for B2B advice and support around market entry.”
The vast majority of Swedish life science companies are still in early phases, where issues such as what manufacturing QC system to use is not yet top of mind. Supporting them in making choices around how to finance their company or protect their IP will never go out of fashion. We believe, however, that there is a growing need in our ecosystem for B2B advice and support around market entry. Thus we have initiated a series of interviews in which we ask business leaders to share with us both their successes and their failures, to spread knowledge about perks and pitfalls. I am delighted to announce that already in the next edition of Nordic Life Science magazine, you will hear about Orexo’s US market entry, shared with us by its CEO, Nikolaj Sørensen.
Text by Helena Strigård, Director General, SwedenBIO