Martyn Hanlon, commercial director of Redd&Whyte
ABOUT THE COMPANY : Redd&Whyte was founded to develop a range of products and services that would provide improved efficiency and effectiveness of operations within the life science industry. Redd&Whyte strives to bring new and innovative solutions to many of the problems currently facing the scientific community. It is committed to meeting customers’ changing needs with unique answers to the challenges associated with the industries emerging technologies.
Working in partnership with our customers, it ensures it fully understands their needs, and this drives the company forward. The company dedicated to technology, innovation and quality which are the lifeblood of our company.It works in partnership with organisations that match the core competencies it requires on a project by project basis. This technique has already delivered a number of highly successful products and businesses. Key areas of expertise include: Fluid handling, POC, HTS and Drug Discovery nano dispensers. Redd&Whyte’s products are manufactured in state-of-the-art facilities. Its vision is to turn over in excess of £100m within five years. 1. I understand there is an interesting story behind the name Redd&Whyte. How did it come about?When deciding the company name, the marketing team managing the project was asked to come up with something memorable and different within the life science industry. There was to be no mention of Bio, Nano, Lab etc, and furthermore the .com had to be available. They suggested Redd and Whyte and the association with the primary colours has led to a wealth of marketing and advertising opportunities. We are often asked if the company was set up by Messrs. Redd and Whyte, but I’m afraid not.2. There is also quite a good ‘back-story’ to the development of your technology. Can you give us a thumbnail sketch?Our Preddator dispenser has been designed virtually from scratch after consulting comprehensively with leading scientists from the international pharmaceutical industry. We listened very carefully to the problems they were facing dispensing complex biochemical reagents, cells, beads, oils and surfactants particularly at sub microlitre volumes. The challenge was significant and at first we did not have all the answers. Inevitably we ended up going down a few blind alleys, but by systematically addressing all the issues and bringing in technology from several other industries we were able to crack the problem and produce a world beating product.3. What problem(s) does your technology solve?Since the mapping of the human genome at the turn of the century, there has been a growing requirement from the scientific community to dispense increasingly complex biochemical reagents. Traditional dispensers tend to block with these liquids and cells are easily damaged. Surfactants and detergents tend to foam badly and oils are difficult to effectively dispense due to their viscosity.The patented technology within Preddator addresses all of these issues across a massive volume range from 20nl to 100ul. It represents the nearest thing to a one stop dispenser currently on the market.The simplified fluidic pathways within the system allow cells to pass through the instrument undamaged and surfactants to be dispensed without foaming. Accuracy is typically two per cent across a 1536 plate when dispensing cells at 500nl with over 95 per cent viability.Modular in design, Preddator can be upgraded to a four or eight channel system with options for auto calibration, tip cleaning, plate stackers and cooling racks. There is no need to buy a new instrument when upgrading. Preddator is designed to operate with any (MTP) micro titre plate up to 3456 as well as plates with evaporation wells and reservoirs. Ultimately flexible, the system can be programmed to dispense any pattern, even curves. If you are looking for the Holy Grail of dispensing with nano technology; Preddator is it.4. What is your business model?Virtual. Baker Tilly look after all our financial planning and accountancy requirements and Taylor Vinter do all our legal work. Lloyds TSB Commercial in Cambridge provide banking and financial support. All R&D, engineering and manufacturing is undertaken by companies in California and Switzerland and we use Gyro in London for all our marketing and advertising requirements.Preddator was developed exclusively working with a leading international pharmaceutical company based in Switzerland who has also provided initial route to market and all independent test data. Sales are provided by a combination of direct, distributor and private label arrangements.5. How has the company been financed to date? Are you currently seeking any further investment?Redd&Whyte is self funded by its founders Roger Poole and myself, along with one private investor. There are currently no plans to take further investment.6. In what areas will you expand your management team as you grow the company?As the company grows we will inevitably start to bring more functions in house. We are currently putting in place the resources required to deliver the sales and technical support for our products globally. Although we currently manufacture in the US we are also planning to set up a manufacturing and R & D facilities in Europe.7. I understand you went up against some very large companies in winning your first contract. How were you able to compete successfully against much more established players?We took the time to listen very carefully to our customers, to fully understand their challenges across a whole raft of applications, then worked very quickly to produce a high quality cost effective solution to their problems. Sounds like common sense but you would be surprised how many large organisations simply don’t listen and lose touch with their customer base.Innovation and the ability to take technology from other industries has also been a major factor in our success. No magic wands; just hard work and a dogged determination to succeed.8. How could the business environment for start-up companies in the UK be improved?I could fill the rest of your pages with this one but will stick to finance. There seems to be a commonly held belief that the difficulties start ups face, are a mountain to be climbed to ensure only the most viable businesses succeed; a kind of Darwinian process to ensure survival of the fittest in the commercial jungle. However start ups have never had it so tough, and whilst recession can bring opportunity, my worry is that a considerable number of excellent businesses will fail due to a lack of financial support. The investor market will always be a minefield, but government and the Banks can do a lot more to help provide badly needed financial assistance to struggling start ups. Whatever replaces the regional development authorities must be far more reactive to the needs of industry and far less bureaucratic in general nature, if we are to keep jobs in UK.9. I believe you have some ambitious expansion plans for the company. What are the challenges inherent in managing rapid growth of this kind?We have deliberately chosen a manufacturer that can ramp up production to meet our expansion plans, so our main challenges surround providing engineering support for all our products internationally. We will provide an industry leading three day repair or replacement warranty with all Preddator systems and we are currently putting in place arrangements to ensure we can meet this commitment.10. What are your ultimate goals for Redd & Whyte as a company?Our current aim is turn Redd&Whyte into a £100M company within three years. To do this we are extending the product range of Preddator along with several accessories and consumables shortly coming on line. We also have several other products waiting in the wings to be developed, so the future looks bright.Martin Hanlon: tel +44(0)7841 428514www.reddandwhyte.comMartyn [at] reddandwhyte.com