After recently signing a service level agreement with Mérieux NutriSciences in May 2015, Bertrand Baudot, Managing Director of QuantiLAB explains the company’s plans for the future. He also discusses the challenges and, more importantly, highlights the various opportunities in the Healthcare and Life Sciences sector on Mauritius.

In its first year of operation, QuantiLAB, established in March 2014, signed a service level agreement with Mérieux NutriSciences; a major achievement. How do you explain such a milestone at such an early age for the company?

Three factors led us to this rapid success: our experience, the quality of our services and hard work.

Although we established the brand of QuantiLAB in 2014, we already had more than 20 years of experience as a laboratory, specialising in complex analytical testing and sampling services. QuantiLAB has evolved from the Mauritius Turf Club Laboratory, which was founded in 1986. We are, in this context, a state-of-art laboratory, with an ambition to become a true global player; and with the means to do so based on our experience.

Another asset of QuantiLAB is the level of quality that we provide to our customers. We are ISO17025 (General requirements for the competence of testing laboratories) accredited; and our impartiality and conformity in all our inspection activities, adhere to the standard of ISO17020.

Our unique team is the foundation of our success. We moved to our new location, at the BioPark, because this modern, bigger laboratory allowed us to enhance our capabilities and hence our opportunities. We now have two new departments – Microbiology, and Inorganic Chemistry. We work in a fully-equipped, high ceiling laboratory on 870m². Prior to completion, we had to suspend our ISO17025 accreditation, until all equipment was operational. My team brought us to the required standards, for full re-accreditation, in only three weeks—an outstanding effort.

This combination of factors is what makes us a unique laboratory; and attractive to Mérieux NutriSciences.

What has been the rationale behind the partnership with Mérieux NutriSciences?

The partnership with Mérieux NutriSciences enhances our global reach; demonstrates our capabilities; and our commitment to quality. As I said, we want to be a full-service provider for our clients. Through this partnership, we extended our service offering to the hospitality and production sector with Merieux’s long experience in food safety (HACCP, ISO 22000, FSSC 22000, BRC, GLOBAL GAP, Auditing, Training and Consulting).

In Mérieux NutriSciences we have a partner which complements our strategy to become a global laboratory. It provides us with cross-border client recognition and confidence; the global market is our goal!

Now that the partnership agreement is accomplished, what are QuantiLAB’s next steps?

Our ambition is to be a premium lab that provides full service to its clients. To achieve this, we constantly work on developing, expanding and accrediting our portfolio of laboratory methods available to clients. We now have more than 110 accredited methods; and are developing and validating more new methods. After this technical development stage, we will extend our marketing even further on the global stage.

As we progress with the development of our portfolio, we have developed close relationships with our clients and partners in France, China, Switzerland, Belgium, Qatar, India, South Africa and Reunion; which demonstrates our increasing success in the global market.

Another major QuantiLAB goal is to improve our expertise with the addition of young and ambitious Mauritian scientists. This will facilitate our aim of global expansion. My current team is a unique blend; it comprises of thirteen recent Mauritian graduates and ten experienced overseas graduates. Together we take pride in shaping our country’s development. 

I am confident that QuantiLAB will see exponential growth in the very near future. The financial forecast in five years’ time suggests an estimated turnover of MUR 190 million (USD six million) and a profit of MUR 70 million (USD two million).

Does the company’s base in Mauritius create challenges for its international development?

In my experience, when looking at a service provider like QuantiLAB, a client is interested in the competence of the laboratory and the quality of its service. It is very easy to send samples to us, apart for microbiology analysis; other categories of samples can easily be shipped at very low costs using express courier services. Our work does not start with the receipt of samples at QuantiLAB. It starts well before, helping the client with permits and other  administrative work; to make life much easier.

Our approach, at QuantiLAB, helps me shape my clients’ and partners’ perception of Mauritius. My mission is to communicate the vision of a country rooted in the values of multiculturalism, multilingualism, consolidation and tolerance. I believe my team is a microcosm of Mauritius; that exhibits all these qualities. This allows me to be an effective spokesperson for Mauritius, and for our fantastic potential.

How do you assess the government’s recent emphasis on public-private sector collaboration as a key instrument for Mauritius’ economic development?

Mauritius is on the verge of a prolonged development period, which will sustainably transform our economy into one that allows new industries to prosper. Our newly elected government understands the significance of this transformation process, and supports it with its full capacities.   

The prioritisation of public-private sector collaboration – a core component of our government’s strategy – will result in unique growth opportunities for the private sector. In return, the private sector will utilize public sector incentives, to drive the desired evolution. An example is the Socota Phoenicia BioPark. This private sector investment created a state-of-art Biotech-Hub, which strongly supports local businesses to advance in the Healthcare and Life-sciences sector.

With the current development of public-private partnership, I firmly believe that the economic transformation process will be very successful.

Emerging industries depend on the quality of human resources. What are the specific human resource challenges on Mauritius?

A good thing is that our dependence on expatriates is declining; as the local workforce becomes more qualified for employment in the Healthcare and Life Sciences sectors.

The tertiary education sector in Mauritius, however, has to improve to fulfil the human resource requirements of this sector. QuantiLAB is aware of this challenge; and we are collaborating with the University of Mauritius to further improve tertiary education in Mauritius. 

What is the core message that you would like to be heard around the world?

Understand Mauritius’ unique offerings to the Healthcare and Life Sciences sector; enter the vibrant Mauritian market and take part in the transformation of the Mauritian economy. We are a country of constant development, energy, tolerance, multiculturalism and beauty.

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