Gaining the perspective of customers and regulatory bodies

January 30, 2020

Helping companies develop natural and veterinary health products is a specialty of Paul Dick & Associates. We spoke to the principal, Paul Dick, about the role of research, going through the regulatory review process, and understanding the market.

Paul Dick, President, Paul Dick and Associates

Paul Dick, President, Paul Dick and Associates

Paul Dick has helped numerous companies develop natural products for both humans (natural health products) and animals (veterinary health products). He has significant expertise and experience in the development and registration of human and animal health products alike, from products that combat sea lice in the aquaculture industry to those that improve cardiovascular health in humans. He says the global market for natural products for both humans and animals is large and growing substantially every year.

“We’re really seeing natural products taking off. Whether it’s natural products for livestock, pets or humans, there’s never been a better time to be in the natural products industry.”

But Dick says the product development process can be tough, especially if a company doesn’t understand the important role of the regulators in their target market.

“Processes are put in place to protect the consumer,” says Dick. “And regulatory requirements change from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. So, if you haven’t thought about where you’re going to sell your product, you probably haven’t considered the regulatory implications that could stop you from exporting.”

Strong animal health background

As a doctor of veterinary medicine with 30 years in the animal health industry, he formed Paul Dick & Associates to help companies navigate the product development and regulatory process. They provide expert guidance and support, allowing companies to save time and money developing products that meet a defined market need in a way that satisfies regulatory requirements.

“You see many companies fall in love with their technology, but don’t necessarily understand the market,” says Dick. “Who are their customers? Where are their target markets? What does the competitive landscape look like? What price point can they command? What is their value proposition? These are all important questions that need to be addressed early to mitigate financial risks.”

This was one of the key reasons PDA formed a partnership with Get More Sales Corp, a firm that helps companies refine their value proposition and focus on selling their value rather than their product. PDA augments that experience through connections.

Connections with industry

“One of our biggest services is linking companies to industry who can provide early market intel on a product.”

Dick has built that industry network in his diverse career with multinational corporations and regulatory agencies in the animal health space.

“Lots of times, those companies are coming to me looking for specific solutions or technologies,” says Dick. “I’m always happy to introduce them to a good emerging company that has an innovative technology that has gone through the requisite process of regulatory review.”

Dick and his colleagues specialize in making those connections, and working with clients to teach them how to interact with multinationals whose priorities and timelines can be a whole new world for start-ups just entering the market.

Regulatory strategy and expertise

They also drill down into the regulatory process, helping clients understand the steps involved in product approval, and working with them to ensure a timely review and approval process.

“Much of it depends on the path the client takes,” says Dick. “They first need to look at whether their ingredient is considered natural. If it’s not on Health Canada’s NHP Ingredients Database, or the VDD’s List of Permitted Substances, we can work with them to determine if they have a strong enough case to petition for it.”

The firm also assists with the research component that can be required for regulatory approvals, which may include safety and efficacy trials, including finding research partners and funding to complete the projects.

“We’ve had the privilege of working with many different companies and many different technologies,” says Dick. “It’s always rewarding to be able to share our accumulated knowledge with promising young companies to help them reach their goals faster and more efficiently.”

Paul Dick and Associates is an Innovation Support Member in Canada’s Natural Product Innovation Cluster. This membership category is comprised of a broad range of experts, consultants, professional services firms, facilities, government departments, industry organizations, and program and service providers who can help other members of the Cluster achieve success. If you have expertise, programs or services that can benefit the natural product industry, please consider joining the Cluster.