Hard Core Values

This blog was written by Tariq Kassum, COO of Obsidian Therapeutics, as part of the From The Trenches feature of LifeSciVC.

Early in the morning of April 24, 2018, I woke with a knot in my stomach because I knew that a tough negotiation – perhaps the most challenging of the year – lay ahead. In a few hours we would determine the future of Obsidian Therapeutics. We had to get it right. I rubbed my eyes wearily and hit the gym to chase the butterflies away. Not even a series of lung-curdling sprints on the Concept 2 could alleviate the tension.

We had rented a conference room downtown to provide a neutral environment. I arrived early to make sure the snacks and whiteboards were in place, and I fussed with the A/C to prioritize alertness over comfort. Things were about to get real.

My colleagues entered. We sat down,

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Little by Little: Real Life Lessons In Business Development

This blog was written by Tariq Kassum, COO and Head of Corporate Development at Obsidian Therapeutics, as part of the From The Trenches feature of LifeSciVC.

Experience can be a tough teacher. Over the last two decades as a biotech investment banker, investor, pharma business development executive, and now company entrepreneur I’ve built up my fair share of deal-related scar tissue. However, for my first LifeSciVC post today, I’ll share three key lessons that I was lucky enough to learn in a completely pain-free fashion. Plus, I’ll provide some thoughts on how you too can accelerate your learning in a way that doesn’t leave visible marks.

First, some background: I trained as a medical doctor but then moved to the business side of healthcare – originally as a biotech investment banker, then as a healthcare stock analyst. In 2009 I left Wall Street and started working for Millennium/Takeda, where I

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