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There are about six large public companies and about 60 small to medium sized businesses, mainly privately owned, developing and promoting separation and purification technologies. Every year, a handful of new companies enter the market and every year a handful of companies are taken over by larger companies. They disappear from the market.
Large publicly traded chromatography companies prefer to work with large life science companies and control the market through exclusive contracts with their clients. They often create novel product platforms. From that they create market specific brands and protect the brand name through trade marks. They sponsor research projects in universities.
Small and medium-sized private chromatography companies often create new technologies together with small to medium-sized customers. They invest their profits in internal research and diversification. The relationship between the technical staff and the customer is often strong and productive because both parties learn from each other. This is lucrative for all concerned.
Venture capitalized start-ups are controlled by investors who seek to maximize their investments quickly. Those companies are forced to comply with complex confidentiality agreements and formal structures. We have followed the progress of such companies for many years, most of them are failing in the first or second year.
We have negotiated with many startups. However, we require that the company has a technically competent and happy owner who owns most of the business. In addition, its products must be unique and have a multitude of customers worldwide.
We get regular quotes and collaboration enquiries from me-too companies. They claim is to be more competitive than others. Such offers come mainly from companies in coutries with low labor costs. In dynamic low cost countries salaries and wages continuously raise until these providers can no longer compete with manufacturers from countries with high labor costs who work with depreciated production facilities. In addition, the price difference between established suppliers and suppliers of Me-too companies is often marginal. The cost of change and the associated risk often justify no change.
We are analysing Me-too suppliers for years. Anyone who advances their products / tools in terms of quality and innovation will become interesting partners for us, especially if we can work together to create specialized products.