#BIO2017: A Peek at Partnering | SPARK

Breaking Buzz is BIO’s newest blog series that reaches across the globe to bring you an insider’s preview into the hottest international and partnering trends coming to San Diego for the BIO International Convention.

Perfecting Translation

Stanford’s translational research program, SPARK, is only 11 years old yet already has funded and supported 148 past and current projects, helped launch 24 start-ups and has had over 30 patents licensed. Spark lays claim to a 62% success rate; measured when a project enters into human clinical trials, or is licensed to a start-up or existing company.

With those kind of stats it’s no wonder Mahima Agochiya, Business Development and Program Manager for SPARK was besieged with meeting requests at last year’s BIO International Convention within BIO’s One-on-One Partnering™ system.

SPARK’s remarkable program – a partnership between Stanford and volunteers from the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and healthcare investment industries – offers support to an average of 12-15 new projects each year.

Mahima Agochiya PhD, MBA
Business Development and Program Manager
SPARK Translational Research Program at Stanford University School of Medicine

Breaking Buzz sat down with Mahima to chat about the 69 meetings she and her colleagues attended in three days during the BIO International Convention in San Francisco, and asked about her strategy for partnering success.

We know SPARK is a Translational Medicine Program based out of Stanford School of Medicine that seeks partnerships with industry to help translate its projects, and is entering into its second year attending BIO. What kind of partner are you looking for this year?

SPARK is agnostic to indication so we are not limited to specific areas of therapeutics. We generally look for companies that are interested in early stage start-up funding or licensing; or both. The assets/ projects that we are looking to partner with this year are novel, address an unmet clinical need, and are at a stage where they ready for the next step.

There are thousands of companies in the BIO’s One-on-One ™ system representing tens of thousands of assets. How did you narrow it down to 69 meetings?

The first thing I do is add filters. We are mostly interested in companies that license at early-stage since our projects are preclinical at the most, so my go-to filters are “licensing” and “early-stage” for example. I then send out a lot of meeting requests. Perhaps it was because last year was only the first year that SPARK attended BIO, and my first year too, but I was very surprised by the number of invitations we got from other companies. It helps a lot to belong to a university that has a great reputation scientifically and I think people were curious about us, given our success rate.

Can you tell us about that success rate?

SPARK has a 62% success rate on all projects we take in. So far we’ve spun out 24 start-ups; eight licenses to biopharma; four tech transfers without license, and 31 clinical trials – 10 without license. To date we have provided education, mentorship and funding to 148 projects and hundreds of students.

Last year SPARK had 35 projects (assets) that you presented during partnering meetings at the Convention. Did any of those materialize into a licensing opportunity?

Yes! Last year resulted in at least one successful partnership that I will be able to talk about at the Convention this June, and we have ongoing negotiations with other companies we met, most of whom we’ll meet with again in San Diego. BIO provides a great opportunity to get to know new companies and share experiences with them. I think it might be hard to walk away with nothing.

What’s your advice to people new to the Partnering system?

Don’t have a script ready. Instead, open with a clear and concise statement saying exactly what you’re looking for. A half-hour isn’t long enough to delve into details, but rather to quickly ascertain if there is a viable partnering opportunity; so keep the conversation direct at opening, then very flexible. Also, provide all of your materials on a USB. SPARK’s assets are detailed, each on a single page, in one file given on a single USB drive.

Besides partnering meetings, what else is on your Convention calendar?

On Monday from 11:30 – 4:30, SPARK will team up with partners from Massachusetts, Quebec, Philadelphia, San Francisco Bay Area, Oslo, UK Golden Triangle, Catalonia, and the Paris Region to present cutting edge innovations in oncology at the 6th International Cancer Cluster Showcase. Each cluster will present their oncology pipelines in compact 20-minute presentations, so it’s the perfect opportunity to learn about the latest innovations and a great precursor for partnering meetings on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Why did you get an MBA eight years after getting a PhD in cancer research?

The two degrees are actually a perfect combination. After finishing my PhD I did about eight years of basic science which was very rewarding, but also a little heartbreaking because I never saw the work translated. That’s what made me do the MBA – now I get to see all the cool science and get to see them translate – at Stanford University no less. How perfect is that?

Life After Start-Up Stadium: Immunome

For the third year, the BIO International Convention will host the 2017 BIO Start-Up Stadium Empowering the Cutting-Edge Companies of Tomorrow, Today – an exciting and interactive experience where investors provide live feedback and judge 5-7 minute pitches presented by start-up biotech companies. The Start-Up Stadium accepts applications from early-stage companies with breakthrough technologies, and invites investors and state and regional affiliates to engage and explore mutual opportunities. Participating companies receive access to BIO One-on-One Partnering™ and educational sessions making their experience at BIO like no other.

Scott Dessain, CTO & Scientific Co-Founder of Immunome

This is the first in a series of guest blogs highlighting Start-Up Stadium success stories as told by former participants.Today we spoke with 2015 Alum, Scott Dessain, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer and Scientific Co-Founder of Immunome.

Gregory Licholai of Immunome

Gregory Licholai, Management Co-Founder of Immunome

BTN: Can you tell us about your start-up?
Immunome is located in Philadelphia, PA and was founded in 2008 with Management Co-Founder, Gregory Licholai, M.D., MBA (now President and Chief Science Officer at Castle Creek Pharmaceuticals). We started as an Infectious Disease/Biodefense company but pivoted to become an Immuno-oncology company in 2014-2015.

BTN: Was the Start-Up Stadium platform able to assist you in gaining visibility?
Yes! For a biotech start-up, time is the most expensive commodity. We had just brought in an A-list management team and achieved strong proof-of-concept in cancer, and we had to get the word out far and fast. The Start-Up Stadium was a key part of our “coming out” at BIO 2015.

BTN: Did you receive constructive live feedback at the Start-Up Stadium from stakeholders and subject matter experts?
Yes, it was a very engaging and valuable session.  Most of the questions made us focus on clarifying our value proposition as an investment and how we were going to produce a differentiated drug in the clinical marketplace.

BTN: How have you implemented any feedback to achieve success and continued growth?
A biotech startup can be somewhat of a blur — constantly seeking feedback from investors, stakeholders, potential partners, competitors. The key is to sift through the information, not trying to be something for everyone, but to find the right path that best leverages the differentiation of the technology, the skill and experience of the management team and the clinical opportunity. The Start-Up Stadium was a fun part of that process.

BTN: Were your BIO One-on-One Partnering™ meetings successful? Did they generate valuable connections with potential for meaningful partnerships?
At BIO 2015, we were letting everyone know how we had shifted, we showed them the new data and introduced them to the new management team. We learned what our customers and partners were seeking, refined our investment and research plan, and recently executed a multi-million dollar Series A. We’ll be revealing our new cancer pipeline to selected companies later this year.

BTN: Although no longer eligible to participate in the Start-Up Stadium, will you be returning the 2017 BIO International Convention?
Of course.  Everyone we want to meet will be there!

Immunome

About: Immunome is an Immuno-Oncology company building a diverse pipeline of antibody therapies for cancer.  The Immunome technology discovers tumor specific antigens by studying antibodies that patients make against their own cancers. The natural protective immune response incancer patients selects novel, non-intuitive, cancer-specific antigens that are expressed by diverse tumor types. To learn more, visit: www.immunome.com.

Scott Dessain co-author Improving Biotech Investment.

Scott Dessain is also co-author of the new book about investing in biotech start-ups called, “Preserving the Promise: Improving the Culture of Biotech Investment.

Life After Start-Up Stadium: Immunome

For the third year, the BIO International Convention will host the 2017 BIO Start-Up Stadium Empowering the Cutting-Edge Companies of Tomorrow, Today – an exciting and interactive experience where investors provide live feedback and judge 5-7 minute pitches presented by start-up biotech companies. The Start-Up Stadium accepts applications from early-stage companies with breakthrough technologies, and invites investors and state and regional affiliates to engage and explore mutual opportunities. Participating companies receive access to BIO One-on-One Partnering™ and educational sessions making their experience at BIO like no other.

Scott Dessain, CTO & Scientific Co-Founder of Immunome

This is the first in a series of guest blogs highlighting Start-Up Stadium success stories as told by former participants.Today we spoke with 2015 Alum, Scott Dessain, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer and Scientific Co-Founder of Immunome.

Gregory Licholai of Immunome

Gregory Licholai, Management Co-Founder of Immunome

BTN: Can you tell us about your start-up?
Immunome is located in Philadelphia, PA and was founded in 2008 with Management Co-Founder, Gregory Licholai, M.D., MBA (now President and Chief Science Officer at Castle Creek Pharmaceuticals). We started as an Infectious Disease/Biodefense company but pivoted to become an Immuno-oncology company in 2014-2015.

