Nadav Kidron serves as Chief Executive Officer of Oramed Pharmaceuticals, which he co-founded in 2006. Their orally-taken insulin is game-changing technology that could revolutionize the way millions people with diabetes administer their medication.
Kidron has led everything from establishing the company, to seeking capital, to recruiting top talent from the business, financial, technical and strategic spheres.
Beyond Oramed’s strong US and European market focus, it has additionally reached out into the Chinese market. Oramed entered into an exclusive license with Hefei Tianhui Incubator of Technologies (HTIT), for the development and commercialization of Oramed’s oral insulin technology in Greater China. The deal included $50 million in payments plus double digit royalties to Oramed.
He has been the keynote speaker at various MBA programs in Israel and the United States, and appeared in media such as Fox Business, CNBC, Forbes CEO Network and Bloomberg TV. He holds an international Master’s in business administration, from Bar-Ilan University in Israel, and is a fellow of the Merage Business Executive Leadership Program.
Describe the unique way you’re marketing the company?
Nadav Kidron: The way we market is in major scientific conferences. For example, the most important diabetes conference in the world is the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Conference, that takes place once a year in the United States. We were accepted for three presentations in the last conference.
The second track is the business track. In order to get in front of business people is participating in conferences, usually arranged by banks, that allows the exposure for growing companies in front of investors or the business community.
What’s something people should know about international B2B negotiations?
Nadav Kidron: Our B2B strategy and implementation is different than other companies. Let’s say you have a great product and you want to sell it to a manufacturer in the United States. It’s relatively easy. But we have a product that is relevant for every person on Earth.
So, if you look at a large deal that we have done, the B2B deal between Oramed and HTIT. The essence of the deal was that we sold this Chinese company the rights to our oral insulin product in China. Now, unlike dealing within domestic companies, when you deal with international – and specifically different mentalities, such as in China – it requires a whole different set of tools in order to be able to reach a successful B2B deal.
The Chinese partner has to do due diligence on our technology, to make sure our technology is at a satisfactory level for their territory. Then, the Chinese want to make sure we can produce it in China. They want help putting the factories together.
The Chinese are paying us $50,000,000, but then they need $650,000,000 in order to build the facilities, to produce the product in China, and take it through the Chinese FDA. Once they start to sell, they are paying Oramed royalties on those sales.
So, as of today, we already received $30 million dollars from our Chinese partner. This year, we are going to inaugurate the pilot plant in China. That is a very difficult task to be able to negotiate such a complex deal – which would even be hard for two American parties to negotiate and implement. But here, you take a Western company and a Chinese company, that’s one of the biggest challenges on B2B, when you are talking about international complex deals.
You have given lectures on the topic of entrepreneurship – what are people lacking most as entrepreneurs?
Nadav Kidron: I’ve been lecturing about this topic, and meeting with many students looking to go into that world. One of the biggest challenges, and the one that is most important to recognize, is that when somebody comes up with an idea, he usually falls in love with it. Have the ability to take constructive criticism, and check if the idea will work or not.
Sometimes, a person can come up with a stupid idea, and if he would have listened in the beginning, it would have saved a lot of time and energy. The entrepreneur in the beginning has to be able to be honest enough with himself to find the right answers – whether this project is worthy of his time and effort, or not.
How would you best describe your management style?
Nadav Kidron: I’m a big believer in empowering people, and getting the best people you can get. I’d rather pay more and get the best people. Then, I fully entrust them with the task. Not micromanagement, but rather get the best people, and trust them.
What differentiates a good leader from a great leader?
Nadav Kidron: I think what makes someone a great leader is conviction, and it comes out, and people can see, and follow it. If someone doesn’t have a full, strong conviction in what they do, it will show up. You cannot fake it.
Then, I think the ability to have humility, and understand that no one person knows it all. Be able to listen to others. Also, when you are up there at the leadership scale, you have to trust others, but also know where to draw the line and tell people they’ve gone off track. Listen to others just as smart and smarter, and get their input.
A business blunder you made?
Nadav Kidron: The difference between someone who is smart and someone who is less smart, is whether you learn from mistakes… I think I waited too long to hire good people to work with me. That’s one mistake. Hire the right help, and know it will usually cost more.
The other side of it is when I did hire someone earlier on, and it wasn’t the right person, I didn’t cut it off quick enough. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. It’s better for both sides to cut it. Waiting and hoping it works is a mistake, and a waste of time.