– Nestor Rava, CEO – Argentina
The CEO and one of the founders of Lexel explains how the company adapts its medical devices to the specifications required by their international customers.
Why did Lexel enter into the medical device market and most important, where did you see the opportunities when creating this company?
From the introduction of one medical device into the market – which is incidentally still our best seller today, we have been developing different kinds of products in the country, where the medical device market is relatively untouched. There was a niche to supply, and we decided that we wanted to be the suppliers. Today, Lexel Argentina is dedicated to the research, development and production of health products, specifically, the production of medical devices. We are present in the Argentinian market since 1990. Some years later, in 1997, we started our international expansion across the MERCOSUR countries.
Could you please tell us what have been the main milestones for Lexel in the last five years?
Our main achievement is linked to our main specialization, LIVe products: Lexel In Vitro experience. LIVe is a wide range of probes for fluorescent in-situ hybridization (FISH), designed for various applications in molecular cytogenetics. All of them are registered in the National Administration of Drugs, Food and Medical Technology (ANMAT) and have CE approval (European Conformity).
The LIVe probes’ specific DNA sequences are labelled with fluorescent molecules, designed to hybridize with high specificity and efficiency to its target regions. And thanks to the high specific activity of our products, it is possible to obtain results with just 30 minutes of hybridization, allowing for multiple reactions in a single day. This versatility in terms of hybridization times means presentations can be combined (5, 10 and 20 trials), which positions LIVe as an excellent option when choosing reagents for fish.
On top of that, Lexel Argentina was the first Argentinian company able to develop devices like integra espellum per obesity. We have been always focused our efforts specialty technology products.
Which are the main growth drivers of your company?
Lexel Argentina is developing a new device for our obesity line: the idea is to manufacture a device which can reduce the weight and track Type 2 diabetes. Having said that, oncology and in vitro devices for fluorescence techniques, fecundation and cancer diagnosis have been always been our top selling products.
What are your ambitions when it comes to manufacturing?
Lexel Argentina has one manufacturing plant with GMP standards, that has been operating since 2003. The facility meets the highest quality standards: ISO9001, 2000, ISO13485, 2003 and Good Manufacturing Practice, and our products have the approval of the European community CE 0473. Actually, we just signed a specific credit line with the government to build another floor. The upgrade of the plant should be completed by the end of 2015.
How well is Lexel working at international level?
Our commercialization is slower than expected, as we have been mainly investing our money and time in the research and the development of medical devices. We are constantly looking for partnerships with both international and local companies that have already market share. We provide the products, the technical support and the training. We are looking for distributors. We need to do an aggressive job on promoting ourselves as the partner of choice.
In terms of exports, 40 percent of our revenues come from international sales. The markets where we are exporting today are India, Pakistan, Germany, Italy and Tunisia: unexpected countries for medical technology made in Argentina. Then, obviously, we are present in most of the countries of Latin America, including Mexico and Brazil, the most important markets in the region.
In any case, all of our products are perceived very well everywhere. We meet all specifications. Quality is our culture and lifestyle. Every single country has recognized us for our outstanding accomplishment on high international standards.
Working in such a specific niche, does Lexel have any competition?
Contrary to global trends, we have no competition in our chosen market segments with Singaporean, Indian or Chinese companies. However, we do compete with German and American companies, such as B-Braun and Baxter. As we mentioned before, we really work hard to keep the company in specific segments, where competition is smaller.
How do you expect to see Lexel in five years, and what are your overall ambitions?
Continuous improvement is the basis of all our business processes: this is what we expect to always be able to provide. Moreover, the upgrade of our plant will be definitely consolidate our business and, portfolio wise, our goal is to develop two to three new products or lines in the coming five years.