BTN: Was the Start-Up Stadium platform able to assist you in gaining visibility?
Yes! For a biotech start-up, time is the most expensive commodity. We had just brought in an A-list management team and achieved strong proof-of-concept in cancer, and we had to get the word out far and fast. The Start-Up Stadium was a key part of our “coming out” at BIO 2015.

BTN: Did you receive constructive live feedback at the Start-Up Stadium from stakeholders and subject matter experts?
Yes, it was a very engaging and valuable session.  Most of the questions made us focus on clarifying our value proposition as an investment and how we were going to produce a differentiated drug in the clinical marketplace.

BTN: How have you implemented any feedback to achieve success and continued growth?
A biotech startup can be somewhat of a blur — constantly seeking feedback from investors, stakeholders, potential partners, competitors. The key is to sift through the information, not trying to be something for everyone, but to find the right path that best leverages the differentiation of the technology, the skill and experience of the management team and the clinical opportunity. The Start-Up Stadium was a fun part of that process.

BTN: Were your BIO One-on-One Partnering™ meetings successful? Did they generate valuable connections with potential for meaningful partnerships?
At BIO 2015, we were letting everyone know how we had shifted, we showed them the new data and introduced them to the new management team. We learned what our customers and partners were seeking, refined our investment and research plan, and recently executed a multi-million dollar Series A. We’ll be revealing our new cancer pipeline to selected companies later this year.

BTN: Although no longer eligible to participate in the Start-Up Stadium, will you be returning the 2017 BIO International Convention?
Of course.  Everyone we want to meet will be there!

Immunome

About: Immunome is an Immuno-Oncology company building a diverse pipeline of antibody therapies for cancer.  The Immunome technology discovers tumor specific antigens by studying antibodies that patients make against their own cancers. The natural protective immune response incancer patients selects novel, non-intuitive, cancer-specific antigens that are expressed by diverse tumor types. To learn more, visit: www.immunome.com.

Scott Dessain co-author Improving Biotech Investment.

Scott Dessain is also co-author of the new book about investing in biotech start-ups called, “Preserving the Promise: Improving the Culture of Biotech Investment.

#BIO2017: A Peek at Partnering | UC Berkeley

Breaking Buzz is BIO’s newest blog series that reaches across the globe to bring you an insider’s preview into the hottest international and partnering trends coming to San Diego for the BIO International Convention.

A Day in the Life of a Partnering Powerhouse

UC Berkeley has had a whopping 600+ products commercialized from its research since it started counting in the 1980s. Its success stories range from mega blockbusters like CRISPR/CAS 9 to some of the early research and development of iplimumab. No matter how large or small, each of the hundreds of products is worthy of fulfilling the Berkeley School of Public Health’s mission: to improve population health, especially for the most vulnerable.

One big obstacle, however, is that as a non-profit, Berkeley is unable to commercialize the cool technologies being developed on campus, so they have to look at things differently than many of their research and development counterparts. Top of the list: they must find industry partners to license their IP. This takes time, instinctive focus and without a doubt, stamina.

Akash Bakshi, Berkeley’s resident IP and industry research authority, knows all about trusting his instincts and building stamina. He singularly held 59 BIO One-on-One Partnering™ meetings last year at the BIO International Convention in San Francisco; with a remarkable 75% follow-up return – an accomplishment he says required first and foremost, persistence.

Breaking Buzz talks with the persistent partnering Phenom in a recent interview:

AKASH:  Be persistent because companies are busy. Don’t leave it to them to sort though and find your invitation. If you haven’t heard back and your gut tells you there’s a good reason to connect, persist!

BB: There are thousands of companies within the partnering system. How do you know who to pursue?

AKASH: I look for companies that overlap with our research strengths – whether in biomedical engineering, immunology, or molecular and cellular biology, companies who seek new insight in the life sciences. Those are the ones that always make great partners!

BB: Can you tell us more about what happened after the 59 meetings in San Francisco last year?

AKASH: Almost 75% of the meetings we set up last year resulted in further discussions about UC Berkeley’s Innovation Ecosystem, IP licensing, and even employment for our students. I attribute the high return rate on Berkeley’s breadth and research strengths. People understand we are a powerhouse for early-stage R&D. Industry knows we have the intellectual capital to do amazing stuff.

