Biotech Startups And The Hard Truth Of Innovation


This post is by Bruce from LifeSciVC


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Gary Pisano’s recent Harvard Business Review piece, The Hard Truth About Innovative Cultures, beautifully frames up how innovative corporate environments are frequently misunderstood. Innovative startups aren’t just about being cool and nimble, having beer taps in the kitchen, or an endless bounty of swag. Pisano sums up the harder, harsher reality of truly innovative environments: “These cultures are not all fun and games.”

Pisano’s piece struck a huge chord with my own experience working with both large pharma and small startups over the past 20 years.  And many of the observations are in line with my post from July 2017 on Distinctive Biotech Corporate Cultures.

While reading Pisano’s piece, my brain kept saying “Yes!” and “So true!” every few sentences.  I tweeted out my endorsement of the piece back in January but have finally gotten around to blogging on it; in this post, Continue reading “Biotech Startups And The Hard Truth Of Innovation”

All A-Board


This post is by Samantha Truex from LifeSciVC


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




This blog is written by Samantha Truex, Atlas EIR and CEO of a stealth-stage biotech, as part of the From The Trenches feature of LifeSciVC.

In a 2014 analysis  of biotech boards and a reprise analysis in 2016, Bruce Booth worked with life science recruiter Catalyst Advisors on this board talent blog. They estimated the demand for talent at >600 biotech Board Director spots needing to be filled in the few years following October 2016.

A critical question posed by Bruce and Catalyst Advisors was, from where will the talent come?   This issue is not unique to biotech.  According to Spencer Stuart’s 2018 board report on S&P 500 boards,  428 new directors were appointed to S&P 500 boards during the 2018 proxy year, the most since 2004.  So the search for talent to fill board seats is vast.

In the original post, Bruce stated, “When I’ve brought this

Continue reading “All A-Board”

Science2Startup 2019: Bringing Venture & Academia Together


This post is by Bruce from LifeSciVC


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




After last year’s inaugural success, we’re excited for 2019’s Science2Startup conference in April 2019, an invitation-only university-focused biotech entrepreneurship event aimed at building connectivity across the academic, tech transfer, and venture communities.

Working with a steering committee comprised of Atlas, F-Prime Capital, RA Capital, Osage University Partners, and MassConnect, we’ve got a great Science2Startup (S2S) planned for April 23, 2019, once again hosted at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, MA.  

As described last year, the mission of S2S is to connect world-class academic science with the venture ecosystem to stimulate the creation of innovative therapeutic discovery startups. We again hope that S2S can help “catalyze the convergence of ideas, people, and capital that will foster new venture formation”.

The event brings together investors, entrepreneurs, and academic colleagues to talk about innovative therapeutics coming out of universities worldwide and how we can work together to translate these ideas into

Continue reading “Science2Startup 2019: Bringing Venture & Academia Together”

Science2Startup 2019: Bringing Venture & Academia Together


This post is by Bruce from LifeSciVC


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




After last year’s inaugural success, we’re excited for 2019’s Science2Startup conference in April 2019, an invitation-only university-focused biotech entrepreneurship event aimed at building connectivity across the academic, tech transfer, and venture communities.

Working with a steering committee comprised of Atlas, F-Prime Capital, RA Capital, Osage University Partners, and MassConnect, we’ve got a great Science2Startup (S2S) planned for April 23, 2019, once again hosted at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, MA.  

As described last year, the mission of S2S is to connect world-class academic science with the venture ecosystem to stimulate the creation of innovative therapeutic discovery startups. We again hope that S2S can help “catalyze the convergence of ideas, people, and capital that will foster new venture formation”.

The event brings together investors, entrepreneurs, and academic colleagues to talk about innovative therapeutics coming out of universities worldwide and how we can work together to translate these ideas into

Continue reading “Science2Startup 2019: Bringing Venture & Academia Together”

Float Like A Butterfly: Agility In Biotech


This post is by Jonathan Montagu from LifeSciVC


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




This blog was written by Jonathan Montagu, CEO and co-founder of Hotspot Therapeutics, as part of the From The Trenches feature of LifeSciVC.  

In the quest towards building high-performing teams, biopharma can lift a page from the tech playbook around agile organizations.  This blog builds upon comparisons with tech relating to business model, investment returns and the dynamics of the different VC ecosystems.  In this post, I would like to draw lessons from how tech startups actually work and organize themselves.

