Sciformix’s Journey to Help Global Life Science Organizations Develop Safer, More Effective Medical Products
Striking a balance across domain expertise and operational efficiencies
Senior Editor Ayanangsha Maitra speaks with Manish Soman, CEO of Sciformix and Dr. Chitra Lele, Chief Scientific Officer as the key officials open up on the company’s journey, priorities, and, of course, future plans.
Sciformix Corporation is a leading global Scientific Process Organization (SPO), providing science-based services and technology to biopharmaceutical, generic pharmaceutical, consumer products, medical devices and other healthcare companies. Our mission is to partner with life science companies to provide high quality scientific expertise that delivers better quality outcomes and improved efficiencies across the entire product lifecycle with the ultimate objective of improving quality of healthcare for patients worldwide. Key capabilities and areas of collaboration include safety and risk management, clinical development, post-approval support, medical affairs, regulatory affairs & operations, scientific writing, real world evidence & market access, and technology services.
Sciformix CEO, Manish Soman has a penchant for team sports like football more than individual sports like golf or tennis, which isn’t surprising as he has been building a business that is sustainable and draws upon strong domain expertise. 2017 has proved to be a milestone year for Sciformix and Manish, the company having completed a decade of successfully delivering quality, excellence and innovation to the Life Science Industry.
Like any natural leader, Manish believes in leading from the front and holds firm in the belief that great teams build great companies. And he has a formidable team at Sciformix, helping him build a company that is continually innovating and adapting to market/industry needs and adding value in all aspects of the business.
Sciformix is an acclaimed player and stands out in the niche area of life science outsourcing services providing specialized scientific services coupled with innovative technology solutions to biopharma, medical device, and other healthcare organizations around the world. Specialized, because of its deep domain knowledge across its five verticals – Safety & Risk Management, Clinical Development, Regulatory Affairs, Real World Evidence & Market Access, and Technology Services. The company has been able to attract top talent in their areas of specialization around the world and touts their higher than average percentage of employees who are PhDs, medical doctors and healthcare practitioners. This is evident through the company’s ability to meet high standards in process excellence and regulatory compliance, and this has been acknowledged by their global life science industry clients. The importance of this top talent has increased in the last few years as the type of work that is outsourced has evolved from simple tasks to more complex scientific and knowledge based tasks. Understanding not only the science but also the macro and micro regulatory landscape is essential – Sciformix has the exceptional talent to meet these challenges.
Since its beginning in 2007 Sciformix has carved a niche for itself and emerged as the leading choice for global business clients, including mature markets like the US and Europe, and regional growing markets such as India, the Philippines, China and Korea to name a few. Leading healthcare and pharma companies across these regions have partnered with Sciformix.
Reflecting on the industry and when the company was formed 10 years ago Mr. Soman recalled, “Withdrawal of drugs due to safety concerns resulted in an increased focus on post-marketing safety and pharmacovigilance. This led large pharma companies to consider outsourcing certain aspects in a global delivery model. Sciformix was uniquely positioned to leverage this significant opportunity.” Moreover, as outsourcing in clinical development was expanding, the founders knew from their experience that certain domain-intensive services in this area were not available at the required level of expertise and quality in a global model. They capitalized on such insights to define and build upon their areas of specialization.
Thus the concept was to become a provider of scientific services to the life sciences industry with a focus on drug safety, regulatory affairs and other niche areas of clinical development and post marketing phases which require high levels of domain expertise, and are amenable to a global, resource-efficient delivery model.
In this era of intense business competition, Sciformix strives to make itself a valued partner that helps its healthcare industry clients stand out from the crowd. This is enabled by a well-planned expansion of its business to various locations across the globe. Sciformix has a cohesive team of over a thousand employees distributed across the world. In the first decade of its illustrious journey, the company has crossed several milestones and takes pride in having quickly established a global footprint. In addition to the US, Sciformix has offices in Europe (the UK and Romania), India (Mumbai and Pune) and the Philippines.
Speaking about employees, Mr. Soman believes, “the ideal Sciformix employee is a person who is focused on a career in science. Healthcare professionals, whether they are physicians, pharmacists or nurses, can provide patient care for a single patient at a time, and this is both essential and of great value. However at Sciformix they can contribute to global patient safety and development of new and improved medicines that can benefit public health at large. So we look for employees who understand this perspective, have a deep commitment to science and quality, and are able to work with teams in a global setting. We are focused on outcomes and hence we assign responsibilities, and not tasks to our employees. We have created a culture that focuses on quality, attention to detail and efficiency. But it’s not all work, thankfully. In between all the hard work and our commitment to improving healthcare around the world, we still manage to provide work-life balance and a fun-filled environment to our employees.”
Sciformix’s growth has largely come from a string of strategic moves to consistently strengthen its competencies. With a workforce of specialized scientific resources across the world, the company’s global delivery model has enabled its clients to focus on healthcare outcomes, making Sciformix a preferred partner for Life Science organizations.
Sciformix’s success has not only been built on its solid domain and scientific foundation but also on its ability to strike a balance across domain and operational efficiencies. Reflecting on Sciformix’s journey, Dr. Chitra Lele asserts, “With outsourcing organizations that provide cost-efficient services across industries, there was a need to specialize in certain areas and provide value-added services that meet the high standards of compliance for life science organizations around the world. This is the unique value Sciformix delivers to the biopharma and life sciences industry.” Dr. Lele continues to describe how Sciformix has emerged as a pioneer in Drug Safety and Risk Management Services, “Among the first few companies to offer drug safety services in a global delivery model, Sciformix built on the early mover advantage. It started its first project as an end-to-end safety and risk management engagement with guidance from SMEs who had experience in the US and Europe. Thus the initial team had robust training and in-depth exposure to the domain and we capitalized on it. Other outsourcing companies were getting to do only the most process-driven parts of drug safety for the first few years, and the Sciformix team stood out in the eyes of new sponsors who were looking for pharmacovigilance service providers. Sciformix acquired a safety database after only a year of operations, to attract small to mid-sized companies who didn’t want to invest in technology and infrastructure. This gave Sciformix more opportunities to provide end-to-end support and strengthen the knowledge-base and skill set of the team. At the right time we focused on adding scale by targeting and winning the larger engagements, and further also focused on process efficiencies and automation. As a result, the solid domain base, with scale, process and technology on top of it, has helped Sciformix become a pioneer in this field.”
Sciformix has truly been a trailblazer and the company’s leaders nurture their passion to scale the organization to new heights of success through delivering value, and not just services, to clients. Asked to share his thoughts on the road ahead Mr. Soman asserted, “Managing the growth, profitability and relevance of the business are natural responsibilities of any business leader. My personal focus has been to build great teams with deep knowledge that can manage the culture of the organization. We have a great leadership team and a fantastic work force that are all marching towards a common goal. Ensuring that the organization is aligned and creating a unique value in the industry will remain my focus as a business leader.
“Go deep, before your go wide…,” is the advice seasoned entrepreneur Manish Soman would give to aspirant entrepreneurs.
“Companies that are built from the ground up have a tendency to try and create value in too many areas and many don’t realize their full potential. Not because they are bad ideas, but because they are not focused on unique outcomes,” he added.
Since its incorporation, Sciformix has always been on an impressive growth trajectory. The company has consistently witnessed 30% YOY growth. This pace of growth has fueled Sciformix-team to spread its wings and continue to create a deeper impact on the industry by making its Life Sciences partners more successful, and ultimately in bringing patient-centric solutions that deliver safe and effective products to both mature and emerging markets.