BB: How do you characterize a successful Partnering experience?

AKASH: Some folks might assess their success at BIO as the number of transactions that were completed; our view is that this is more about relationships. Success comes anytime we can collaborate to improve or validate early-stage findings and licensing IP; when we get feedback on potential technologies, investments and funding for our startups, and the hiring of our graduates.

The other side of the story is that we get good insight from industry about why they were NOT currently interested in the ideas we presented – it might be because regulatory hurdles are too high, or the project is too small. Regardless, it’s allowed me to give feedback to the faculty member to rethink the original applications.

BB: Who is on your radar as we approach the BIO International Convention in San Diego?

AKASH:  There are updates that I’m eager to share with some of the people I met with last year in San Francisco. But I’m just as excited about finding new partners this June in San Diego; companies that share our quest for innovation in the life sciences.

BB: Sounds like you’ll have another very busy BIO experience. How do you do it?

AKASH: This year there will be two of us, so my record of 59 meetings will hopefully double. But ultimately, I focus on the satisfaction I get from finding and developing ongoing relationships within an industry I love.

Well that, and a steady stream of Venti Caffe Lattes!

 

BIO Anticipates Unprecedented Partnering Growth at #BIO2017

BIO’s One-on-one Partnering™ system will likely host 1,100 partnering meetings per hour during this year’s BIO International Convention. The program is the largest partnering program under one roof and is expected to host 40,000 meetings at BIO 2017 in San Diego, June 19 – 22. The versatile system is one of the biggest draws to the Convention, allowing users to create profiles containing company presentations, clinical trial data, YouTube videos—anything that will show what the organization is about and help it reach its target audience. Since 2015, the partnering system has grown by 23% and the steady growth is expected to continue at this year’s event.

During a recent webinar on tips for getting the most out of BIO’s One-on-One Partnering™, participants learned that getting started early is the key to success. With more than 42% of Convention attendees at the CEO, VPs or C-level, and a third of the attendees coming from outside the United States, it is important to get in line early to maximize the ROI. Analysis of prior meetings showed that companies starting the process early booked 11 times more meetings than those waiting until the last minute. Another reason to start early is the discounted registration rate available now through April 27.

The system opened in mid-April, so let the fun begin! Once your meeting requests are accepted BIO does all the scheduling (in late May).

Making the system even more convenient is the new mobile app—found in google and apple stores – that permits access to scheduled meetings and programming. During the Convention, the partnering meetings begin on the afternoon of Monday, June 19 and finish on Thursday, June 22. Meetings are scheduled in both the BIO Business Forum and exhibitor booths.

Other important advice? Concise, targeted subject lines and specific, detailed profiles go a long way to scoring the meetings you want. Instead of “Request a Meeting”, better to say “Our CAR-T technology addresses X disease”. This helps you get to the top of the list of people looking for that specific technology. Also, make sure the company profile is as up to date as possible, including such things as development phase, therapeutic areas, financing secured to date, geographic location etc.

More tips and detailed information about partnering are available in this webinar posted on BIO’s YouTube Channel.

BIO’s Next Generation Partnering System to Open April 2015

You’ve found your lead investor. Now it’s time to get to the next stage, and the best place to do so is the 2015 BIO International Convention. You have a meeting with Pfizer at 9:00 a.m. followed by a meeting with AstraZeneca/MedImmune at 9:30 a.m. Then a 30 minute break. Then you have four meetings back to back with Sofinnova, Takeda Ventures, Gates Foundation and Merck. After a quick lunch it’s back to partnering: make the pitch and build relationships for when the time is right. Check out the rich set of service providers that will help you on your way.

Getting these meetings was no small feat. But you got them and you’ll make the most of them because BIO’s next generation partnering system, One-on-One Partnering™, and Inova’s collaboration module, One-on-One Partnering™ Plus, will help you.

One-on-One Partnering and One-on-One Partnering Plus will help you minimize the time you need to manage your partnering workflow, information and content, and maximize the time available to do your job. Imagine no data entry after the BIO International Convnetion. All your meetings and information about the companies and individuals you met with can now seamlessly transfer to One-on-One Partnering Plus, a powerful partnering workflow tool. BIO’s new partnering system will maximize partnering collaboration within your company with social bookmarking, voting, comment threads, meeting history, Outlook integration, task management and other features that apply both to partnering at BIO events and your year-round partnering workflow.