One of the most dominant themes in tech is Agile software development, an approach that has been adopted by all of the most successful startups around the world.  Agile involves creating a simplified piece of software that is then iterated rapidly through input from real customers.  Iterations are generally short – typically one to four weeks – and are aptly called ‘sprints’.

On its

Continue reading “Float Like A Butterfly: Agility In Biotech”

Float Like A Butterfly: Agility In Biotech


This post is by Jonathan Montagu from LifeSciVC


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




This blog was written by Jonathan Montagu, CEO and co-founder of Hotspot Therapeutics, as part of the From The Trenches feature of LifeSciVC.  

In the quest towards building high-performing teams, biopharma can lift a page from the tech playbook around agile organizations.  This blog builds upon comparisons with tech relating to business model, investment returns and the dynamics of the different VC ecosystems.  In this post, I would like to draw lessons from how tech startups actually work and organize themselves.

One of the most dominant themes in tech is Agile software development, an approach that has been adopted by all of the most successful startups around the world.  Agile involves creating a simplified piece of software that is then iterated rapidly through input from real customers.  Iterations are generally short – typically one to four weeks – and are aptly called ‘sprints’.

On its

Continue reading “Float Like A Butterfly: Agility In Biotech”

Grey Hair In the C-Suite: Experience, Age, And IPOs In Biotech


This post is by Bruce from LifeSciVC


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Biotech venture investors often prefer to back executives and entrepreneurs with a bit of grey hair. Seasoned industry veterans that possess leadership charisma along with years of experience, and the oft-accompanying learned judgement, are highly sought-after in biopharma’s seemingly endless war for talent.

Earlier this month, I tweeted about how talent was the biggest constraint in biotech. I highlighted that the number of VC-backed startups in biotech remained constrained (relatively flat for years) despite huge increases in aggregate funding flows, and that this was caused by talent bottlenecks rather than limits on ideas or capital. The pool of executives/entrepreneurs with both demonstrated leadership skills and bona fide R&D/BD expertise is very limited.

This observation unleashed a storm on Twitter: I was apparently exhibiting rampant age-ism and ignoring the return-generating exuberance of youth; it was evidence that a biotech VC cartel actively keeps young people out; hedge funds apparently try to

Continue reading “Grey Hair In the C-Suite: Experience, Age, And IPOs In Biotech”

Painful Truth: Successful Failure Of A Biotech Startup


This post is by Bruce from LifeSciVC


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Back in the summer, I got the call that no biotech venture investor wants to get. On the morning of August 8th, I received an urgent text of “can you talk now?” quickly followed with a call. I learned then of very troubling news regarding a major preclinical safety concern, a “tox signal” in industry parlance, in one of our lead programs. Fast forward three months later, and we’re in the final steps of winding down the company. R.I.P. Quartet Medicine.

Chalk up Quartet as one of biotech venture investing’s “successful failures” – with that adjective providing an essential distinction. Yes, we and our co-investors lost all of our invested capital, and that hurts. But it was “successful” because we stayed disciplined to the investment thesis and focused on revealing the scientific truth. In the end, the team determined the probability of making a new

Continue reading “Painful Truth: Successful Failure Of A Biotech Startup”

Launching Science2Startup: Connecting Academics With Venture


This post is by Bruce from LifeSciVC


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




We’re excited to announce the launch of Science2Startup, an invitation-only university-focused biotech entrepreneurship event aimed at building connectivity across the academic, tech transfer, and venture communities.

This event is in many ways a relaunch of the successful URES (University Research & Entrepreneurship Symposium) event, which Atlas helped organize from 2006-2013. URES was widely viewed as a great event for connecting entrepreneurial academic investigators from all of the country with experienced venture investors in the Cambridge/Boston startup ecosystem.  Over the years, hundreds of proposals were reviewed from universities around the world, and dozens selected to present at URES events. An early 2011 blog post highlighted some of the projects that were being presented at URES 2011. There are more than dozen examples of startups that emerged from presentations at URES.

Working with our friends at SV Health Investors and F-Prime Capital, we’ve modeled Science2Startup (S2S) after some of the

Continue reading “Launching Science2Startup: Connecting Academics With Venture”

Distinctive Biotech Corporate Culture: Walk The Talk


This post is by Bruce from LifeSciVC


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Corporate culture is often hard to precisely define. Yet it’s always cited as being one of the key drivers of company outperformance, especially for startups. Recently I was asked to define what culture means by a young entrepreneur: beyond the fun social stuff, and beyond the cool company schwag, what really is startup corporate culture all about?

