Edna Álvarez
Latin America Manager
Malvern Panalytical
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View from the Top

Mexico: the Gateway to Latin America for Medical Devices

Wed, 09/09/2015 - 15:56

Q: What significance does the Mexican biopharmaceutical industry hold for Malvern Instruments’ global operations?

A: Malvern Instruments provides technological solutions for many industries – from automotive to biopharmaceuticals. We have direct operations in 15 countries and have local support in a further 77. The past decade has seen biopharmaceuticals become the fastest growing type of therapeutic agent. The challenges of moving from the development of small molecule drugs to dealing with more complex biological materials are considerable and wide ranging and new analytical tools are needed to bridge the gap. Malvern’s Bioscience Development Initiative (BDI) is an independent, entrepreneurial organization. It partners with industry and academia to rapidly identify and assess analytical problems and bottlenecks within biopharmaceutical development and manufacturing, to design and deliver technological solutions. The European and US biopharma markets are already very large and Latin America is an emerging market with very promising growth opportunities for the next five years. We established a direct presence in Mexico in 2013. The bulk of research is conducted in Europe and the US, but developing countries are allocating more resources to R&D. Mexico is two to three years behind developed countries in terms of R&D and acquisition of technology but it is the gateway for all of Latin America.

Q: What are the company’s key strengths and how challenging is it to move into new areas?

A: Our materials characterization systems are used by scientists and engineers to solve challenges associated with maximizing productivity, developing better products, and getting them to market faster. Malvern’s analytical instruments address a wide variety of measurement needs, helping users accelerate research and better understand the materials they work with. Malvern’s analytical toolkit for small molecule applications supports the characterization of active pharmaceutical ingredients and excipients, alone and in formulations, for innovative and generic drug development. Used throughout drug discovery, formulation development, and pharmaceutical manufacturing, Malvern’s combination of complementary techniques helps to push drugs more rapidly through the development pipeline.

Q: What measures have you been taking to increase your expertise in the large molecule area?

A: Our BDI team works with end customers who have analytical needs and also with those who lead technology development, in established organizations or in small companies and academia, enabling effective communication and solution sharing. Uniquely, embryonic technologies are often provided directly to pharmaceutical partners for review and assessment, exposing them to technologies they may not otherwise have seen and providing a low-risk opportunity to test out novel ideas. This quickly determines whether or not a technology is likely to provide a useful solution, which will ultimately decide if it is progressed through to the next stages of traditional product development.

Q: Researchers in Mexico do not have the culture of commercializing research – how does this impact the instrumentation industry and to what extent are you able to support your clients in this respect?

A: Mexico has great potential for growth but some barriers need to be overcome to fulfill it. One barrier is the lack of entrepreneurial culture. Scientists should be more interested in commercializing research and creating startups that could benefit a lot of people with their innovative products or services. We have very remarkable scientists who have applied for grants and obtained funding in order to conduct research and purchase our instruments.

Conversely, we have also seen scientists with impressive ideas that do not secure any financing. Whenever we establish first contact with a prospective client we listen to their needs so we can come up with a solution. Then we work on a justification process and run samples and demos in the lab to present along with some results. This brings certainty to our clients and is very useful for building trust and close relationships. Only when we are certain that our technology can provide a solution for a customer do we make a sales proposal and provide support with comparison tables and other evidence.