MSc Management alumnus, Vibin Joseph, was invited to speak about the motivation behind setting up his company at the One Young World Summit 2014.
After learning from a teacher in Africa that millions of children die from preventable diseases due to the lack of accessible vaccines, Vibin Joseph wanted to make a difference. He co-founded BIOZEEN, a company that creates open-source bioreactors and automation for vaccination production.
Today it is estimated that one in three children globally get immunised with vaccines that are produced using BIOZEEN’s technologies, and Vibin was invited to speak at the One Young World Summit, where he discussed his company and the need for open technology to be more readily available within the healthcare industry.
Increasing competition, lowering costs
Vaccine manufacturers are limited by choice and high costs. Not only due to the regulations that have to be followed, but because the technologies to produce them are owned by just a few large companies. Most vaccine manufacturers have to pay to use this technology, and using closed technologies are expensive.
BIOZEEN’s pioneering technology has introduced choice to the market. With choice, competition is inevitable. Competitors need to reduce prices, negotiate better, and as a result, lower manufacturing costs: “I came to believe that lifesaving technologies should never be closed when millions die from preventable disease. Like food, vaccines have to be a birth right. Where technologies allow, it is our responsibility to provide a healthy platform for everybody to succeed”, Vibin said.
From Vibin’s point of view, revenues should be secondary when measuring a company’s success. Setting aside concerns with profit volumes makes way for opportunities to develop more creative strategies and solutions which champions sustainability: “The creative ability to think big and wide will be unleashed when our collective focus shifts from short term indicators. Purpose with the right intentions will be the biggest driver for creating an impact.”
This philosophy has propelled BIOZEEN to become the first in its field to bring open-source automated hardware technology to the vaccine manufacturing industry.
The road to success
Applying technological possibilities to business is how he has paved the way for BIOZEEN’s success: “By instilling a sense of purpose and building a team of entrepreneurs, by redesigning and innovating manufacturing approaches, by creating a culture of collaboration, and by aligning objectives to grow as an individual, company and society – I leveraged technology and business to create an impact.”
He gives a nod to Imperial, remembering his time as a student that enabled him to unlock his potential: "Innovation is in the air at Imperial and when you breathe innovation, you become an entrepreneur. At Imperial, leveraging diversity is the DNA. The culture of cross-functional, multinational interaction is woven into its fabric. Engineering, Medicine, Business and Pure Sciences seamlessly collaborate across a hugely international student and staff community – it is a perfect breeding ground for ideas. When you leave Imperial, you are part of an ecosystem."
Empowering a generation
BIOZEEN’s mission is to continue empowering companies to manufacture affordable vaccines, focusing on long-term benefits and a sustainable future for all.
Vibin said: “People dying from preventable diseases should be history. This is our vision and we want to enable countries and companies to manufacture therapeutics that are accessible to the whole of humanity. Towards achieving this, we will collaborate, cooperate, keep technologies open for all and be humane and fair.”
He added: “This is my story. David can win against Goliath.”