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WIB-Greater Boston: Networking Events, September, 2015

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Friday, June 21, 2019

September Networking Events A Success

September was a busy month for the Greater Boston Chapter. The first event outside of the Cambridge/Boston area in the past two years took place at EMD Serono’s offices in Billerica on September 10, 2015. During the event a Serono HR representative spoke briefly about the importance of diversity in the workplace. Kelly Kral, Chair of the Boston Chapter, then discussed WIB’s goals and objectives, and what makes WIB diverse. Following these discussions, attendees networked and socialized in a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere overlooking the water. Thank you, EMD Serono, for hosting this event.

On September 15th, 16th, and 17th, WIB-Greater Boston had a presence at the annual BioPharm America conference, a three day conference with more than 850 delegates from approximately 500 companies. WIB had a table at the event, and spoke with many attendees seeking additional information on the organization. As usual, this event provided a great opportunity to spread the word about WIB! In addition, WIB attended the Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) conference and raised awareness further for our group. Thanks to EBD Group and Life Science Nation for providing these opportunities.

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WIB-Greater Boston: Funding Boot Camp, August 13, 2015

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Friday, June 21, 2019

The 1-2-3’s of Biotech Fundraising: WIB-Greater Boston’s Funding Boot Camp

How can biotech entrepreneurs improve their chances at successful fundraising? To start, “make sure your positioning is clear and written in a way that any investor can understand,” implored Danielle Silva, Vice President of Business Development for Life Science Nation. “And make sure your list of indications is shorter than your grocery list!”

WIB Greater Boston’s Program Chair, Silva was the featured speaker at the chapter’s recent Fundraising Boot Camp held on August 13, 2015. She shared her perspective on current trends and new funding approaches from Pharma, private and patient foundations, direct investors, and even crowdfunding. Silva then took attendees through each fundraising step, from where to start in thinking about raising money to a realistic view of timelines and costs, how to find and approach targets, and what collateral is an absolute must-have (this includes a tagline).

When it comes to the pitch deck, Silva advised entrepreneurs to put their “ask” at the beginning as well as in the executive summary so that potential investors can view the rest of the presentation through that filter. Otherwise, she said, your meeting could end before getting into one the most important points. She also recommended listing the management team up front, since the investment will be as much in your people as in your technology.

While it might seem obvious, Silva also advised entrepreneurs to “do their homework” to understand as much about their mandate as possible before contacting them, and to consider reaching out to those who are a fit now as well as in the future. And finally, be persistent in following up by both phone and email to keep the dialogue alive.

We give many thanks to the host of our event, Microsoft’s New England Research & Development (NERD) Center in Cambridge.

Also watch this event in our member-exclusive Video Library!

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WIB-Greater Boston: "Shark Tank" Event, March 24, 2015

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Friday, June 21, 2019

To celebrate Women’s History month, on March 24, 2015, WIB-Greater Boston held a “Shark Tank” event featuring two groups of influential women in the biotech space, investment firms and fundraising companies.

Maria Berkman, Director, Broadview Ventures; Janice Bourque, Managing Director, Life Sciences, Hercules Technology Growth Capital; and Christine de los Reyes, VP of Business Development and Strategic Planning, Alopex represented investment firms.

Fundraising companies included Marcia Fournier, CEO, Bioarray Therapeutics; Kate Blanchard, COO, ORIG3N; Bonnie Fendrock, CEO, Cyta Therapeutics; Anna Villarreal, CEO, Lifestory; and Carolyn Green, Founding Director, Seropeutics.

Personalized medicine was a significant theme of the event, with three of the presenting companies targeting major problems in the current standard of care for women’s cancers. By using biomarker diagnostics, personalized monitoring devices, and nanotech drug delivery mechanisms, these entrepreneurs hope to offer earlier detection, personalized treatment options, and targeted treatment to women with ovarian and breast cancer.

It was a very dynamic session, with many lessons for both the presenting companies and the audience overall. For instance we heard from the investors that they really want to know how science is guiding a business. While it’s important for executives to deliver a business pitch, not an academic pitch, they want explanations of how a company’s plan is backed up by research.

The sharks also pointed out a number of potential pitfalls for companies that are collecting and using personal health data. A startup has to demonstrate that they have the in-house expertise not only to use this data, but also to provide it to the user and to protect it adequately from unauthorized access.

The sharks also pointed out that new healthcare technologies have to work with physicians. For instance, physicians will not order a biomarker test unless that physician is familiar with the biomarker and believes in the information it provides. In addition, the sharks noted that "the ask" is important – it has to be clear and it has to be reasonable. This can be a difficult part of the pitch to get right, perhaps particularly for women entrepreneurs, who can often receive a negative response in the workplace when they initiate financial negotiations.

Attendees enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while networking prior to the start of the presentations. The event was very well attended, and included a large number of walk-ons. Thanks to all the sharks and presenting companies, as well as to Microsoft Technology Center for hosting us!

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