#MHVF Approaches to Drug Development

Today I had the chance for a panel conversation with Geeta Vemuri from Baxter Ventures and Ed Silverman from Pharmalot blog (Wall Street Journal) at the Midwest Healthcare Venture Forum. Our general topic was how we (an entrepreneur and a corporate venture capitalist) look at bringing drugs/devices to market. Here are a couple of takeaways from our conversation:

At Quintessence, we licensed multiple technologies discovered at the University of Wisconsin Madison (WARF). It took us some time and money but we developed a compelling program from one in cancer drug development.



When “selling” your science/technology, you should be able to articulate what problem your product solves for your customer. While this tidbit sounds like sales 101, I spend a lot of time figuring out whether and how my product fits into the pipeline of a potential pharma partners or the portfolio of a venture capital company. In oncology, this exercise has become more challenging as our industry has brought a number of great drugs to market over the last decade. But funders/partners see too many stories to do the heavy lifting of figuring out market fit to understand if they should buy your product. I’ll post more on this topic soon.



I didn’t mean to say that on stage but there it is. I recently wrote another post that applies here: We All Need a Risk Framework, which is based on a book by Howard Marks, Chairman and cofounder of Oaktree Capital Management. (To hook you into reading the post, the end is a quote from Bruce Booth at Atlas Ventures about cancer drug targets.)


Thanks to MedCity News for the opportunity. Looking forward to next year’s event.

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