The biotech Vitro is one of the clear examples of how the coronavirus can transform a business in just a few months. Founded three decades ago in Seville, it specializes in the manufacture, development and distribution of products for the diagnosis of diseases , such as high-quality reagents and equipment and oftware for hospital laboratories .
In the month of March of last year, the Spanish woman stopped her usual activity due to the paralysis of many tests and treatments in hospitals due to the advance of the coronavirus.
Vitro sources explain to elEconomista that the company “reacted decisively and very positively to the pandemic. We have reoriented all our R & D & I efforts to develop and market five new Covid diagnostic tests within six months.
This effort to help hospitals and clinical analysis laboratories manage the pandemic has helped us to validate a new fully automated infectious disease diagnosis platform and has allowed us to enter the Covid diagnostic segment and offset the decline in consumption of other types of diagnostic tests, negatively affected by the need for the health system to dedicate all its resources to the diagnosis and management of the pandemic “.
In this sense, the business of clinical diagnosis has experienced strong growth in the last decade at the national level, in the heat of an increasingly aging population and with an increase in self-diagnosis techniques.
However, according to the sector’s employers’ association, the joint turnover volume has barely varied from 2008 to 2018 and stands at around 1 billion euros . At least, until the arrival of the pandemic in the country.
Faced with this, ” Vitro has increased its turnover more than 50% , in a diversified way both nationally and internationally, thanks to the rapid development of a portfolio of innovative and differential products to help manage the pandemic at a diagnostic level,” they explain from Seville. However, the growth of Vitro’s business is not exclusively due to the pandemic, but has been in the making for years.
In 2017, the biotechnology company opened its shareholding to GED , a Spanish venture capital fund that took 51% of its capital . From his hand, the Sevillian company has grown strongly in recent years both organically and inorganically.
The management team and the founders remained with 49%. Now, when asked about their plans, Vitro points out that ” in the short term , we have the objective of replacing Covid diagnostic productsby other new diagnostic tests for other infectious diseases, since almost all clinical analysis laboratories worldwide already have more and better means for the diagnosis of infectious diseases.
Additionally, we are going to launch a new pathological anatomy diagnostic platform with which we hope to have a competitive advantage over the large multinational companies in the sector. Finally, we are going to strengthen our new subsidiary for the sale of diagnostic services to corporate clients and end users, offering our new tests to monitor the effectiveness of immunization of Covid vaccines , and of women’s health services “.
Regarding internationalization , one of its pillars of growth, the company highlights that “we are going to establish a new subsidiary in Turkey, from which we will develop the local market and expand our distribution network in Africa and the Middle East .
We will continue to grow in Latin America. , where we will surely make an acquisition to expand our commercial presence in the area. And finally, we will begin to plan our arrival in the North American market with the help of a marketing and commercialization agreement that we will sign in the coming weeks with a leading company within the diagnostic services segment “.
Regarding their learning of the pandemic, Vitro highlights “the importance of having a team spirit and a common vision as a company. All Vitro staff worked day and night for months to develop and market new products and technologies with which to better manage the pandemic.
That gave us the opportunity to develop new technologies that now allow us to compete much more effectively against the leading companies in the market. Reinforce our investment in R & D & iIt has also allowed Vitro to have a growth platform on which to enhance and grow our current turnover in a much more solid and faster way than before the pandemic. That is the main lesson for us, the profitability and importance of developing an R + D + i policy with the largest and best resources available.