Svetlana Bankovska, professional physical chemist, Biosan co-founder and Managing Director tells the company’s success story, especially for CEbiotech.com.
BioSan was founded over 20 years ago (in 1992) by two scientists of the Institute of Microbiology. Back than funding such a company in a field that was only slowly developing must have been very challenging – please tell us about the founders, and what made them think they may succeed?
Here in Latvia the history of our company is called a unique one. Vasily Bankovsky, Ph.D. (Biology) one of the company founders is not only a specialist in microbiology and molecular biology, but also a talented inventor, the author of over 30 different inventions in the field of Life Science laboratory practices. Most of his innovative solutions were successfully implemented in Biosan products and soon after became very popular among users. Initially it was a small family enterprise developed into innovative product business. What made it possible to develop into a big company? The first reason is the global view of the founders and focus on external markets. By 2001 Biosan developed a network of about 30 distributors in different countries. The second reason is all the Biosan team working hand in hand on creation of qualitative products.
The company grew as high-tech company in the Latvian Technological Center (well known as the business incubator Center). How big was it's role, and how did it change in time? Do you still cooperate?
Latvian Technological Center played a great role in development of Biosan: aside from discounted rent for premises and utilities it assisted in active partner search by organizing business trips to conferences and exhibitions in Germany. A conglomerate of interesting research, technology and IT companies was formed in this Centre, with which Biosan closely cooperated in different areas, e.g. applications of magnetic fields, thermostatic processes, etc. Though Biosan formally seceded from LTC in 2002 we still have cooperation with the companies with which we grew together.
In 2004 Biosan developed a new, elegant BIOFORMA design and one year later a UK company GRANT Instruments (Cambridge) invested in Biosan purchasing 50% of the company shares, how did you attract this investor what did it change for the company?
Grant Instruments appreciated the idea of investing in equipment production industry connected with Life Science and medical-biological research. Before working with Biosan they answered mainly the needs of chemical laboratories market. Today they enlarged the product range through exclusive rights for distributing Biosan products in UK and US markets under Grant-bio brand.
What is the current situation in Latvian biotech? How did the company's environment change during this 20 years?
Speaking of pharmaceutical business during last 20 years it has become a key industry in Latvia with two major players Grindex and Olainfarm. This must be the major difference between Latvia and Lithuania where the flagship is a Biotech company (ex-Fermentas).
Biosan, a Latvian company, competes with multinational brands - what is your key to success? What is your main market?
We can highlight three major markets: Russia and CIS, Europe and Asia. It has been quite early decision to diversify the markets and this proved to be right especially in respect to the lasting European economic crisis. Sometimes we happen to compete with own product because as manufacturers we offer some major (catalogue) companies our products under private label.
The four main features of the company's products are: multi-functionality, safety, sustainability and ergonomics. What does it mean for the users & the concurrence?
It is of major importance for users in respect to user-friendliness, reliability and reproducibility and traceability of experiments, saving time and resources in laboratory. This prompts the customer to choose Biosan products and thus following these principles provides advantages over the competition.
Please tell us about Biosan current projects.
Biosan invests both into new products development and support and modification of existing product line. A good example of a new project is the latest innovative product - Real-time growth cells logger. New mixing principle – reverse spinning - has been applied for the first time in this instrument providing unique characteristics and multi-functionality (adding photometer and thermostat functions). Now the project is in software development stage and it will hit the market in 2013.
Biosan participates in multiple international exhibitions, why do you think such events are valuable for the company?
Big, international exhibitions are a good platform to meet many distributors and end-users from different countries for new products demonstrations, cooperation discussions, user feedback and informing the users about all the different product groups.
Since 2010 you participate in BioForum, what do you think of this event? Which part is most interesting for you and why?
Lately we started actively participate not only in big international exhibitions but also in specialized events, that accompany scientific conferences. We feel that this way we can learn more about consumer needs, get in front of the competition by creating products that are oriented to the latest findings in Biotech field. So the format offered by BioForum is a very good solution.
What do you expect from the next BioForum edition and what will you promote in May in Budapest?
We look forward to successful participation in BioForum in Budapest, to interesting scientific lecture program and many visits to our stand. The exhibited equipment will attract deserved interest among BioForum attendees and participants. Our long-term partner Biocenter will assist Biosan team in company and product (new and established) presentations and discussions with visitors.
Thank you for the interview and we wish you further successes!
Interview by Anna Jeszka
2016-04-03 06:25:20 +0200
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Very Interesting! Go ahead! Aleksejs Surskis MBA, Quality Manager Iso 13485, US FDA