Life After Start-Up Stadium: ViRAZE

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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.

Rajiv Khosla, CEO and Co-Founder of ViRAZE

This is the second in a series of guest blogs highlighting Start-Up Stadium success stories as told by former participants. Today we spoke with 2015 Alum, Rajiv Khosla, Ph.D., CEO and Co-Founder of ViRAZE.

BTN: Can you tell us about your start-up?
ViRAZE is an emerging biotechnology company utilizing a patented high throughput screening (HTS) technology to discover and develop new small molecules to treat viral diseases. Our initial emphasis is on viral dermatology diseases that have unsatisfactory treatment options.

BTN: Was the Start-Up Stadium platform able to assist you in gaining visibility?
ViRAZE, a University of Pennsylvania PCI company, was an inaugural presenter at BIO 2015. We presented in front of a “stadium” of about 30 people, plus three seasoned judges. The increased awareness resulted in post-presentation interaction with BioPharma companies and service providers interested in learning more – some of which are proving fruitful today.

BTN: Did you receive constructive live feedback at the Start-Up Stadium from stakeholders and subject matter experts?
For a fledgling company, the benefit of presenting to professionals who provide meaningful critique, and constructive feedback was invaluable. BIO’s Start-Up Stadium is a must do if you are a recent University spin-out or newly emerging Biotech company.

BTN: How have you implemented any feedback to achieve success and continued growth?
Encouraged by our positive experience in 2015, we returned in 2016 and actively engaged using BIO’s One-on-One Partnering™ and Business Forum. This year, ViRAZE was nominated as a “Technologies of Tomorrow” company in the Buzz of BIO competition. Yet another opportunity to raise awareness and potentially secure additional partnerships for ViRAZE.
BTN: Were your BIO One-on-One Partnering™ meetings successful? Did they generate valuable connections with potential for meaningful partnerships?
From my Business Development career in corporate Pharma, BIO One-on-One Partnering™ was the stimulus for at least 65% of licensing deals that our Pharma company consummated. The efficiency enabled ViRAZE to meet with 30 potential partners in the span of three days. Some of these meetings have led to ongoing discussions as well as due diligence to further explore a partnership deal!

BTN: Although no longer eligible to participate in the Start-Up Stadium, will you be returning the 2017 BIO International Convention?
We will be in San Diego – wouldn’t want to miss out on BIO’s Partnering program!
If you are a Biotech company looking to partner-out your asset or a Pharma company seeking to partner-in for your pipeline: the Start-Up Stadium, BIO One-on-One Partnering™, and annual BIO International Convention are essential events in your annual plans.


About: ViRAZE has a proprietary drug discovery platform, which exploits the proteins necessary for DNA replication as novel drug targets, to discover and develop first-in-class small molecules to treat viral diseases. ViRAZE has a lead program for the first and only FDA approved topical drug product to treat the skin disease, Molluscum contagiosum. The program recently secured a $3 million NIH grant for certain IND-enabling studies. ViRAZE is actively seeking investors and partners to file the IND. To learn more, visit: www.viraze.net.

About today’s guest: Rajiv Khosla has had an extensive career in the BioPharmaceutical industry, with experience in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. His most recent corporate stint was VP BD Biovail; since then he has been CEO and Board member at emerging Biotechs, and now a co-founder of ViRAZE

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