|Pharmaceutical Social Networks|
|Written by Zdravko Mauko|
|Friday, 10 July 2009|
How pharmaceutical and biotech industry could survive and thrive in a world where new media technology creates our lives and our future?
Social networks may shape the future of pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry
We live in a time of mass media. The internet and computers of all shapes and sizes could soon replace the written word, television and radio. We pay our bills through internet-banking. We read newspapers on their internet sites. We make new acquaintances through virtual networks.We watch our favorite shows and movies on YouTube. Making business through the internet is becoming something normal in our everyday lives. And that kind of a situation can, with a bit of imagination and creativity, be very useful and profitable.
We often hear complaints from small entrepreneurs about how hard it is to get through to global markets, which are controlled by international corporations. Yet still, we are living in the miraculous technological age. In an age where everything is possible, even the case of a small Croatian company shining on the international business scene, to be more concrete, in the branch of pharmaceutical industry.
The innovative and fresh business ideas of Farmavita were recognized by John Blossom, a renowned international expert in the field of marketing and communications. In his book "Content Nation: Surviving and Thriving as Social Media Changes Our Work, Our Lives and Our Future", he uses the Croatian virtual community, Farmavita.Net (www.farmavita.net), as a positive example of a company using new ways of doing business, and succeeding. In the chapter in which he explains how new media is changing the future of pharmaceutical companies, he points out:
"Social networks are going to be an important alternative in holding economic success of the pharmaceutical industry. The pharmaceutical industry is starting to look more and more like the Hollywood film industry. It relies more on intense marketing of a few "blockbuster" drugs, and spends more on their marketing and sales than on the research and development needed to create new drugs. With that, they are trying to secure maximum market demand for a new product while it is still under patent protection, that is before it becomes a generic drug, which can be produced by anyone.
The Croatian social network Farmavita.Net is testing a new model for improving the development of the pharmaceutical market and products. They are exploring the possibilities to turn the pharmaceutical business model inside out. Instead of focusing on mass markets, Farmavita is leading an internet community of researchers, developers of new pharmaceutical products and business development managers. Instead of trying to sell a drug in a short amount of time for a lot of money, Farmavita.Net points out that the most valuable thing that companies have to offer isn't the drug itself, but their insight into the processes of making new products and new markets. Through the virtual network, small and medium-sized companies can alert the global community of the products they've developed and that are ready for the market.
Large pharmaceutical corporations could, in that way, by supporting global communication with smaller companies, reduce risks and gain potentially higher profits. They can achieve that through social networks such as Farmavita.Net, where they will learn how to suit the needs of a larger number of less developed markets, and how to sell their products more efficiently on those markets."
That is the power of modern communications and the miracle called internet. Most visitors of the internet portal Farmavita.Net will probably at first glance think that they are looking at a website of a large international corporation, with its headquarters in several countries, and which employs a few hundred people. To manage such a huge network of members and companies one must need a large team of people. There they are wrong. The network is being managed by a four-member team, lead by an "oddball" chemist. They have, with a little imagination and creativity, from their small office in Samobor, a town practically unknown to foreigners, managed to create a global network. And that network has already started to change the face of the world pharmaceutical market, and the way it does its business.
Zdravko Mauko, the company CEO, is a graduated engineer of chemical technology. He is very well acquainted with the world pharmaceutical market, being that he spent over twenty years of his work in the branch. He is characterized by a somewhat fanatical devotion to the vision of the company, which he explains in the following way: "In the 20th century we had movie stars, rock stars and football players. In the 21st century the "stars" will be innovative researchers. Our mission is to find them, support them, and connect them with the pharmaceutical industry!"
In fact, Farmavita is an agency for licensing and technology transfer of pharmaceutical products. While doing business, they mostly use their internet portal, Farmavita.Net, and also connections with other networks such as yet2.com, Biotechgate.com, Croatiabiotech.com and Regulanet. Farmavita.Net is actually a professional social network, which connects pharmaceutical companies interested in cooperation while developing new pharmaceutical products and markets.
That kind of business idea was obviously an excellent one, because the number of registered members on the network is rising every day. Farmavita.Net currently has over a thousand registered developers and managers, and the site monthly receives over 20,000 visits. Through this network one can reach the knowledge to make over 500 pharmaceutical products.
What is the lesson? Outsiders can succeed. All you need is a little effort, and a lot of creativity.
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