Exploring LMIC markets for potential business development opportunities for the company
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AbstractUnizima is one of four subsidiaries of Univercells, a Belgian biotech company with the single mission of making biologics available and affordable to all. It is a small startup company that aims at becoming the trusted partner and nexus for building and maintaining decentralized biomanufacturing and patient care capacities, mainly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). To do so, it plans to combine the expertise and technology of the other subsidiaries of Univercells in turnkey projects. Unizima will cooperate with local governments and public institutes, local pharmaceutical industry partners and with a charitable donor group (“the Foundation”). The Foundation provides financial and technical assistance to LMIC governments through Unizima as a turnkey service provider for highimpact projects. NEED. Today, the need for biologics (both vaccines and biosimilars) in LMICs is large and growing. Yet, high production prices, inadequate screening, and a lack of specialized centers truly limit patient access, especially in LMICs. It is Unizima’s belief that it can address this need by combining its expertise and by leveraging the Univercells group’s access to affordable technology. However, the company is still in a very nascent stage with limited resources and capacities. Therefore, its approach towards LMIC access must be tailored to maximize its impact. OBJECTIVES. The overarching objective of this consultancy project was to explore LMIC markets for potential business development opportunities for Unizima through the application of a structured market intelligence approach. To do so, five specific research questions (RQs) were formulated and addressed. First the most attractive LMICs for Unizima to develop partnerships with local industry were identified within different global regions (RQ1). After which the main target countries for Foundation-funded projects were also identified (RQ2). Within selected countries, the market attractiveness and biologics industry landscape were examined (RQ3) and local industrial partners were investigated (RQ4). Finally, a competitor analysis was performed to evaluate potential competitive threats to Unizima’s business (RQ5). METHODS AND RESULTS. Based on interviews with internal and external stakeholders, company-provided information and the available business literature, a framework was developed and applied to calculate and assign success scores to preselected LMICs per geographical area. The success score reflects the attractiveness of the country for Unizima to look for and develop industry partnerships. Within the MEA region, the countries to target are South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and Jordan. In SE & Central Asia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Turkey were identified as the countries with most potential (RQ1). For each of those countries, ID cards for both the vaccine and biosimilar industry landscape were produced (RQ3) and local partners with a strong interest or experience in biologics were identified. As a first step, it is recommended to focus on local companies that demonstrate a good partnership potential for Unizima as displayed in the company ID cards (RQ4). In addition, Unizima should further prioritize companies that are looking for backward integration in the biomanufacturing value chain. More than ten potential competitors that could constitute a threat to the different aspects of Unizima’s business model were identified in this report (RQ5). In general, competitors could be separated into four categories, each having a distinct potential impact on Unizima: companies that (i) focus on designing bioprocesses, (ii) companies that offer full DBOM services or (iii) that specialize in some components thereof and (iv) biotech or pharma players. No companies were identified that offer the same integrated approach and focus on LMICs as Unizima. For Unizima to mediate the potential competitive threats identified in this report, it should clarify its business model and engage in partnerships with companies with complementary offerings to further differentiate and create a unique value proposition. Furthermore, it should leverage the innovative edge of the Univercells Group wherever possible. The current report also showcases an approach for Unizima on how to identify countries with a high potential for Foundation supported projects (RQ2). Segmenting countries within a geographic area on their success score and the official development assistance they receive for the health sector helped identify where projects could deliver the highest impact while considering the feasibility and future profitability of the project. In total 10, 7 and 6 countries were identified in the MEA, SE & Central Asia and LATAM region respectively that could provide interesting leads for the Foundation of which the most attractive areas are within the sub-Saharan Africa region (Senegal, Kenia, Tanzania, and Uganda). Going forward, Unizima should combine the information provided in this report with the hands-on experience of the team and liaise preliminary contacts with key local partners identified in this paper for both Foundation and industry partnerships. Furthermore, it should tailor its offering to fit the needs of its potential customers and design the market entry strategy for a particular market based on provided information on the specific country's pharma ecosystem. Finally, an assessment of the economics of the project should decide whether to commit. CONCLUSION. The current report provides Unizima with frameworks and a prioritized list of LMICs to target to develop partnerships with local industry or for foundation-supported projects. The delivered country and company ID cards offer in-depth intelligence on the local market and the top players within that market. Combined, this will support Unizima in its mission to achieve maximum impact with the highest chance of success.
Knowledge Domain/IndustrySpecial Industries: Healthcare Management
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