Everyone has their own definitions, but to me corporate culture is simply the collective product of how people behave and interact in a company.

There are plenty of far more knowledgeable sources on the generic elements of corporate culture, so I won’t elaborate them much here. But it’s worth exploring the role of corporate culture in early stage biotech and how specific behaviors contribute as a powerful differentiators in favor of the best companies.

Opining on the subject nearly twenty years ago, Christopher Henney, biotech pioneer and co-founder of Immunex, Icos, and

Continue reading “Distinctive Biotech Corporate Culture: Walk The Talk”

The Inescapable Gravity Of Biotech’s Key Clusters: The Great Consolidation Of Talent, Capital, & Returns


This post is by Bruce from LifeSciVC


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Two key geographic clusters dominate the biotech landscape today. These two areas, Boston and San Francisco, combine a unique blend of biomedical science, venture capital, entrepreneurial talent, risk-taking culture, and geographic density. Other regions have some or all of these elements, but not in the same magnitude or momentum that Boston and San Francisco have today – and the gap is just getting bigger.

Last year, GEN ranked Boston #1 and San Francisco #2 in their biotech clusters report (here). Others have covered these clusters and the rivalry between them (here), as the Economist did with “Clusterluck” earlier in 2016. But rather than draw distinctions between them, I’d like to focus on these key clusters relative to the rest of the biopharma ecosystem.

Context

Relative to the US biotech scene, Europe is often viewed as a laggard in the biopharma space from an entrepreneurial

Continue reading “The Inescapable Gravity Of Biotech’s Key Clusters: The Great Consolidation Of Talent, Capital, & Returns”

Our Experience With First-Time Biotech CEOs: Five Behaviors That Matter


This post is by Bruce from LifeSciVC


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Jumping into a first-time CEO role in an emerging biotech is a daunting but exciting opportunity – both for the newly-minted chief executive and their Board of Directors. A great hire can be positively catalytic to a startup; and, sadly, the unfortunate inverse is also true.  In light of this, helping recruit the leading executive for a startup biotech is probably the most important job of an early stage venture investor.

The choice of CEO has a huge impact on a startup’s future success, so taking a bet on a first-time as yet “unproven” CEO is a big decision. By definition, it’s inherently a more risky choice than backing a veteran “been there, done that” pick, as there’s no prior CEO track record to judge.

But many first-time CEOs massively outperform.

Indeed, some of the best CEO’s in the biotech business today were first-time CEOs at their present companies:

First time CEOs
CEO relationships

Continue reading “Our Experience With First-Time Biotech CEOs: Five Behaviors That Matter”

Moving From Academia To Successful Biotech: Optimizing Tech Transfer


This post is by Bruce from LifeSciVC


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




University tech transfer offices play a central role in the biotech ecosystem, as the successful commercialization of a discovery out of academia is the aspiration of many young startups. Navigating – and optimizing – this tech transfer process is therefore critical to the health of the biotech sector.

Before sharing a few venture-specific perspectives on improving tech transfer, it’s worth highlighting the differential role of academia and tech transfer in biotech vs tech VC-backed startups as an interesting dichotomy exists. While many of tech’s best entrepreneurs come straight out of (or skip) university and found great companies in their 20s, biotech’s typical scientific founders are professors who retain their roles as principal investigators within academia – and are paired with seasoned Pharma veterans who take on founding management roles. This nuance around the origins of the founders leads to an important difference in venture creation: most new biotech startups arise

Continue reading “Moving From Academia To Successful Biotech: Optimizing Tech Transfer”

Entrepreneuring Post-Pharma


This post is by Jason Gardner from LifeSciVC


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




This blog was written by Jason Gardner, Atlas EIR and founding CEO of a new stealth-stage startup, as part of the From The Trenches feature of LifeSciVC.

What are you doing? This is the most frequent yet simple question that I have been asked since joining Atlas Venture last November as an Entrepeneur-in-Residence (EIR). What’s that job? Is a closely-followed second.

I will tackle both questions in this blog, and give some perspectives on how there are some surprising learnings from pharma that apply in early stage biotech venture creation.

