So, how did we do?
This year, our fifth, was very good. By all objective measures, 2015 was our most successful year, and we want to thank all of YOU for making this possible.
During this time of year, we look not only at our corporate/financial performance, but we also look at the performance of our web site, lacertabio.com. How was the traffic? Where did it come from? What were our most popular posts?
Sessions, Users, and Pageviews were up 76&, 87%, and 66%, respectively, compared to 2014. A major “spike” occurred in the weeks before, during, and after BIO 2015 in Philadelphia.
This is always a tough one to gauge, since older posts will obviously accumulate more traffic than newer ones. If we also ignore the traffic to the Home Page, About Us, etc., etc., we see that the following were the most popular pages on our site in 2015:
Why are companies unsuccessful with BD&L? – This post was published originally in January of 2012 (yes, twelve), and it remains one of our most popular pieces. Setting aside the fact that it could use a refresh, it’s interesting that this question still persists. After all, the headlines only capture successful deals, not the assets which failed to find a new home. Yet we continue to see assets which appear attractive on paper, but it no way match what in-licensing companies want, even though many of them state exactly what they are looking for on their web sites!
The moral of the story…licensors need to understand what their customers (the licensees) are looking for, and develop product concepts which match. You cannot convince a multinational pharmaceutical company to change their licensing strategy based on an individual asset (with rare exceptions).
Licensing or Acquiring Assets from Big Pharma – This post touched a nerve, for sure. In fact, it was a response to a question we received from a prospective client at BIO last year (and one which came up again a few times in Munich). How do you do it? Fortunately, we were able to build on a terrific post by Michael Gilman, the CEO of Padlock Therapeutics, as he has done this not once, but twice.
The reasons for successfully executing this type of transaction are complex. There is no set formula or algorithm to follow. But, the post does discuss a few general reasons why Big Pharma would not give you one of their assets, irrespective of the offer.
Small Molecule PEGylation – If you can PEGylate a peptide or protein for parenteral administration, why not an oral small molecule? It’s a simple idea, yet only a handful of companies are looking a this approach. The article has a link to a 2013 review article which provides an overview of the then current PEGylated oral small molecules in development. It would be interesting to see if others have moved forward in development.
What About 2016?
Next year will be an interesting one, especially with the continuing troubles in the Middle East and the upcoming Presidential elections. A few predictions:
Drug Pricing – We’ll see continued political pressure to introduce legislation which provides pricing controls on prescription drugs. Prescription drug prices are an easy, expedient, politically palatable target. So the candidates will continue to beat this drum in order to get elected.
More D, Less R – The movement towards letting other companies (and their investors) perform early-stage research and drug discovery will continue. It’s too attractive (and arguably, sensible) an option for major companies to pay more later rather than risk something now. Investors love de-risking, and this is plays well with this mindset. This also means…
More VC – Smart, established GPs will continue to raise new funds and invest in early stage companies (cf., OrbiMed, Sofinnova). These companies will likely be post-NIH/post-SBIR companies who are beyond seed stage, and are ready for institutional Series A financings. There will be a continued emphasis on investing in companies who are developing drug candidates which match what Big Pharma is looking for, i.e., orphan diseases, oncology, autoimmune diseases, etc. We may also see more investor money flowing from China into early-stage investments in the US and Europe.
Plans for 2016
Our modus operandi for 2016 will largely mirror that for 2015. We will attend the Biotech Showcase, BIO, and BIO Europe. We will also continue our work with our colleagues at Ventac Partners (dig their new web site), so that will entail at least one additional trip to Europe. Lastly, we’ll continue our efforts to finance a new biotech company (An update is here). On that front, we have executed an option agreement for some technology related to novel ophthalmology drug targets, and are currently meeting with investors and service providers.