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L.F. 18/01/2010


Article translated from French to English

In the past 10 years, Odyscience deals and manages the sales of spin-offs which are the key issues these compagnies often face with. Today, it operates on 21 countries and has a network of more than 850 companies.

“Let’s be realistic; the world has not waited for Walloon spin-offs to make biotech.” For Jean-Michel Longtin, although the “made in Belgium” label is generally well perceived, “we should not rest on our laurels, especially when we see the capability of countries like India and Brazil in terms of technological developments”.

The owner of Odyscience is among those who say it loud and clear: “I am a sales man and I like that!” “In Walloon small companies, we know that our companies should be developed, but we usually do not realize the importance of sales, which is not an academic subject matter. In fact, the understanding of international trade is not obtained by simply sitting in front of a computer screen!” For him, sales are a very rigorous job.

Formed ten years ago, the company specialized in supporting life sciences SMEs which are interested to develop their operations in international markets. Business is not just about consulting. It is also about going to the field and obtaining contracts and at the same time, to set up monitoring of the market trends. “Sometimes, I come back with information which help companies to better position themselves in the market or better prepare their product by taking into account the latest regulations, which evolve considerably on the market of life sciences.”

After several years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, where he worked his way up the ladder, from medical rep to Sales Manager, Jean-Michel Longtin saw the necessity to create Odyscience. I have always dreamed to form my own company and to make international trade.” Without any global international network at the beginning, the first years were rather difficult. “The true turning point happened in 2004, with the beginning of a project for BioXtract, a spin-off of the agronomic University of Gembloux. For this company, I developed the sales and marketing strategy of the food supplements range.”BioXtract remains his best memory. I am happy to see that the strategic decisions we made were the good ones, and that today, the spin-off has expanded in about fifteen countries worldwide.”

Meanwhile, Jean-Michel Longtin was also approved by Awex as specialist in international trade for life sciences. I think that it is more and more crucial to supervise the spin-offs as early as possible. The public is often time not, skeptical with these companies, but these companies simply operate with the resources they have. We cannot ask a young entrepreneur to be a Bill Gates if we never taught him what it takes to have a strategic vision.”



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