It’s time to dramatically increase your partnering ROI. BIO and INOVA, the leader in partnering relationship management solutions, have teamed to help you get there.

See you at BIO 2015.

Understanding the Biotech Market in Brazil

The biotechnology market in Brazil has seen enormous activity this year in both the areas of industrial biotechnology and healthcare. In a recent webinar that discussed the latest results of the annual Scientific American Worldview report, panelists were especially excited by the partnering opportunities in Brazil. Mike May, Editorial Director, Scientific American Worldview, commented, “Brazil is, as a country, like a master of partnering. They partner in the country between industry and government. They partner outside the country with industry and industry in other places. They have huge networks of partnering. They’re bringing industries in from other countries to help them with things where maybe they don’t have the technology… So you know, it’s like they’re finding creative ways to deal with some of the challenges they have that, say, the United States doesn’t have.”1

Building on this movement, BIO and Biominas have partnered to co-host the first annual BIO Latin America September 9-11, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the industry’s must-attend conference for innovation and collaboration in Latin America’s rapidly-growing biotechnology sector. Here is a look at the current state of the biotech market in Brazil.

Industrial Biotechnology

Brazil is well known for its research and investment in industrial biotechnology, particularly in regards to cellulosic sugars and agribusiness. In April, several companies including Amyris, BP, Dow Chemical, DuPont, and Novozymes came together to launch of the Brazilian Industrial Biotech Association (ABBI) to promote dialogue with stakeholders, policy makers, and the public about advancing industrial biotechnology in Brazil. The trade group aims to improve current patent laws in light of new biotechnology advancements, support investments in R&D, laboratory infrastructure, and capacity and training for skilled and technical labor.

At the launch event for ABBI, Greg Stephanopoulos, from the Department of Chemical Engineering at MIT, said that industrial biotechnology would help Brazil take a leadership position in the 21st Century global economy2.

Biotech Sales Growth among BRIC Countries

Despite representing under 5% of global biotech sales, BRIC countries (Brazil, Russian, India, and China) have seen a 29.3% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2010-2012.

Figure 1, BRIC Biotechnology Sales Growth for the top 100 Global Pharma Companies, 2010-2012 (source: EvaluatePharma)

More Biotech Companies in Brazil Focus on Human Health than Agribusiness

Biotechnology makes up an especially large portion of the current bioscience enterprises in Brazil. Out of 271 bioscience enterprises, 143 (or 51%) are biotechs. Out of the 143 biotech enterprises, the largest segment by application (33%) is comprised of companies with a human health focus.

While Brazil is valued as a leader in industrial biotechnology and is known for their investment and R&D in cellulosic sugars and biofuels, there is a portion of a the biotech market that is focused on human health. In 2012, there were 89 biotech companies dedicated to the development of new medications (small molecules and biological), diagnostics, vaccines, cell therapy, regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, advanced method for assisted reproduction, genetic and molecular testing, etc.3

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Figure 2. Number of Biotech Enterprises in Brazil (source: pwc/Biominas)

fg3Figure 3: Brazilian Biotech Companies by Application (source: pwc/Biominas)

The Healthcare Market in Brazil

Brazil is currently the largest healthcare market in Latin America, covering almost one-fourth of the population3. It also has the highest per head healthcare spending in Latin America, which has seen steady growth year over year alongside Brazil’s growing population of 195 million4.

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Figure 4, As Brazil’s Population Grows, So Does Its’ Health Spending (source: Sutherland Global Services)

The pharmaceutical market in Brazil grew at a CAGR of nine per cent from 2004-20105,6. According to Business Monitor International (BMI),7 Brazil’s pharmaceutical market is projected to reach $26.2bn in 2014. A report by Deloitte8 found that Brazil’s government has moved to align the drug regulatory environment with international standards, including intellectual property (IP) reforms carried out in recent years.

Deal making between global pharma giants and smaller Brazilian companies are helping to drive the success of the healthcare industry in Brazil, such as Sanofi’s purchase of Medley, Brazil’s largest generic-drug company and third-largest pharmaceutical maker9, and Amgen’s acquisition of privately-held Brazilian generics firm Bergamo, for $215 million10.

This demonstrated growth of the healthcare industry in Brazil and recent deal making activity highlights the importance of accessing the innovation and partnering opportunities in Latin America’s rapidly-growing life science industry. Registration for BIO Latin America is now open. We hope to see you there!

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