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This article covers the essentials of constructing and delivering a “pitch” of a business opportunity to potential investors or corporate partners.  We advocate constructing an effective pitch first and then using that as a guide to prepare your business plan.  The content of the pitch itself as described herein in effect comprises the elements to be incorporated into a business plan as a more comprehensive documentation of the business.  Therefore, focusing efforts on creating and delivering the components of a compelling pitch will provide the essence of what you will then need to put into prose as a business plan.  So, our mantra is “pitch then plan”, i. e. don’t waste your time writing prose until you know what you need to write.  Furthermore plans change many times between the first writing and successful implementation.

Full details at the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology

This issue of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology focuses on the proceedings of the Seventh Annual Biotechnology Entrepreneurship Boot Camp held in conjunction with the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) annual conference in Washington, DC in June, 2011.

The Biotechnology Entrepreneurship Boot Camp was launched for the 2005 BIO Industry Organization’s Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. The Boot Camp was originally designed as a program for CSOs but is now expanded in scope and design to address a broad range of issues for entrepreneurs more generally. The Boot Camp was created in response to the growing need in the managerial, scientific and academic community to learn about the necessary elements and skills to transform technology and invention into a viable company. The insight and energy required for entrepreneurial success can be developed by anyone motivated to do the following: think strategically, select projects and plan for expeditious and cost-effective management, understand the requirements of all the involved stakeholders, and oversee the essential components of the commercialization process.

The Boot Camp travels from year to year to each of the BIO Annual Meeting venues – a veritable “moveable feast.” Previously, the Boot Camp was offered at BIO’s annual meetings in Chicago in 2006 and 2010, Boston in 2007, San Diego in 2008, and Atlanta in 2009. The creation of the syllabus, the recruitment of faculty, and the faculty’s extensive preparation suggested that wherever possible there should be core faculty, i.e., a portion of the faculty from the Philadelphia Boot Camp who would volunteer from year to year. This approach has the added benefit of improving the presentations and the material from year to year as the faculty themselves identify what works, as well as how to teach together. Each year, additional faculty members are recruited from the host region.

Over the seven years of the boot camp, over 500 entrepreneurs have attended and taken away a broad spectrum of insights from the faculty.

The Boot Camp was founded and co-chaired by Professors Arthur Boni of the Tepper School of Carnegie Mellon University, Stephen Sammut of the Wharton School and Burrill & Company, and Jeffrey Libson, Partner, Pepper Hamilton LLP  and Lecturer at  Wharton School Health Care Management Program. The law firm, PepperHamilton has also served as the Boot Camp’s sponsor since its inception.

Full details at the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology

This article provides an overview of the impact of raising capital on the equity ownership structure of a biotechnology company. The equity ownership structure as captured in a table of capitalization determines how the fruits of success will be divided between founders, management and investors at an exit event such as an acquisition or initial public offering. The evolution of the Cap Table is captured and described through multiple financing events and scenarios and illustrates how value is allocated to the various parties involved in the transactions as the company grows and develops. Full details at the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology



The biopharmaceutical industry has been undergoing change for a number of years and that change is accelerating.  Larger pharmaceutical companies are acquiring smaller ones, companies are merging, laboratories are being closed, and the number of scientists performing research in the pharmaceutical industry is declining.  Overall, commercial industry, including the biotechnology industry, is becoming more interested in the benefits of collaboration with research institutions.

Universities are also changing their view of relationships with industry.  Shrinking federal budgets are causing universities to look at other sources of revenue, including collaborations with industry.  Federal and state governments are also looking closely at the benefits of sponsoring university research, and in particular are seeking to accelerate commercialization of university discoveries not only to obtain the benefit of invested research dollars, but also for economic development and job growth.  Universities, and in particular university technology transfer offices, must understand these changes and adapt to them. 

This paper discusses the university/industry relationships, and the particular issues important to universities which shape that interface. 

Full details at the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology

Non-dilutive funding and equity capital are two key reasons why life sciences companies pursue strategic partnerships. In fact alliances are also strong contributors to successful “exits”, whether Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) (~ 40% of partnerships ultimately resulted in acquisition by the partner) or stand-alone market entry (80% of approved biopharmaceutical products from 2000-2010 had a commercial partner on board)1. In the current environment, strategic alliances and funding can come from many sources, including the traditional “large pharma” universe – but the question remains: How best for a small management team to gain access to and maximize success with these sources? The focus of this article is to describe how entrepreneurs can leverage external expertise, intermediaries to achieve their near term and longer-term objectives.

Full details at the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology

This article focuses on the essentials of building effective, collaborative, team-based organizations. The entrepreneurs and innovators who found and build technology-based organizations comprise out target audience, but most specifically we address the biotechnology and biomedical field.  Two perspectives are provided in the article: 1) advice based on the experiential learning provided by years of experience of building and growing entrepreneurial organizations; and 2) identifying the keys to building effective teams based on some selected the academic or scholarly literature on building effective teams.  Our goal is to provide a perspective that blends real-world lessons filtered through a more scholarly approach based on case literature and other research-based studies.  The material summarized herein is presented as a learning module to the participants in the Biotechnology Entrepreneurship Boot Camp.  Our pedagogical approach in the Boot camp is to lead with the background material and perspective contained herein, and to then have a moderated panel discussion around these and other topics. The moderated panel consists of the key members of a real company consisting of key C-level officers and founders and a venture capitalist who funded the company.  Thus the “theory and practice” of team-based innovation come together via a real-time case.

Full details at the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology

Valuation approaches to biotechnology companies by angel investors and venture capitalists often appear to the entrepreneurs to be based on voodoo rather than sound principles of finance. While there may be some truth to that perception, there is actually a very sound, somewhat complex, internal logic to the way private biotechnology companies are valued. Note the emphasis on the word “private.” This article will focus entirely on the valuation methodology of companies that are not yet listed. Moreover, the article will not consider the valuation approaches used by, say, a pharmaceutical company when it is targeting a biotechnology company for acquisition or strategic partnering. The emphasis of this piece is on the thought process or algorithm in play — the so-called “Venture Capital Method” — when an investor is looking at a biotechnology company in the seed stage or in the first or second round of venture capital funding. Full details at the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology

The process of commercializing a new item or service in the U.S. health care market involves three distinct but necessary components: coverage, coding, and reimbursement.  This article provides an overview of these processes and the challenges in successfully navigating the course and spotting the particular issues for individual items and services. Full details at the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology

As surely as the bio-enterprise can benefit from positive media coverage, it cannot thrive in the face of unanswered negative and/or inaccurate media attention. On all counts, the bio-enterprise must be able to strategically engage with the media at every stage in its life cycle. This article describes the global science-business media landscape, including traditional media and emergent social media and information in the online space. Current research is used to document the interdependence of media, how sources of information feed media coverage, the challenges of science communication in the broader context of business, and the effect of media engagement by the CEO.

A strategic model is presented which relates the bio-enterprise to global media, providing a larger framework within which to develop media action plans at critical junctures in the life of the bio-enterprise. Further documented is the difference between journalistic and non-journalistic media, and how journalistic ethics and standards guidelines work with ethical persuasion practices to the benefit of the bio-enterprise. Full details at the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology