On-going investment in research and development (R&D) is vitally important for the continued growth and success of a company. In the rapidly evolving life science market it can provide an excellent way to future proof a product business. For our team here at TTP Labtech, it also provides us with the opportunity to apply our in-the-field learnings and valuable customer feedback to further advance our technologies to meet their needs. It also grants us access to new markets via new product developments and technology transfer opportunities. It sounds simple, yet it takes focus, dedication and commitment and the efforts of an exceptional team to make it a success.
However, R&D investment does not come without risk and you don’t need to look far to find a list of expensive failures. There are many questions to pose and answer; what area of R&D should you invest in, what is the market growth potential, does your focus address a real market need, and what is the timeframe that you should use to measure the success or market adoption of your new technology and investment? All these aspects are taken seriously and evaluated in depth by our R&D team.
Putting the theory into practice
Over the last 10 years TTP Labtech has been developing innovative automation solutions for drug discovery. In 2012 we invested heavily (£3.8 million) into R&D which has spurned a number of products for new markets, including biological sample storage and liquid handling for molecular biology applications as well as the redevelopment and advancement of some of our current products. This phase of R&D investment has been successful too, fuelling a 20% rise in revenue within 2012, despite the challenging economic conditions.
I took some time to talk to Jas Sanghera, our Managing Director here at TTP Labtech, to run through some of the strategy and thinking behind his decisions. “Many drug discovery laboratories are facing challenging circumstances that require them to continually optimise their screening strategies and harness more automation. We’re poised to embrace these changes in the environment by driving the development of solutions that meet the ever-evolving needs of our customers and applying this insight to new market sectors.” That has always been our focus at TTP Labtech, investing in the development of solutions that meet our current and prospective customers’ needs. It’s about asking your market and then listening to them.
At the end of the day, it’s not just about throwing money at your R&D, it’s about creating strong, innovative R&D teams that you trust and providing them with the tools that they need to produce fantastic products. As Jas puts it, “over the last few years, our internal R&D teams have proved time and time again to be exceptionally good at developing innovative new automated technologies that truly meet customer needs”
Where customer feedback matters
It’s also about listening to your customers, building strong relationships and working with them. Only then will you be able to meet your customers’ needs and only then will you be able to reap rewards from investment within your R&D, and build a strong reputation in the field for doing so. As Jose Quiroz, a customer of ours at Dart Neuroscience puts it, “We trust the team at TTP Labtech implicitly, they always listen to us.”