Trends & Perspectives

Published: December 5, 2012
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Idaho Technology Becomes BioFire Diagnostics, Advances Clinical Diagnostics Goals

BioFire's VP of sales and marketing offers IVD Technology readers an inside look at the company's major re-branding effort.

 

By: Maureen Kingsley

The former Idaho Technology Inc. sports a new name and a new logo.
The former Idaho Technology Inc. now sports a new name and a new logo.

The former Idaho Technology Inc., a Salt Lake City−based manufacturer of diagnostics for the clinical, biodefense, and research markets, has renamed itself BioFire Diagnostics Inc. and is in the process of rebranding, a task vice president of sales and marketing Rachel Jones estimates will take 12 months from start to finish.
The company was formed in Idaho Falls, Idaho, in 1990 but moved to its current location in Utah in 1999. “There has always been confusion around the name, since we are no longer a company in Idaho,” Jones said. She added that the goal was to choose a new name that was geographically neutral, reflected the company’s “passion for innovating products that help simplify molecular biology,” and highlighted its expanded presence in the clinical diagnostics market.
Challenges of Renaming. Jones said there were numerous concerns heading into the renaming and rebranding project. The biggest, not surprisingly for a company doing business as “Idaho Technology Incorporated” for more than two decades, was the possibility of losing recognition in the marketplace. “We are still sending out name-change announcements and continuing to use the ‘Idaho Technology is now BioFire Diagnostics’ [message] on virtually all of our materials so that we still incorporate the old name with the new,” Jones said. The company also plans to survey its markets to gauge how well the new name is catching on.
“Don’t underestimate the amount of work involved,” Jones advises other biotech companies considering a major rebranding effort. “It took us roughly six months before we were ready to reveal the name internally to our employees and another month for the marketplace announcement.
“Coming up with a new name is difficult, and typically there are a lot of people within the company that will want a say in it,” she continued. The former Idaho Technology chose to use an outside advertising firm to help with the process. “That was incredibly useful,” Jones said. “The most important thing is to choose a name and then stand behind it and start using it.”
One Name, Multiple Markets. The company believes that the new name, logo, and message are right in line with the successful launch of its FilmArray system in May of 2011. “We have just initiated a clinical trial for our second panel [for the FilmArray instrument], which is for detecting common pathogens causing bloodstream infections,” Jones said. The company also hopes to begin its next clinical trial in early 2013 for a gastrointestinal panel, and it is beginning development on panels for lower-respiratory infections and meningitis. “The company is focused on the success the FilmArray respiratory panel is enjoying and is planning to continue to grow our menu for clinical diagnostics,” she added.
While BioFire Diagnostics is channeling much of its energy on clinical diagnostics, it hasn’t left its biodefense market behind. “BioFire is marketing FilmArray into both the clinical and biosurveillance markets,” Jones said. “We think the platform offers advantages to both sets of customers, although their uses are different. In the biosurveillance space, customers are looking more at environmental samples that have the ability to impact civilians.” She said that, although the clinical and biodefense businesses are different, FilmArray has advantages over other technologies that will make a positive impact in both. Clinical diagnostics, however, is more lucrative at this time. “As everyone knows, budgets are getting tighter and tighter within the government sector, which makes the sales cycle long,” Jones explained. “I would say that, given the ease of use, comprehensive panel, and the time to result, hospital clinical labs have been very receptive to the technology. We are recognizing a lot of success in this market, while our growth in the biosurveillance space has been slower.”

 


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