As the previously free-flowing funding becomes more difficult to acquire, emerging biotech companies must craft an impeccable pitch to compete in the crowded fundraising market to secure the funds they rely on for the long and expensive development process. Biotechs can hone their pitch with the guidelines provided in this blog and through early engagement opportunities with strategic partners.
Now more than ever, emerging biotech companies must differentiate themselves in a crowded fundraising market. The market is flush with biotechs vying for funds to fuel their long and involved asset development processes, but the funding they need is increasingly difficult to acquire. Even within private fundraising, the biotech market has seen a significant 30% decrease in fundraising values from 2021 to 2022. The market is becoming more elusive and exclusive. Developing a powerful pitch that sells your story and tells investors exactly how and when a new drug will move through the various development stage gates is key to fundraising success. This blog shares some key principles to bear in mind as you ready your pitch to compete for funds.
Begin with the end in mind
One of the most common pitfalls in a fundraising pitch is failure to address the company’s long-term strategy. Investors want to back a drug or company that knows where it’s going, and how the new capital will take it there and at what point they can recoup their investment. Consider the projected company growth as well as the potential exit strategy and communicate that clearly in your pitch. Delve into the details of your asset development, market and patient positioning to show investors that you have thought through the whole process. Too many companies get carried away on the euphoria of cutting-edge science and believe that’s enough to secure funding, but they also need to demonstrate their long-term value and clinical benefit which will ultimately dictate the return on investment. Failure to define the overall strategy and how this funding infusion will facilitate each step on the journey and build value will leave investors hesitant. Ultimately, you need to know exactly where you want to go and determine the best way of getting there.
Narrower focus, bigger impact
A lack of focus can undermine the impact of your pitch. Enthusiastic developers will want to go after everything, a broad stroke cure-all within a disease or broad therapeutic area. Too wide a target signals to investors that you may not fully understand your drug and its impact on the disease or therapeutic area. Narrowing the focus also de-risks the program in the long run by establishing more precise measures of clinical benefit among the target patient populations. Selecting defined populations with unmet needs, or areas where there is less competition for the patient populations, can benefit the clinical strategy and time to the read-out of an important endpoint. The overall clinical strategy should define how you intend to achieve clinical proof of concept and how you will transition towards your ultimate target clinical trial population. Sometimes, the strategy could be to target an orphan designation that can accelerate the program, but an asset which addresses a high unmet medical need can also be equally appealing for investment.
Comprehensive consulting for a competitive edge
Emerging biotech companies often comprise a few key scientists or principal researchers along with a small network of consultants. In the early stages, these virtual biotechs operate lean and agile, leveraging their close networks and utilising consultants to cover their expanding operational requirements. However, as they prepare for fundraising rounds to fuel development, biotechs can gain significant benefit from partnering with larger organisations who are well established with the investment community.
Without a thoughtful outsourcing strategy, you can end up with a small army of consultants managing separate scopes. Not only is this costly and difficult to manage, but fragmented consultants don’t have the comprehensive, continuous perspective that an emerging biotech needs to better understand potential risks at each development phase. An experienced bench-to-bedside CRO offers a different perspective to the typical biotech consultants and can provide you with institutional knowledge backed by experience. A CRO partner can assist in gap analysis and identifying and mitigating risk, and importantly, they are positioned to have those tough conversations that ultimately improve the program and your pitch.
Passion engages, data sells
Selling your story requires more than boilerplate language and a generic slide deck. Tie your vision to the science and outline a clear and focused path through the development process. Passion is what makes a pitch impactful however, data makes it believable and builds confidence in potential investors. You should be clear about when you expect data will be available and how that will impact the decision-making. You need to understand that not all investors are the same. Demonstrate that you know what they want and how they operate by providing them with a custom pitch full of the information and enthusiasm they need to get on board. Tailoring the approach for each new pitch will optimise your impact.
Be heard by the right people
Honing your pitch story is half the battle. The next half is pitching it. The free-flowing funds of previous years have tightened up, making it more challenging to get in the door. Partnering with a CRO with a strong network within the industry can facilitate those relationships, bringing biotech companies one step closer to developing novel therapies by making crucial introductions. ICON has strategic partnerships with venture capital firms and leading life science investment banks, creating a unique drug development ecosystem for biotech companies.
As the funding that biotech companies rely on becomes more elusive, crafting an impeccable pitch is critical to help you stand out from the crowd and sell your story. The earlier biotech companies begin preparing for pitches, the better, as a competitive pitch requires extensive due diligence and development considerations often missed at the early fundraising stage. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and following the key factors discussed in this blog will help position your biotech company for fundraising success.
As a full-service CRO, ICON has the experience, institutional knowledge and a full suite of services to assist in your asset development. We can create a bespoke advisory team of operational and strategic experts from our pool of 8,000 biotech specialists to help you prepare for each stage of your growth trajectory.