Marketplaces are a standard staple for many B2B industries. By connecting buyers and sellers in the digital realm, marketplaces significantly reduce dealmaking time and effort. Europe alone lists more than 1700 online marketplaces, with more than 30% aimed at business-to-business transactions.
Need to rent heavy machinery? There is a marketplace for that. Looking for warehousing space? No problem! Even in the traditionally low-tech businesses, marketplaces became a source of traditional B2B dealmaking disruption.
According to a B2B Pulse report by McKinsey & Company, two-thirds of corporate buyers now rely on digital and remote channels throughout their purchasing journey. And it’s not about low ticket purchases only. More than one-third (35 percent) now say they are willing to spend $500,000+ over a single transaction. 15 percent of corporate decision makers are comfortable making purchases worth more than $1 million online.
These figures go against the myth that big-ticket sales are the realm of in-person sales effort. In case of marketplaces, top-brass sales executives are still very much in the loop. Yet they enter the process at different touchpoints, providing deal oversight rather than initiating deals from scratch.
According to the McKinsey report, e-commerce now commands more than 18% of revenue for B2B companies, putting it on par with in-person sales. More than 80% of B2B organizations now hold digital channels to the same standard as other channels, with the highest opportunities for growth.
Despite the high-tech nature, e-commerce adoption in the pharmaceutical industry was lagging behind. Compared to other B2B sectors, only a few players tried to offer digital commerce services for consumer-ready pharmaceutical products, yet they stopped short of becoming a true digital marketplace - think databases, online indexes, product catalogs.
“We founded Pipelinepharma to provide end-to-end dealmaking service for medicines. This means that a potential buyer can discover a relevant product, connect with the right manufacturer, sign a term-sheet agreement and undertake these steps on a single digital platform”, - says CEO of Pipelinepharma Mindaugas Zagorskis.
With 20+ years in pharmaceutical commerce, Mr Zagorskis was surprised that so much dealmaking in the pharmaceutical industry took place offline - in tentpole trade shows, over broker intermediaries or personal connections.
According to Mr Zagorskis, pharmaceutical commerce has all the right ingredients for digital transformation: it is a global business with a high degree of participant specialization and regulatory oversight.
“The missing factor online was trust. By building an online pharmaceutical commerce product we had to put a strong emphasis on product data quality, buyer and seller qualification and dealmaking oversight to ensure it follows similar steps as if it happened offline”, - said Mindaugas Zagorskis.
Pipelinepharma now hosts 85.000+ CTD dossiers for finished-dosage-formulation pharmaceutical products. Over the course of 2021, the number of hosted products quadrupled (19.639 at the start of 2021, compared to 85.000 today).
“While quantity is sometimes a quality in itself, the product information on Pipelinepharma is expert-curated. It is essential to have relevant, rich and up-to-date CTD information, as any discrepancies would invalidate the deal from the very beginning”, - notes Mindaugas Zagorskis.
On Pipelinepharma every product features rich card data including GMP approvals, country of origin, dossier type, dossier status, stability data and many more. The platform also features a powerful search engine, enabling users to filter the products by any of aforementioned criteria, helping to discover relevant medicines in a few clicks.
Pipelinepharma curators also perform buyer, seller and deal qualification, leaving end-users with only relevant prospects.
“When making a request for proposal, the buyer enters preliminary data such as deal type, minimal order quantities, markets of interest. Our business development executives also review each request in order to contact relevant manufacturers”, - adds Mindaugas Zagorskis.
This results in a win-win for both parties. Depending on deal specifics, only manufacturers for which the deal would make commercial sense are contacted. For buyers it helps to get relevant offers sooner. For manufacturers it allows them to work only with high-value business prospects.
Based in the European Union, Pipelinepharma positions itself as the only true European B2B pharmaceutical marketplace.
“What makes Pipelinepharma unique is our focus on high-quality generic medicine products from European manufacturers, hosting the products of the absolute majority of EU GMP manufacturers. These products command the highest interest from buyers in LATAM, African and Asian markets, also boosting export volumes of European pharmaceutical companies”, - says Mindaugas Zagorskis.
Pipelinepharma now hosts products from 1800+ manufacturers, a double increase in a single year. It also features products from 600+ EU GMP and nearly 200 FDA manufacturers.
“With a pause on industry trade shows and ‘dealmaking as usual’, we might say that COVID-19 accelerated the digital transformation of pharmaceutical commerce. Yet with a gradual lift of COVID restrictions around the world, we are still seeing the growth in platform visitor traffic and an ever growing number of requests for proposals. Safe to say, the pharmaceutical industry is warming up to digital dealmaking”, - says Mindaugas Zagorskis.
In addition to finished-dosage-formulation products, in 2022 Pipelinepharma is planning to add two new product categories - medical devices and nutraceuticals.
“These additions will help to position Pipelinepharma as a holistic dealmaking platform for pharmaceutical products - an asset in the toolkit of every pharmaceutical business development executive”, - adds Mindaugas Zagorskis.