NAITA hosts Biotech Export Contest at HudsonAlpha

The North Alabama International Trade Association (NAITA) held the inaugural NAITA Export Launch Initiative at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology on April 11, 2019. The pitch competition encouraged and awarded biotech companies for developing a plan for exporting to a foreign market of their selection.

SynVivo took home the grand prize

“NAITA is pleased to partner with HudsonAlpha and the Export Alabama Alliance to work with the phenomenal life sciences companies of this unique place. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of helping the amazing [innovative and] life-saving technologies represented in the competition to reach markets around the globe! We look forward to seeing them grow and stand ready to continue to share resources to make expanded exports possible for these and other companies at the Institute,” said NAITA President Jimmy Cahill.

The Export Alabama Alliance, including the U.S. Commercial Service, Alabama Department of Commerce, Alabama International Trade Center (AITC), and Madison County Commission joined together with NAITA to showcase the value to small businesses of resources and research offered by these international business service providers.

This consortium provided foreign market research at no cost to the bioscience startups, so each company could identify a market and identify next steps to entering it. Examples included visits to potential distributors, protecting intellectual property before expansion, targeted online marketing, and translation services.

SynVivo, a resident associate company at HudsonAlpha, represented by Gwen Fewell, Chief Commercial Officer, won the Export Launch Initiative grand prize of $5,000 to assist in expansion of sales of their proprietary tissue/organ-on-chip models and microfluidic devices in the European Union.

In addition, BioDynami and GeneCapture, also located on HudsonAlpha’s campus,  participated in the contest that was judged by a panel of international business and export experts including NAITA President Jimmy Cahill, Panalpina; Debbie McGee, PZI International Consulting; Eddie Midgett, ADTRAN; Dr. Matthew Parker, Maynard, Cooper & Gale; and Ed Deitz, AITC.

Peggy Sammon, CEO of GeneCapture and current chair of the state’s bioscience trade association BioAlabama thanked NAITA, “for giving the companies a planning process and deadline and assisting with information and resources needed to put export plans in place.”

Fewell agreed, noting the importance of defining and refining the marketing approach commercial strategy for new and expanding markets. “Taking time to analyze and understand the geographic markets where our sales successes are greatest, coupled with current market share research, helped us quickly  develop a strategy.”  

“Assisting biotech companies of all sizes and stages is our mission at HudsonAlpha, so we were pleased to collaborate with NAITA and Export Alabama Alliance” said Amy Sturdivant, Director of Business Recruitment for the 152-acre biotech campus. HudsonAlpha has more than 40 biotech companies, growing from two to 150 employees, on its campus.