Clinova, a British pharmaceutical company focused on developing, manufacturing and marketing consumer healthcare products and medical device, has a rare global presence in multiple emerging markets, while also securing a significant market presence in Europe.
Clinova markets a total of seven products throughout Europe, Middle East, Africa, Australia and Asia, combining proprietary drug delivery technology with proprietary compounds and formulations. Clinova’s products include O.R.S., Stemaderm, Quash, Coldner, pi, Repelsect, and Covaflu face masks, a variety of consumer healthcare products for anti-bacterials, sanitizers, and repellants.
These products fit into the company’s overall vision of producing innovative, high quality, efficacious and safe products. Clinova markets to a diverse group, including patients, children, parents, pharmacists, doctors, nurses and hospitals.
Part of Clinova’s position as an emerging leader in the space is the company’s commitment to globalization and leveraging the consumer population in emerging markets. OneMedRadio spoke with co-founder and Director of Research and Development for Clinova, Arsalan Karim, about what makes Clinova’s products unique, as well as navigating regulatory and building a marketization model in emerging markets.
View the transcript below:
Matt Margolis: Greetings from OneMedRadio, I’m Matt Margolis. Today I am with Arsalan Karim, co-founder and Director of Research and Development for Clinova, a British pharmaceutical group developing consumer healthcare products and medical devices. Clinova has seven products at market stage and two additional products in stage three. Thank you for joining us Karim.
Arsalan Karim: Hi, yes thank you for hosting us.
Matt Margolis: So Karim, let’s start with your lead products. what is your most successful product? What is the technology behind this?
Arsalan Karim: The lead product is ORS soluble tablet form of the Oral Rehydration Salts formula based on the World Health Organization’s standards. It’s presently available in 17 countries and set to be available in 31 countries by the end of 2013.
MM: What do you anticipate sales to be in the UK in the next 12 months?
AK: It’s presently one of the fastest growing OTC brands in the UK. It was listed by over 2,000 pharmacies within the first six months of launch and we expect sales in the UK from June to June 2012 to 2013 to be around about 1.6 million US dollars.
MM: Let’s talk about some other lead products. What else do you have in your pipeline?
AK: We have a number of innovative healthcare/consumer healthcare products such as Repelsect, a patch which you apply to your clothes, it releases a vapour, and prevents any mosquitoes landing on you. We have Quash, one of the world’s first all natural hand sanitizers. We have Covaflu a leading pandemic respirator to prevent the spread of flu and other virus particles. We also have a number of products in late stage development.
MM: Are you developing the compounds and the technology in-house or developing the delivery technology?
AK: It depends on the product. Clinova identifies the IP, the technology and the underlying delivery system, We then find partners who could manufacture and execute the brief to make the product.
MM: Now, you have mentioned several products, I am curious how your pipeline and your products fit into your company vision.
AK: Clinova always tries to create products which have a genuine need. We look at gaps in the market space where there is scope of innovation, and development of new products. We then go about trying to find solutions and when we look at the solutions we try to look at producing technology driven products. If there is a natural scope we always try to focus on that because there is a huge increase in natural products and also in the innovative technology. There is a technology revolution out there and there is a way of actually encapsulating this technology in these new products.
MM: Now you placed an importance on your global presence, how are you achieving this? Where are your products sold?
AK: Clinova is presently selling in 13 countries and that’s to increase to 31 by the end of 2013. That’s a mix of methods, including finding exclusive strategic partners in some of these countries or in the larger countries or more significant markets such as Saudi Arabia or India or China. We are presently in the process of setting up joint ventures. In some geographical regions we are out-licensing our technology to larger Pharma or consumer healthcare companies.
MM: When you are exploring these markets, how do you determine which represents the greatest opportunity for you as well as the most significant unmet medical need?
AK: So it’s a combination, I mean there are some markets where there is a geographical or there is a in-house variables which make our products very attractive. For example Australia, the weather makes it very interesting for ORS, the natural environment makes it excellent for [a] patch. So we look at the markets based on the natural conditions.