My story starts earlier in 2015, when I met the Atlas team through an unlikely route as I joined their regular Thursday morning running group for a few brisk miles along the Charles River. Good ideas ignite anywhere, and I fell into a pace and conversation with Bruce, who described the EIR role. Over a few more miles of running Continue reading “Entrepreneuring Post-Pharma”

Top Ten Most Engaging LifeSciVC Posts Of 2015


This post is by Bruce from LifeSciVC


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




As 2015 comes to a conclusion, it’s a good time reflect on the year’s progress – celebrating the wins, thinking through the losses, and learning from both.

One specific reflection of late regards this blog: I’ve looked back at the 58 pieces that were posted on the LifeSciVC blog in 2015, either from me or from a set of Atlas’ entrepreneurs in the From The Trenches feature. I thought it may be of value to readers to see a curated list of ten of the posts that were “most engaging” to this blog’s overall audience (either by numbers of visits, time on site, or dialogue thereafter).

Here are five of the most engaging blog posts from 2015, ordered by date:

A Leadership Imperative: Getting More C-Level Women In Biotech


This post is by Bruce from LifeSciVC


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The relative absence of women from significant leadership roles in the biotech industry has rightfully become a front-and-center topic, in part prompted by a wave of coverage on the subject (here, here, here, here). Liftstream’s recent report, titled “Diversifying the outlook : The X&Y of biotechnology leadership”, is particularly compelling in its review of the issue, the underlying data, and what can be done about it.

Adding to this, in an excellent and data-rich “From The Trenches” blog post this morning, Nimbus Therapeutics’ CSO, Rosana Kapeller, asks the important question of “Where are the women?” in biotech today. Over the past few weeks since she and I connected on the topic, it’s prompted a lot of thinking and triggered some self-reflection.

The bottom line of her blog, and other recent reports, is this: women make up 50% of the talent pool (here Continue reading “A Leadership Imperative: Getting More C-Level Women In Biotech”

Biotech Circa 2015 AD: Where Are The Women?


This post is by Rosana Kapeller from LifeSciVC


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




This blog was written by Rosana Kapeller, CSO of Nimbus Therapeutics, as part of the “From the Trenches” feature of LifeSciVC.

A few weeks ago, a member of our board sent an email to a group of biotech CSOs suggesting that we gather periodically to share new insights and get more connected with the community. I thought it was a fantastic idea that could turn into a productive and valuable meeting. Before drafting an email offering to organize it (I am a good girl, my mother taught me well) I looked on the “to” line and, to my surprise, I was the only woman out of 12 CSOs. That made me reconsider sending out my enthusiastic response for this gathering, not because I did not think it was important, but because I did not want to set the precedent, as the only woman in the group, to be the

Slide1
Slide2
Slide3

Continue reading “Biotech Circa 2015 AD: Where Are The Women?”

Autonomy, Ownership, And Trust – Keys To Entrepreneurial Success


This post is by Michael Gladstone from LifeSciVC


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




This blog was written by Michael Gladstone, Principal at Atlas Venture, as part of the “From the Trenches” feature of LifeSciVC.

I had an interesting discussion with a veteran of a rapidly growing biotech. He’d been at his company at the beginning, “when the lab was across the street from a crackhouse,” as he put it, and he’s there now. The lab/offices today are far more expansive and expensive, and all of the best crackhouses are miles away.

The discussion was a familiar one about how (or if) a growing, scaling organization can retain/regain the ingenuity of its gritty early days as a small, eager new company.

Where does ingenuity come from?

I’ll briefly re-introduce some of the critical components of this topic, and then focus on one where I can hopefully say something new (or at least interesting).

Motivation:

The Other Side Of The Fence


This post is by Ron Renaud from LifeSciVC


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




This blog was written by Ron Renaud, CEO of RaNA Therapeutics, as part of the “From the Trenches” feature of LifeSciVC.

In a previous post I was extolling the virtues of leading a private company. Specifically, the freedom of being able to build our company, RaNA Therapeutics, brick by brick without the constant weight of the public market. For the most part, I remain steadfast in my previous observations but I wish some seasoned, private company veteran could have advised me about the fundraising part.

While RaNA recently completed a very successful and oversubscribed Series B, there is no sugarcoating the process of raising capital as a private company. As someone who has been involved in the public side of our industry for more than 20 years and raised over $500 million, I could not grasp how different the process would be. As a public company CFO and CEO, Continue reading “The Other Side Of The Fence”