Building a Virtually Integrated Life Sciences Company

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The traditional business model dominating the pharmaceutical industry for over 100 years is rapidly eroding under new drivers for innovation and increasing financial pressures. Big Pharma as an integrated business from basic scientific research all the way through to marketing, manufacturing, and distribution is rapidly changing as more biotechnology innovation is coming straight from the laboratories of universities and independent research institutions. Smaller companies, often startups, are also using technologies developed at non-profit institutions to develop new lead compounds, new manufacturing methodologies, and new drug delivery vehicles, rather than invest in their own in-house early stage research.
Financing, too, can be a serious challenge. The almost total absence of an initial public offering market requires that venture capital firms reserve money for later rounds and require companies in which they do invest to make that money last much longer than before. Accordingly, today’s biotech companies need to build a company around their core strengths and forge relationships with other businesses that provide complementary goods and services in order to conserve resources. The result is no longer the Fully Integrated Pharmaceutical Company, but really more of a Virtually Integrated Pharmaceutical Company. Moreover, this model is being used, not just for pharmaceuticals, but for a wide variety of life science products and services, including diagnostics and devices.
The December 6, 2008 session of the Caltech/MIT Enterprise Forum will focus on the new business model for the biotechnology entrepreneur. What is the essential core of a life sciences business? What parts of the business can be delegated to others? How, and when, does the fledgling company develop relationships with other companies with complementary strengths? What are the nature of the relationships between new companies and the large life sciences companies? Which relationships are advantageous and which are potentially dangerous? Even more important, who invests in these virtual companies and what criteria are they using?
Our panel of speakers will include representatives of two different kinds of research institution, a contract manufacturers, a clinical research organization, a pharmaceutical company, and the venture capital community.

Saturday morning, December 6, 2008
Registration and Continental Breakfast: 8:00 a.m. at Baxter Hall, Caltech
Program: 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Baxter Lecture Hall
Networking: 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon at Baxter Hall, Caltech
Directions/Maps: Directions to the Forum; Caltech’s Interactive Map


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