At the same time, we do also focus on the fast growing markets which allow us to sell faster and quicker. Also the bigger Pharma markets are something which we also try to actually partner in as well. So it’s a combination of looking at the different variables to identify the core countries where our products would be more susceptive.
MM: From which group do you draw your sales? Do you cater to consumers or health providers or are you mostly in the private sector or the public sector?
AK: It’s mainly the consumer healthcare market which is the consumers and it is the privates sector. However, there is some business, sales for sports clubs for example or big sports associations, or some of the larger companies who have requirements for club products. There is also a lot of interest from some of the world’s large military organizations who find an excellent for ORS, our rehydration salts products.
We have recently had two [sergeants] dispatched from the British army regarding taking this product for use for the UK military. We are also exploring other military organizations around the world for this particular product.
MM: I want shift gears a little bit and discuss the regulatory process of bringing your products to market. How friendly is the regulatory environment for these products in Europe and the Middle East?
AK: It’s relatively friendly, which is the good news. OTC products especially food supplements and general sales process can be quick, efficient and not too capital intensive, which is good news for Clinova. This has allowed us to bring products like ORS to the UK market place and in the Middle East faster than some of the other global markets.
MM: So let’s talk a little bit about your financing. Are you profitable and how were you financed in the early stages?
AK: Clinova is actually self funded. What we did, we kind of kept things very tight initially and basically focused on getting one of our products to the market place. We did that, we got Cover Flu onto the market and we then achieved sales close to a million dollars selling the product from our bedroom. Then we actually reinvested the money back into the business to create the next batch of products.
We offered a very small percentage of the business to our alumni to fund the development of these products. That’s how the company was funded. Regarding it being profitable, we expect this to happen in the next two years.
MM: I think we touched on that a little bit later when we look at the next five years of Clinova’s development. Firstly I want to talk a little bit about your IP position, you mentioned it earlier, what is the status of that?
AK: Clinova is a consumer healthcare company, IP is important. But in consumer healthcare, formulation, technology and the brand are just as important. Now we do have patents, trademarks, designs for some of our products, but for others the importance of stealth cannot be underestimated. Therefore, it’s a combination of these two strategies which allows us to actually explore this global market without being compromised. I mean a great example; Coca Cola is one of the most widely available products.
But it doesn’t have a patent portfolio in terms of an underlying patent to protect its formula. It’s actually got other stealth secure formula. In consumer healthcare, some of the great brands use the brand rather than the IP to actually allow it to grow globally. Although, we do have portfolio trademarks designed and patents where applicable for key products in our pipeline.
MM: So I want to touch on Clinova’s resent feature in the Pharmaceutical Journal, what was significant about this?
AK: Yes, the Pharmaceutical Journal is a global journal distributed all around the world. It provided Clinova with global coverage and this resulted in a lot of interest from Pharma groups and consumer healthcare companies in a number of countries, who saw our company and our products. We have started partnership discussions with quite a few companies as a result of the PJ article. This is helping the company achieve notable recognition in key markets such as India, China, Vietnam.
MM: So lastly I want to wrap up with two questions looking at your development in the next few years. Firstly, what other companies are out there that are similar to Clinova? What status are they, stage of development, things like that?
AK: I guess a good example would be a company across the English Channel, a company called Omiga Pharma. It had a similar story to Clinova, it was started by two pharmacists, focused on OTC products and last year the sales were over a billion US dollars with around 20 products. A similar product focused story, 10 to 15 years on, it has a global [presence] in 35 countries and I guess that would be a company that we would like to replicate in terms of growth and focus.
MM: So with that in mind, what are Clinova’s plans for the next five to 10 years?
AK: Clinova’s focus is bringing 10 products to the marketplace and having them sold in at least 20 countries. That’s our focus and if we do manage to execute that level of growth, I think we will be in a really good position by 2020.
MM: That was a company snapshot with Arsalan Karim, co-founder and Director of Research and Development for Clinova. Clinova is a British pharmaceutical group developing consumer healthcare products and medical devices. At OneMedRadio, on behalf of Mr. Karim, this is Matt Margolis signing off.