Good Pharma Dermatology is a Singapore pharmaceutical sales and marketing company focusing on hospital specialty and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. It was constantly looking for opportunities to introduce new products to capture the high growth South East Asian markets through joint ventures, strategic investments and acquisitions with domestic firms and partners.
Seeking a topical agent suitable for widespread application that is clinically effective for itch relief due to dermatological diseases, there has been no such topical agent available currently in the Singapore market. Topical agents formulated for localized itch relief is not suitable for widespread use due to their irritation and allergic effects. Moreover, moisturizer-based creams which are available in the market, mainly for atopic eczema, do not provide clinically significant levels of itch relief.
The Intellectual Property Intermediary (IPI) connected Good Pharma Dermatology to the National Skin Centre (NSC) which has formulated an anti-itch moisturizer cream to treat dermatological diseases. The proprietary formulation contains both the topical agent and moisturizing cream that relieves itch and moisturizes the skin at the same time. Since 2011, NSC has treated thousands of patients with the formulation under doctor’s prescription. It has proven to be clinically effective in itch relief and is free from side effects. NSC was then seeking a partner to commercialize the formulation as an OTC product.
“Our formulation is suitable for use in almost all itchy conditions, such as various types of eczema, itchy psoriasis and kidney failure-associated itch. We decided to introduce this cream to the mass market after much positive feedbacks received from our patients and doctors,” said Dr Tey Hong Liang, Consultant and Clinician Researcher of NSC. “We think that this cream can cater to an unmet need and benefit many more people by making it available as an over-the-counter cream.”
Through the IPI’s assistance, Good Pharma Dermatology was connected to NSC to discuss a licensing agreement of the proprietary formulation for topical skin application. Within five months of technical evaluation and business negotiations, both parties signed and concluded the license agreement. While the territory of the licensing agreement is global, initial product launch will be in Singapore, followed by South East Asia.
Dr John O’Shea, Managing Director, Good Pharma Dermatology, recalled that those 15 months were challenging but also very rewarding because, at the end of March 2015, the brand Suu Balm was born. Initial monthly sales of around 300 units have now grown towards 3,000, all this before stocking in chain retail pharmacy, due to start in February. Initial customers have been private dermatologists, family doctors and restructured hospitals.
The licence granted to Good Pharmaceutical Dermatology Pte Ltd for Suu Balm is global in nature. The company has reasonably established itself in Singapore. It should therefore explore opportunities overseas for Suu Balm at this point.
(a) Analyse at least three (3) potential market choices for Suu Balm using the market choice matrix.
(b) From the analysis in Q3 (a) above, recommend one (1) country for immediate entry. Propose an appropriate market entry strategy for this country. (425 words)