Company: Laboratorios Sophia, plc, with variable capital.
Industrial sector: Pharmaceutical-Ophthalmologic
Activities: Development, manufacture and distribution of ophthalmic drugs
Number of employees: 350
Annual sales: 47 million dollars
Laboratorios Sophia is a company that heavily relies on research and development (R&D) and the protection of the results through the intellectual property system. The company has a high level of participation in the national market for opthalmological products, and has been awarded various national and international prizes for its R&D work and recognized by WIPO as an innovative company that uses the industrial property system.
Laboratorios Sophia, plc, with variable capital, is a Mexican company founded by Mr. Pablo Jiménez Camarena in the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco in 1946, and whose son is Mr. Arturo Jiménez Bayardo, the current owner and Managing Director of the Company.
The company operates mainly in the domestic market, in the private and health sectors (government sales), and also exports to countries in Central America, South America, the Caribbean and Germany. It plans shortly to enter markets in the United States and Europe.
The majority of its competitors are multinational firms such as Alcon, Allergan, CibaVision and Pfizer, and is the leading company in terms of sales in Mexico with a market share of 36 per cent.
As a company, it continually seeks innovation in terms of products and services with the latest technology and always endeavors to respect the environment. similarly, we seek the generation of utilities so that they may serve as a platform for the growth of the company itself, our staff and society by generating jobs and economic resources.
In 1991, the Research and Development Department was set up and in 2003 the Directorate of Science, incorporating the Departments of Research and Development, Medicine and Regulatory Matters, was established and subsequently devised the Strategic Technology Plan. The company’s Managing Director and Directorate General are convinced that the research and development of new products are fundamental to the organization’s survival, as well as in terms of complementing product lines and making an entry into new markets. The Department currently has 20 members of staff.
The graph below contains details of the technology management processes that the company has established, an essential part of which is that relating to the concept of intellectual property protection.
Model of the Five Processes for Technology Management
The Model shown describes how the first stage of the process is to identify the technological requirements, based on monitoring of technology, which includes information sources such as patents, information banks, market studies, knowledge of competition and technology trends. Subsequently, development projects are selected, based on a perfectly documented feasibility analysis. Once the project is approved it undergoes the acquisition or development stage, whereby work schedules are drawn up and representatives and agreed dates assigned. Once the project is complete, the next stage is to launch the product or technology, and consequently to use the technology and devise marketing technique and sales strategies for this purpose. Protection is provided as the project advances and information is generated, through the registration of the trademark, patent, slogan, promotional product designs and so on.
As a result of the process of economic and commercial expansion in Mexico in the past few years, Laboratorios Sophia has encountered a globalized and highly competitive environment. That being the case, it has focused its efforts strongly on research and development so as to improve continuously its processes, products and services that allow competitive advantages to be gained and translated into benefits for users and consumers.
The Company’s Directorate of Science is tasked with researching and developing technologies that stand out in the ophthalmic sector owing to their leadership, and provide health and well-being for the human eye by covering the needs and expectations of doctors and patients.
The company has a research and development laboratory covering approximately 175 m2, with areas designed for physicists and chemists, analytical instruments, microbiology, a storage area for samples as well as one for incubators, and a laminar flow room. The company has a team of analysts using high technology such as chromatographs for liquids and gases, spectrum photometers for ultra-violet and infra-red light, a differential scanning calorimeter, and so on.
Laboratorios Sophia operates with a technological strategy that allows it to be highly competitive and where new products represent a high percentage of total sales (see graph). New products have been developed and launched onto the market, including drugs that have been innovations at the global level, since they are products unique in the market in terms of their design, development and/or presentation.
The organization’s interest in industrial property is a matter of priority, since it is aware that the products in its area of research and development should be protected. It employs staff and advisors dedicated to monitoring, on a permanent basis, innovative products by means of the research it undertakes. The technological information search system is used constantly in the different databases available. Laboratorios Sophia is aware of the need to keep the knowledge of its staff up to date, for which reason they undertake training courses on industrial property on a frequent basis.
One of the emblematic products of Laboratorios Sophia is that described below, which emphasizes the benefits derived from traditional knowledge. Manzanilla has been used traditionally in Mexico since time immemorial as an infusion for stomach and spasm-related troubles, for skin use and as a remedy for eye diseases.
An ophthalmic solution based on Manzanilla in the group of drugs on open sale.
Recommended to relax and alleviate tension caused by tired eyes, providing an immediate sensation of well-being. Also functions as a cleanser of natural origin, decongestant, astringent, emollient, softener, anti-inflammatory and relaxing product.
This product is the first of its kind that uses the traditional medicine of our ancestors and it has aroused the interest of various international companies that wish to license it. It is currently exported to Germany in single-dose 0.5 ml packs.
An aqueous ophthalmic solution of cyclosporine for treating dry eyes. Given its level of innovation, the method for producing Modusik-A Ofteno® is currently subject to the patent procedure and its clinical value is reflected in the safety, innocuousness and treatment for patients; its pharmaceutical value lies in the development of an aqueous vehicle that enables the cyclosporine to be made soluble, a significant advantage in relation to what has been released previously, and which translates into greater comfort for topical application to the eyes.
Among the successes achieved as a result of the Strategic Technology Plan, the Research and Development Department created a novel system for transporting ophthalmic drugs, which has the particular feature of reducing the heat when applying an ophthalmic solution to the eye.
The development of Sophisen and its application in globally innovative ophthalmic products has allowed Laboratorios Sophia to become the leader in the ophthalmological market.
The patents granted to Sophisen are:
- OPHTHALMIC CARRIER SOLUTION: MX 204,310
- OPHTHALMIC CARRIER SOLUTION: US 6,071,958
- OPHTHALMIC CARRIER SOLUTION: EP 0 868 909 A2
- OPHTHALMIC CARRIER SOLUTION: DE 698 09 489 T2
In addition, 10 products are also subject to patent procedures, all of them in the field of ophthalmological medicine.
Laboratorios Sophia is a classic case of a medium-sized enterprise where intellectual property is a fundamental part of the company’s philosophy, since it is present in the form of patents, trademarks, copyright, traditional knowledge and technological information searches.
The results of the research carried out by Laboratorios Sophia has earned the company a number of prizes which are described below:
As a result of technology management, globally innovative products have been obtained in the ophthalmic market and Laboratorios Sophia was awarded the 2000 National Technology Prize in the medium-sized industrial enterprises category.
On December 8, 2003, Laboratorios Sophia received a trophy and a certificate from the World Intellectual Property Organization, which is awarded to innovative companies that use the industrial property system and place their inventions at the service of humanity.
On March 29, 2004, Laboratorios Sophia received the 2004 CANIFARMA prize for its research work and technological innovation. With this prize, the National Pharmaceutical Industry Chamber recognized companies carrying out research in Mexico.