Mar 23, 2017
FMD K&L Armenia: The Armenian Biotech Success Story
FMD K&L is a Contract Research Organization (CRO) offering Data Management, Biostatistics, Statistical Programming, and a range of other services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries worldwide. The Armenian story of FMD K&L started when the Head of Operations at FMD K&L Europe, Kirit Velani came to Armenia to find two employees for the company. However, he ended up creating a team of about 100 people in Armenia. We’ve spoken with Mr. Velani and Karapet Davtyan, Clinical Study Manager at FMD K&L Europe, about the current state of biotech in Armenia and its future.
WA: What’s Medical IT all about?
Medical IT has many aspects. In our company, we are mainly engaged in data management, biostatistical analyses, SAS and R programming. We can of course use a wide range of other programming languages, but these languages are of a special interest required by our clients to perform data processing and biostatistical analyses. Our clients are mainly pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies as well as other CROs seeking for efficient solutions for their service delivery. We help pharma and biotech companies to implement drug delivery to the market by assuring the drug under investigation is safe and efficacious. As a result of comprehensive investigation and research of the safety and efficacy of the drug we end up with big and wide data, where we really need to apply rigorous data management rules, standardized way of data mapping and high speed statistical computational software.
WA: What’s your key to success?
One reason why we’ll always have success delivering services anywhere is our ability to build all the skills required for organizations working in this sphere in Armenia. What we are looking for here is a good and reliable supply of technically competent people.
We’ve been in this industry for 22 years. Our client base is huge for this particular reason. And when we approach companies and they try at least a pilot program with us, the reaction is usually like, “Great, you did well with eight people, and now we want 30 people onboard.”
WA: How do Armenians contribute to FMD K&L Global?
Armenia is a perfect location for Medical IT. Firstly, it has a huge supply of skilled mathematicians. The Armenian brain is geared for analytical thinking. Great chess players, great logic: All these key elements make up people who are perfect for this type of programming. The meticulous attention to detail, the tidiness, and work practice is always there, too. The quality of work I get from Armenians is great. And there is also a sense of pride within Armenia. All of these things are pluses for the Medical IT sphere. We have an endless demand for this type of work. The cost differentiation between the West and Armenia is quite large, too, so there is high profitability and competitiveness for us in offering our services to large multinational companies. What this means for us is that we have an endless demand for work. For example, the demand in China is so great that they have to look at other delivery centers outside of China to meet that demand.
Though there is a huge demand, there are also huge competitors. This is a field where business and education are integrated and where scientists are working for the business. This is where Armenia could be considered a much better supplier than the others.
WA: How do you see the future of Medical IT in Armenia? What are the biggest challenges at the moment?
The biggest challenge is that when companies come to Armenia, the infrastructure is still not adequate. That’s a challenge. Also, a milder tax policy and more support from the government would create many more opportunities for the growth of the sphere; so, the challenges are having the proper infrastructure, tax policy, and other prerequisites necessary for managing the biotech industry and growing it properly.