Challenge: Launch a major international joint venture
Solution: Find a strong local partner
At present, 70% of Somru Bioscience’s clients are based in North America. It is an important market for the biotechnology company that develops antibody technology, which can be used to accelerate the drug-development process. That company from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island is now well established, in part thanks to assistance from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), and it is expanding beyond this continent’s borders.
Somru, which is also developing ready-to-use kits for diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, has teamed up with Radiant Pharmaceuticals to establish and operate an independent state-of-the-art diagnostic laboratory in Bangladesh. The new lab will greatly improve the tools available in this South Asian country for early diagnosis of diseases including diabetes and cancer. “We are leveraging our own unique products and technical expertise developed in Canada for international markets”, says Mohammed Moin, Somru’s vice president and co-founder.
“The joint venture, Mohammed adds, is expected to create $50 million in export sales over the next five years and add 100 new employees to the company’s PEI operation. A joint venture is a huge opportunity for any company. We have been exporting almost since we began and the key is to get a strong local partner.”
The company has that in Radiant Pharmaceuticals, which will market Somru-developed biomarker-based laboratory test kits for diabetic and oncology patients in Bangladesh. By setting up the joint venture, the companies will take a major step forward to bring the first affordable, reliable and accurate advanced diagnostic service in this country.
“Somru is also looking at benefits beyond the joint venture,” says Mohammed, who immigrated to Prince Edward Island on a student visa in 2000 – and went on to build Somru BioScience from the ground up. Data from the biotechnology company’s international initiative will be invaluable in helping it prepare submissions down the road for regulators in Canada and the United States so that similar diagnostic tests can be made available in North America.
Accessing financial capital is something the Government of Canada recognizes as critical to building, growing and scaling a business. With support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the government is helping Somru Bioscience continue its innovative work in diagnostic services. An investment of $500,000 went towards the construction and operation of Somru Bioscience’s own antibody production facility, through which the company expects to achieve increased efficiencies and deliver quality products that respond to customer needs in a timely manner.
Somru Bioscience is a prime example of how innovation and resourcefulness fuel Atlantic Canada’s economy, at home and beyond.
For more information on programs and services available to businesses in Atlantic Canada call 1- 800-561-7862 or go to www.acoa-apeca.gc.ca
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