The Story Of SupportA

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SupportA is a life sciences and business consulting firm located in Colombia that helps international clients  – from researchers to non-profits and innovative med-tech companies – understand regional markets and create strategies to implement innovative healthcare solutions in the countries of Latin America (LATAM). Our mission is to establish strong and durable bonds between international innovators and strategic partners in the local territory.

In this blog, we want to tell you the story behind SupportA, starting before our company was officially created up to the growing face we are currently experiencing. 

The First Steps  –  Before Establishing SupportA as a Company

This story begins in 2018. At that time, our founder and general manager, Laura Bohorquez was finishing her PhD at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She had spent years understanding bacterial biology with the goal of finding therapeutic targets for new antibiotics. However, Laura knew that she wanted to bring to the clinical application the knowledge she generated.

Laura had a particular interest in working with companies that were investing in Research and Development (R&D) and had innovative products that could help solve problems in Latin America. She started looking for opportunities as a consultant because she perceived that these companies usually encountered difficulties in understanding the legal and regulatory frameworks, and cultural nuance differences of the LATAM countries. During that search, she got in contact with a consulting company called PN Value, which had a challenge that fitted Laura’s profile.

PN value had a client called BluSense Diagnostics that had developed a point-of-care tool to detect infectious tropical diseases in blood. This technology was very well established in Asia and the company had the interest of accessing Latin America. 

They needed someone who could understand the local regulatory framework, as well as establishing scientific dialogue with opinion leaders for product testing, and commercial dialogue with key partners in the region. Laura started working with BluSense Diagnostics, providing market analysis and epidemiological data from different LATAM countries, as well as a strategic plan for maximum market acceptance. BluSense Diagnostics liked her preliminary work so much that they asked her to get involved in implementing the strategic plan. This was the beginning of a long lasting relationship.

“Our collaboration with Laura, at SupportA, has been highly professional, showing her dedication, commitment and diligence throughout her work.

A solid achievement throughout our collaboration has been to successfully register our BluBox and ViroTrack products in the region and, thanks to Laura’s smooth discussions with main stakeholders, to start and execute clinical performance evaluation studies of our diagnostics products in Colombia.”

BluSense Diagnostics

In 2019, Laura decided to go back to her native country  –  Colombia, and kept supporting BluSense Diagnostics to access the LATAM countries, and collaborating with PN Value in different consulting projects. 

The Need for Consulting Firms In Latin America  –  Founding SupportA

During this time, Laura realized that there was a need for consultants who understood the local LATAM market and who had a strong knowledge of R&D, as well as the commercial and regulatory aspects involved in creating and implementing a successful healthcare product. 

She discussed this need with her long time colleague and scientist, Juan Carlos García, and together, they decided to found a new consulting firm in Colombia. They called it Support Advisors (SupportA). Soon, the company started growing and working with new clients.

In 2020, SupportA was approached by the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), a non-profit organization with global presence, who needed consultants for clinical studies and projects focused on strategies to improve the diagnosis of neglected tropical diseases, such as Chagas Disease, in Latin America. These new projects further expanded the clinical research management services provided by SupportA.

“We have been working with Laura at SupportA, from 2020. Even though it was the first time that Laura worked on Chagas Disease, and with several of the study teams of our projects, she has shown the necessary initiative and has been working independently with limited input from our side to manage and execute successfully our projects.

We would like to continue working with Laura and the SupportA team as our diagnostic consultants in LATAM.”

FIND

This recent growth warranted a new team member. So, in 2020, SupportA welcomed Ricardo Wilches to the team. Laura and Ricardo had met during their academic years in Europe. They had common contacts that had experience in academia and industry, which allowed them to meet each other and share ideas. They bonded over wanting to go back to Colombia after studying in Europe and jumping to industry from academia. Ricardo initially started doing market analyses in the healthcare sector for SupportA’s clients.

The Current Landscape and what the Future Holds

At the beginning of 2021, SupportA had established long-lasting relationships with its clients, all of which had continued to expand their projects in Latin America over time. The team was also approached by a new client called ValueConnected, a consultancy firm based in the Netherlands, Germany, and Brazil, whose main clients are biotech companies in the healthcare industry. Laura and Ricardo started working with their clients that were interested in establishing dialogue with key stakeholders in the region, and developing strategic market access plans to guarantee funding and reimbursement of innovative medical devices for the diagnosis of cancer and rare diseases, and for the treatment of cardio-vascular diseases and neurodegenerative conditions. 

ValueConnected was very pleased with the strategic local plans developed by SupportA’s team and decided to establish a long-term partnership with SupportA. During this process, Ricardo has emerged as our lead consultant for market access.

“We completely recommend the SupportA team as consultants to others. They have a strong technical understanding and business acumen. We had excellent communication and mutual understanding.

We would like to continue working with Ricardo, Laura and the SupportA team as our market access consultants in Colombia.”

Value Connected

A couple of months ago, we incorporated Alejandra Viviescas to our team. Alejandra and Ricardo have known each other since 2017 and have previously worked together in different projects focused on scientific communication. Alejandra has extensive experience in medical writing and currently focuses on content development and social media management.

Through SupportA’s history, we keep seeing the need that different kinds of clients have for consultants who understand both the R&D and commercial sides of healthcare products, and also have an understanding of the cultural nuances intrinsic to Latin America. This led us to create the specific profile of SupportA’s consultants.

Recruiting consultants who fit this profile allows us to create the strategic plans that specifically address the needs of each client, and that lead to long lasting relationships where we become not only trusted advisors but an extension of their own teams. We are very excited to see our company continue to grow and to contribute to bringing innovative and exciting technologies to the LATAM market.

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    Author: Alejandra Viviescas, PhD
    Alejandra is Content and Social Media Manager at SupportA. She has 7+ years of research experience in biochemistry, cellular biology, and tropical diseases, as well as as 3+ years of experience in medical writing, project management, and relationship building with though leaders in different industry sectors. Her passion is to help close the knowledge gap between academic research and the general public to achieve innovative solutions that benefit society.