Macuvision Europe Ltd is the supplier of Macushield, a patented dietary supplement product for the maintainence of macular health and prevention of the progression of macular disease – the single biggest cause of blindness in those over 50
Macuvision’s business approach is to grow by market education, through distribution – both in the UK and targeted overseas markets – and via customer acquisition through partnership with opticians and partners.
Macuvision was faced with five challenges:
- Replicating their success in Eire throughout the UK and in other new markets by understanding and overcoming barriers to entry.
- Deciding on whether to seek external investment or to grow organically.
- Identifying new routes to market.
- Clarifying, working through the implications of and then ensuring MacuVision meets the new EU registration requirements for their eyecare supplement
- Preparing for growth and to manage the risks faced by fast-growing small businesses
During the first intervention MacuVision was provided support in the form of desk-based research to further clarify the regulations governing MacuShield, MacuVision’s lead product. An introduction was also made to Leo Dunne, the manager of the TVIN Business Angel Investment Network who was able to talk to the directors about investment options and the implications. Finally an introduction was made to a company in the SE, Zeon Healthcare - also a client of Oxford Innovation - under a SE business support programme. Zeon have experience of challenges similar to those faced by MacuVision and have been willing to share their knowledge. This relationship has developed and is now formalized in a distribution agreement.
During the second intervention, Oxford Innovation completed the following tasks:
- Assessing major potential risks faced by MacuVision through their next growth stage and development of a management accounting tool to help identify and quantify those risks, AND a framework within which to consider competition
- Drawing on research and interviews with industry figures to advise on marketing strategy, and to confirm the validity of MacuVision’s marketing focus - gaining clinical authority through trials reporting and support from thought leaders, to influence ophthalmologists and opticians
- Identifying new potential business models and routes to market
- Advising on patent rights’ value, decisions on how to pursue these rights and best value
- Accessing a regulatory expert at Oxford Innovation for fuller guidance on new EU regulation
- Preparing a marketing brief and giving feedback on a presentation from a PR agency; Outlining what a strategic marketing plan might look like and its purpose
- Identifying potential partners, distributors and routes to identify distribution in potential markets in Northern Europe, MENA and South American markets. (This included representing MacuVision at a healthcare event in the Gulf).
Trevor says of the support that he has received: ”Thanks for your considerable help and in particular for the strategic work around forward risks, management accounts, strategic marketing and the introductions - including to overseas distributors, the CEO of Optegra and a former major pharmacy chain strategy lead (where as you know we are in final negotiations in waters as yet unchartered for us). I hope we may find ways to continue this most helpful relationship”.
MacuVision is rationalising its distribution via opticians in the UK. Separately, Zeon Healthcare is now retailing MacuShield in the UK through pharmacy channels, high street retail including supermarkets, online pharmacy channels and their own website. MacuVision is also negotiating with one of the major pharmacy chains for distribution later this year, in talks with some pharmacy groups with coverage across Europe and expanding overseas distribuition in Europe and beyond. It has also undertaken a survey amongst opticians which indicates how the brand is closing on the brand leader, and a strategic marketing plan that has identified future opportunities and a roadmap forwards. Sales have grown by 100% in the last 2 years and further growth of 50% is anticipated in the next 2 years.
Lead Coach/Mentor: Hugo Tewson
Entrepreneur: Trevor McCormack