For two days, beginning on the 5th July, the 53rd edition of the International Conference on Medicinal Chemistry (RICT 2017), organised by The French Medicinal Chemistry Society (SCT), will be held in the French city of Toulouse.
This edition will be devoted to “Drug Discovery and Selection”, an area in which GalChimia has considerable experience, and the focus will be on diverse topics such as Immunotherapy and Oncology, Emerging and Neglected diseases, breakthroughs in technologies for drug discovery and the access to novel molecular entities.
As the CEO of GalChimia, Carme Pampín, has pointed out, the most in demand service and the service in which her company has most experience, is Contract Research Chemistry in Medicinal Chemistry. The RICT 2017 is therefore considered to be an almost unmissable event for them.
The person in charge of driving their internationalisation is Julie Masse, International Business Developer at GalChimia. In our interview with her she told us about the importance of attending events like this one, about the internationalisation of GalChimia, the international positioning of the company, and its strengths with respect to competitors.
Events like RICT 2017 are a great opportunity for companies to learn about the latest advancements in the sector, while at the same creating synergies. GalChimia is very active with regard to attendance at events, congresses and chemical sector trade fairs/shows. What does GalChimia value most about events like this one?
These events bring all the important elements in GalChimia’s sector together: organic chemistry is a very valuable source of information.
It is not easy to find events that are so focused on what we do, most of them are more general and we can’t be sure of finding valid contacts at them. With the RICT and the EFMC we have direct access to our customers, the people who hire our services. That is the main advantage. On the other hand, we use these events to learn, every year some of our chemists accompany the sales team to learn and get information about what is new in the sector. Finally, it gives us a vision about new actors in the sector: companies and academic groups, new research topics, all of which allows us to be a step ahead of needs in the coming years and to tailor our services and our research programmes.
Internationalisation is essential at these events, and we are aware that this is one of GalChimia’s priorities. How are you going about the international expansion of the company?
This is a family company and we try to maintain that vision both inside and outside of Spain, it allows us to have a closer relationship with the customers and to be more flexible. We are trying to carry out the expansion in close proximity with the customers, getting to know them and trying to understand their priorities, their customs, and their methods of communication. The key word here is adaptation.
At the same time we have had to go through a learning process, in the administrative area of the company they have had to learn about international legislation relating to shipping, insurance etc. The finance department has had to learn about billing in other currencies and the sales team has had to adapt contracts. Fortunately the chemistry itself remains the same!
Nowadays GalChimia is the leader in Spain with regard to synthetic organic chemistry. Where does that put you on the international stage?
It gives us an advantage. Our positioning and visibility in Spain gives an added dimension of confidence to our new international customers. They are prepared to work with us more easily than if we were less well-known. We usually ask our Spanish customers for references for our work, and in this way they have participated in opening up new markets.
What are GalChimia’s strengths compared to its competitors? What do you think GalChimia offers to the international market that no one else does at the moment?
We do not have specific strong points. Our market is very competitive and gathers together many companies which are similar to GalChimia. What sets us apart from the rest is that we have many different qualities that when pooled together makes us strong. Other competitors may have one or another of these strengths, but not all of them. We have the perfect balance between good chemistry, flexibility, good communication, and transparency.
Which countries do you consider to be benchmark suppliers in your sector? Do you have any established collaborations with them or do you hope to have them?
Germany is the centre of the chemistry sector, whether it is pharmaceutics, agrochemistry,… it is a very strong market, followed by England and France. We are already working with various companies from these countries but the aim in the coming years will be to consolidate our links with these regions.
Having an online chemical catalogue can help to reduce geographical distances with potential customers. How much does having the online store help to overcome those barriers and obtain new customers?
The customers who buy from the catalogue are normally very different to the company’s usual customers. In this case the approach isn’t so close, and is promoted through the webpage and the internet in general. In this sense there are no barriers, this tool has allowed us to work with North and South America, Asia, the Middle East. Occasionally these relationships can become more long term, and can have very considerable sales figures. At the moment, the catalogue accounts for 10% of our sales with more than half of them coming from outside Europe.
Besides the internationalisation of the company, what are the other activities in your strategic plan in the future?
On one hand, internationalisation means expanding our client portfolio and the growth of the company. At the same time we are looking into new business areas through research projects which will allow us to specialise in specific technologies with the aim of increasing our differentiating factors for the customer.