Case | HBS Case Collection | May 1998 (Revised May 1999)

Biopure Corp.

by John T. Gourville

Abstract

It is early 1998 and Biopure Corp., a small biopharmaceutical firm with no sales revenues in its ten-year history, has just received government approval to release Oxyglobin, a revolutionary new "blood substitute" designed to replace the need for donated animal blood in the veterinary market. A virtually identical product for the human market, Hemopure, is in the final stages of testing by Biopure and is expected to gain approval within one to two years. In response to the timing of approval for these two products, there has been a long-running debate within Biopure as how to proceed with Oxyglobin. At odds are those in charge of Oxyglobin, who want to see the animal product released immediately, and those in charge of the Hemopure, who worry that an immediate release of Oxyglobin would create an unrealistically low price expectation for what they feel should be a very high-margin human product. Exacerbating the problem is the nature of the biopharmaceutical industry, where product approval is never a certainty until achieved.

Keywords: Segmentation; Marketing Strategy; Engineering; Budgets and Budgeting; Sales; Transformation; Markets; Debates; Product Launch; Pharmaceutical Industry;

Citation:

Gourville, John T. "Biopure Corp." Harvard Business School Case 598-150, May 1998. (Revised May 1999.)