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Ralph Klingmann

CEO of Omnia Molecular

He joined Omnia Molecular as CEO after raising €2.1 million Investment Round in 2010. Swiss/German national. Molecular Biologist (USA) and Global Executive MBA (Spain-IESE). 20 years international pharma leadership in USA, Germany and South Africa with Bayer, Solvay and Abbott.


Health problems caused by infectious diseases, cardiovascular disease, and cancer impact the well-being of people across the world. It follows that biotech solutions developed here in Catalonia are not limited by geography in their application.

Unfortunately, biotech businesses are often limited in their capacity to access international markets, often to the detriment of patients around the world.  While there are is no magic solution to this challenge, there are some simple ways to internationalize your biotech business that do not involve branch offices in a foreign country.

Here are five key ways to help put your biotech business on the global stage:

1. Promote the diversity of your team

The capacity of your company to effectively do business across borders depends on your team's capabilities. A diverse team is more likely to speak the language of your partner or customer, and understand the market's specific needs and requirements. When properly managed, a diverse team can also be the source of greater innovation, since the organization is able to apply a broader set of perspectives and knowledge to solve problems.

Where should you look? The most important geographies for the commercialization and partnering of biotechnology can be found in the biotech clusters of California and the northeast of the USA. Europe is home to many pharmaceutical companies with vast international expertise. If at all possible, you should have on your team at least one member that has lived and worked in one of the USA clusters, and another coming from an international career in industry.

Fortunately, the international appeal of Barcelona as a place to live combined with the good biomedical research and educational infrastructure means that it is relatively easy to attract qualified candidates here.

2. Collaborate across borders

Try to find and work with the best advisors and partners in your field, regardless of where they are located in the world. The combination of internet-based collaboration tools and low cost of international communication makes it easy. Do not hesitate to approach experts in the USA for your scientific advisory board. Making use of international consultants is the best way to begin building a world-class business.

Using contract research and development partners in the emerging markets of India and China is another way to boost internationalization and productivity. Many of the larger CRO's have local agents to help you get started.

Finally, consider hosting an international internship or scientific exchange program. Look to our international business schools and international research institutions for potential candidates.

3. Understand the global market

While you may not have the capacity to commercialize internationally, you should address the needs of global market in your planning to guide the development of your product or service. Do not neglect the international potential of your company in your business plan.

Read international publications. Know the metrics of the global market, even if your access to that market is highly restricted at the moment.

Travel to your collaborators and to your customers. Attend international trade shows, and benchmark your company against the market leaders.

4. Attract smart money

Consider the level of international expertise that comes with the financial resources that you are planning to attract. International and European grant projects are a source of funding that can give you access to international scientific expertise and cross-border collaborations.

If you are looking to raise capital, give preference to investors that invest internationally. It is likely that these capital partners will give you access to international contacts and expertise.

5. Use our home advantage

For all the efforts to prepare for international success, do not underestimate our local historical and cultural strengths. Catalonia possesses a unique culture and position in the world in that it has effectively engaged foreign markets throughout history and understands how economic success is driven through internationalization.

Catalonia has also learned how to leverage its unique cultural assets to be an attractive destination and good host to visitors from around the world. Your partners will enjoy the opportunity to visit. You should actively leverage this competitive advantage.

Biotech in Catalonia benefits from world-class biomedical infrastructure, a highly educated and qualified workforce. We enjoy strong institutional backing and support from the Catalan and national governments, and through our Biocat organization.

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