Product Commercialization
Neglected Tropical Diseases or (NTD)
Go-to-market Strategy

Developing Better Treatments to Address the Scourge of Snakebites in Africa

Olawale Ajose
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Developing Better Treatments to Address the Scourge of Snakebites in Africa

Olawale Ajose

Olawale is a product introduction and business development specialist in the healthcare sector. He leads the Global Health Practice at Market Access Africa.

Our landscape assessment validated market launch plans for a new treatment formulation, thus reducing the risks associated with introducing a product into an untested market.

Our client, a public benefit company, is developing the next generation of oral treatment that blocks the most lethal component of venom, which is present in 95% of the world’s venomous snakes. This treatment can be administered immediately, anywhere, to effectively stop the venom’s devastating assault. The company plans to launch a product in African countries on a non-profit and no-loss basis.

The Problem

Around the world, many populations live in close proximity to venomous snake species. Snakebites kill more than 120,000 people each year and leave another 400,000 with life-changing disabilities. Most victims are children and young adults who experience significant economic impact resulting from their disability. While there are over 6,000 species of venoumous snakes globally, there are approved antivenom products available for only 50% of them. 

Antivenom, a 19th-century technology, is currently the only medicine for treating snakebites; however, it is a costly solution due to the unpredictability of the market. There are no common production, safety or efficacy standards in the production of antivenom, which means there is a high risk of antivenom being contaminated and causing adverse reactions.

At present, victims of snakebite must be treated in a hospital, where emergency care is provided, often far from the rural settings where they have been bitten. This delay in getting the patient to a hospital means that treatment is often given too late to save lives and limbs. 

The Solution

Our client commissioned us to undertake a landscape assessment in two high-snakebite-burden countries in Africa – Kenya and Nigeria – to gain a deeper understanding of the current treatment gaps and potential introduction hurdles for the new formulation.

We performed a voice-of-the-customer analysis to summarize customer expectations, preferences, and aversions to the product specifications. This provided insights into the availability and affordability of antivenom  products on the market, the perceived advantages and disadvantages of the client’s product, and regulatory and policy considerations. We also analyzed the different financing options that could catalyze faster uptake of the product and the different buyer archetypes across the delivery value chain.  

The Outcome

The insights gathered from the analysis served to validate market launch plans and reduce risks associated with an untested market. Our operational plan provided critical actions for the client to undertake prior to launch, and identified relevant stakeholders to be consulted, for the product to be adopted at scale. The introduction of this treatment formulation will represent a sizeable increase in the proportion of snakebite patients who are able to receive timely, effective treatment and recover from snakebite. 

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