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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

For many years the United States has led the world in government support for non-military research and development (R&D), especially support for work that directly relates to health and human development.  A focal point for such federal investments to date in biomedical research has been the National Institutes of Health (NIH) along with other government laboratories and university-based research programs.   Base funding provided by the NIH alone reached  $31.2 billion (excluding economic stimulus funds) in fiscal year 2011 with approximately 10% of this funding spent on internal NIH R&D projects (intramural research) utilizing the work of about  6,000 scientists.  The balance was used to support the work of 325,000 non-government scientists (extramural research) at 3,000 various colleges, universities and research organizations such as Johns Hopkins University and others throughout the world. Each year this biomedical research leads to a large variety of novel basic and clinical research discoveries – all of which generally require commercial partners in order to develop them into products for hospital, physician or patient use.  Thus federal laboratories and universities need and actively seek corporate partners or licensees to commercialize their federally-funded research into products in order to help fulfill their fundamental missions in healthcare, medical education and training.

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

Due diligence, as it applies to venture capital, is actually imprecise. Origins of the term are based in banking case law. Due diligence to the attorney is more of a precise concept. A better term is “homework.” Better indeed, because the burden of this homework weighs far more heavily on the entrepreneur than on the venture capitalist. The odds of getting funded by a venture capital firm are somewhere between 50: and 100: 1. In most instances, the funding goes to companies that already have some connection into the community of venture capital funds. Does this mean that all others need not apply? That is hardly the case. Good venture capitalists know a good opportunity when they see it, but sometimes it is not always obvious. Either the business plan is flawed in strategy, format or content, or the due diligence process reveals a team totally unprepared to fulfill their own vision. Elsewhere in this special edition of JCB is an article on the business plan and the pitch book. This article teaches, in a manner of speaking, how business plans get read and pitches gets heard.

Full details at the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology

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