" It may not be possible right now, but in the future, Treetta will be strong enough to meet many needs "
"Agencies in Iran are stronger. Perhaps, Iran soon began thinking about treating severe wounds, and the 80 million Iranian population, of course, is another incentive for foreign manufacturing companies."
Mahmoud Ghafghazi is a bio-polymer graduate of the Amirkabir University of Technology. After being accepted for a doctorate, he changed his career path with a big decision and instead of continuing his doctoral studies, he started a business to produce advanced wound healing products. He is currently the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Teba Zist Polymer (Treetta); A knowledge-based company that produces advanced wound healing products with Treetta brand.
Among the usual crowds at the end of the year, we spoke with Mahmoud Ghafghazi at the company's office located on Valiasr Street in Tehran. A company that its dynamism can be seen in the cheerful behavior of its employees. Treetta's products had already been put on the interview table, and the variety of products and their proper packaging indicates special attention to the complete product portfolio in this company. Mahmoud Ghafghazi's remarks as the Managing Director of the company also show his special emphasis on the quality of products.
Please give us a history of the Teba Zist Polymer Company first.
Some pharmacy and engineering graduates from the University of Tehran and Amir Kabir came together to do a great job for the country. Each of the members of this team was a prominent and elite person, and most of the members were graduates of the doctoral and master's degree. In 2010, two teams from the University of Tehran and Amir Kabir University joined together and the project started. Their collaboration led to the completion of work in the field of technology development in the wound dressing.
Teba Zist Polymer is a registered and legal name of the company and is used in financial and administrative affairs. Treetta is a brand of a company and a name that we are known for. Treetta was the name of the first Achaemenid physician. The word treatment is got from Treetta and this word has been referenced from Iran.
Have you deliberately chosen the wound healing area for your business?
Biopolymer is a state-of-the-art technology, but unfortunately, it is rarely used in Iran and its fields of work are mostly in other countries. This technology is used in various industries. Due to special and engineered structures, biopolymers have replaced old technologies in the medical field. One of the specialties in our company is skin tissue engineering. In many scientific circles, Tebaderm is referred to as artificial skin or graft skin. Advanced American and European companies are also using this technology in advanced dressing products.
The same applies to your ads.
Yes, in the old wound dressing products, only the active ingredient was used. But in tissue engineering technology, in addition to the active ingredient, 3D skeletons are also used, which greatly increased the Healing effect.
One of the cases that led us to become a highly respected was a spinal cord injury veteran who had been using all the different dressings and other methods for 13 years for his bed wound, including ozone therapy, autograft, vacuum therapy and allograft but had not received satisfactory results. This case was introduced to us by the Vice President for science. The disease, which had not been treated for 13 years, was completely treated with Tebaderm for 7 months and 17 days.
Certainly, a certain management style has made Treetta grow and develop well in this relatively short time, both in terms of production volume and product variety. Please tell us about your company's management style.
In Iran, there is a small look at startups, and every young team that does not register and operates, considers itself a startup. But the global nature of startups is that people come together with new management in a cordial space and can create an advantage and thereby be replaced.
At the beginning of our work and in our management, we believe that we must have something new to say. Everyone in the group knows the company as their own and this is clear from their performance. We strongly believe in the startup management that replaced Apple with Nokia. Here, people work sincerely together and share interests. Our efficiency is high and that is why we choose the best in all areas. From people to materials and product lines, the highest possible quality has always been used in Treetta.
Of course, all companies like to choose the best, but it costs a lot. Do you take risks? How has this risk management been done in Treetta that has yielded an acceptable result?
The experiences of the team members helped a lot. However, this quality had to be taken into account. Last year we were selected as the best medical equipment manufacturer in the country. The reason we are selected is the particular attention we give to product standards. Many companies that pay less attention to quality usually do not spend much money on this.
Our ISO is from QS Switzerland which is one of the most expensive. This helps a lot in exporting. Our GMP is approved by QS Switzerland, which is itself a member of the EU supervisors. This is called EUGMP. This means that the GMP of our products has been approved by the EU. Few companies in Iran have this approval. This led us to receive the statue of the best medical equipment manufacturer in the country, in competition with 50-year-old companies.
That is, we can say that if a new company is confident in its product, it must take risks and bring the best. Because it will lead to profitability. Is this the key to your success in Treetta?
In the past, short term trends were targeted; that is, one brand was created discredited, and the company continues with another brand. We did not follow this procedure. For example, we first sent a sample to sell our product in Iraq. The Iraqi hospital approved it without opening our product. His feedback was that the packaging of this product is almost equivalent to German products in terms of quality. These are processes that have a long-term effect. They may be expensive at first, but their long-term effect will be synergistic. The number of people who know our brand both in Iran and abroad is increasing day by day. As a whole, we believe in our abilities.
In recent years, the issue of wounds in Iran has become more serious. Of course, brands are also more competitive and the market is getting stronger. What do you think is the condition of Iran's wound market compared to other countries in the region?
Iran is one of the countries in the region where wound-healing products are well available.[H2] For example, in Georgia or some neighboring countries, the market for wound healing products are not so common. Agencies in Iran are stronger. Perhaps, Iran soon began thinking about treating severe wounds, and the 80 million Iranian population, of course, is another incentive for foreign manufacturing companies.
When we decided to enter this market, foreign brands were at the top of the wound market and Iranian companies had a very weak presence. We have studied and tried to import our products from the highest level of technology that has fewer competitors. In Iran, there was no product at this level and we did not see any producer at this level in East Asia. We gradually expanded our market and in the future, we will strengthen our export lines in Turkey and Malaysia.
Has your export to Malaysia or Iraq been cross-sectional or do you have a permanent representative or distributor in those countries?
Many countries have purchased from us several times, including Spain, Italy and Poland. Of course, we do not consider this as exports. We want to have a market share in the countries that are the source of imports today. Production, energy and human resources costs are lower in Iran, enabling us to offer our products at lower prices in these markets.
There are currently serious difficulties in obtaining CE. We managed to get the FDA QSR; for 510K, unfortunately, we are under sanctions. EU rules for CE since the beginning of 2020 are much stricter than before. Only 4 or 5 companies have the right to grant CE from the European Union, and all of them have said they will not work with Iran. This has reduced our market in Europe.
In Malaysia, UKM, one of the top universities in the country, have used our product and provided good feedback and are preparing an article about it. Some countries disagree with Origin Made of Iran and our national brand is weak in the world and even in our own country. Unfortunately, our previous market was full of people who did it in an unscientific way and reduced product quality. This is a bad heritage left to us. We worked hard to fix this problem in Iran.
Based on our research, foreign brands still occupy a large percentage of Iran's wound market. What is your share of the Iranian market?
Unfortunately, exact information is not available. Because customs information is not properly available and many goods enter the country with the passengers in certain circumstances. Our market share has increased this year, and we have had a progressive growth. [H5] Now that the government currency has been eliminated, and the original price of the products has been determined, some economic surplus still exists and generally support more importers than manufacturers.
Let's have a defense of the importers. According to therapists, foreign brands are still more acceptable and many of the current products on the market are not similar to Iranian. Suppose now imports are zero and about 10 companies active in the market will not be from tomorrow. What do you think? Will the market fall? Can Iranian brands fill the market gap?
We have come together in Treetta to make Iran and Iranians proud of themselves. We have made various commitments that if there is a shortage of products in the market, we are. The growth of our products reflects this. There are also a lot of products in our R&D department. Fortunately, new lines have been defined and the company has invested in them. It may not be possible right now, but in the future, Treetta will be strong enough to meet many needs. Some market products are 30-year-old brands. In some products, we are better than these brands and in others not. Another point is that the product we launch is a different approach. The difference between our products and other manufacturers is that we get the core infrastructure from the successful experiences of different companies. We use articles from the world's top companies and localize them. Using these infrastructures will help us to have a stronger infrastructure in the future and to produce more advanced products.
As a business person in Iran in the field of wound healing, tell us what problems and opportunities are there for companies?
In general, sanctions have had a lot of negative effects on all aspects of the market. In the domestic market of Iran, both producers and importers face many problems. The stronger the infrastructure of companies, the more resistant they are to sanctions.Some companies that do not have a strong infrastructure will have problems or will face problems in the future, as the situation becomes more difficult. Problems with the clearance of goods, whether raw materials or final goods and the presence of goods in customs have made it difficult to work.
We were very annoyed with the export sector. We faced a major problem in exporting to Malaysia due to sanctions. Iranian accounts blocked in Malaysia. The import of goods originating in Iran or being transferred from Iran to Malaysia is prohibited. We had an agreement with one of the CIS countries, but the embargoes made them disappear altogether after six months of follow-up, and we don't know about them. There are also problems in the manufacturing sector. There are inequalities, including currency.
You mean you are not given a government currency?
They also give us government currency, but if we get government currency, there is a problem with our export. There are so many problems that we prefer not to take government currency. But importers are easily given government currency. The goods are easily checked at the Ministry of Health's import office while more stringent standards apply to manufacturers. Fortunately, we have been able to gain credibility. Last year, we were chosen as the top medical equipment manufacturer. Before that, we won the title of the best company in the field of health. Through our achievements, we have received support from the Ministry of Health and the Vice-President for Science.
As someone active in the wound market for many years, what advice do you have for those who wish to enter this field?
Anyone who intends to enter this market, whether in production or import, consider quality first. Some foreign products are not allowed to be sold in the country of origin but can be sold in third world countries. Notice that does not import such products. Not like that these products be tested here, and based on the results here, they will get their country registry.
What do you suggest to Meezgerd?
I was familiar with Meezgerd, and I think it is good to attend major congresses and hold in-person events with key people. In terms of introducing products to consumers, it can be better. Of course, we are familiar with the products, but some nurses in different parts of the country may not have direct access to the products and in cyberspace, they can become familiar with products.
We're glad that this group was created and are exploring markets and can provide useful information to inform. Meezgerd creates a space for more product introduction.
It was our pleasure to talk to a manager who produces the Iranian product and we are very pleased that your company is doing top-level marketing activities. Unfortunately, in Iran, we have many high-quality products that get hurt because of poor marketing. Thanks for the opportunity that you gave to Meezgerd.