Lacerta Bio is a business development consultancy specializing in identifying, assessing, negotiating, and closing licensing and partnership opportunities for the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and drug delivery industries.

We also work with and support internal business development teams with market research, competitive intelligence, financial modeling, and other support services.

If you need assistance finding or assessing business development and/or partnership opportunities, contact us at

Current Projects

Problems Solved: GPR119 Agonists For Type II Diabetes  
Posted on Jun 10, 2014


Background GPR119 Activation leads to glucose-dependent insulin secretion and the release of GIP and GLP-1. This mechanism has generated a great deal of excitement in the diabetes research community, as it strongly mimics processes which take place during digestion. Additionally, this mechanism is superior to GLP-1 only approaches, without the problems associated with sulfonylureas and

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Preclinical ALK Ack 1 Oncology Asset Available for Licensing  
Posted on Sep 03, 2013


Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase (ALK) is emerging as an important target for novel, safe, oral anti-cancer therapies. First identified in 1994, ALK is believed to affect nearly 100,000 new NSCLC patients globally. In fact, ALK inhibition has potential in a wide variety of cancers, such as NSCLC, Lymphomas, inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors (IMT), neuroblastoma, and ovarian cancers. Our client’s

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Wnt Activators for Osteoporosis: First In Class Opportunity  
Posted on Sep 02, 2014


Background There are two general mechanisms of action for treating osteoporosis: Anti-Resorption Agents inhibit the normal resorption of bone, thereby slowing bone loss. But, this approach does not trigger de novo bone formation. Biphosphonates like zoledronic acid and disodium pamidronate are marketed examples of anti-resorption agents. Anabolic Agents are a relatively new approach to treating

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Our Latest Article

As Scarce As… 
Posted on Sep 23, 2014


Twenty Five.

That’s it.

What are we talking about?

Some of the data in yesterday’s excellent post by Bruce Booth on Early Stage Venture Scarcity really caught us by surprise.

What really caught our eye was this nugget:

To address this issue, FLAG Capital Management did a further refinement of “active” investors and shared it with me earlier this year (thanks to Kirsten Morin): by filtering ThomsonOne’s dataset for only investors that had made at least four new investments with at least $4M in aggregate during 2013, they identified only ~25 active healthcare venture capital investors.  That’s not a big pool.  And only a subset of those VCs actually help start or back drug discovery and research stage biotechs – probably only a dozen firms regularly start or fund more than 4-6 new biotech companies a year.

Only 25.


Think of it this way.

Let’s suppose that there are 250-500 life science start ups every year. This is a reasonable number, given the data published by the AUTM.

Out of this pool, only a fraction will be funded, since they will be competing with the companies which we formed last year, and so on.

So if there are 50 new funded biotechs per year (~10-12 firms funding ~4-6 companies p.a.), that leaves hundreds that remain unfunded.


OK, so it’s not quite that bad.

A percentage of these new companies will sign licensing or other deals with Big Pharma, even though there are not many multinational companies who would engage in these types of investments either.

Then there are the foundations, but they are typically highly focused on a specific disease or cause.

Regardless, unlike the go-go genomic days of the late 1990s, today we are in a strong buyers market.

That is, if you are a successful venture firm, you can likely raise another fund (if you haven’t already) and keep plugging away, evaluating and rejecting more opportunities than ever before.

If you are on the other side, trying to raise capital to bride the gap between early-stage research and FIM studies, you are potentially in a real predicament.

Creative sources of funding, coupled with creative licensing deals, may be the only way forward for many companies who don’t have a technology or platform that is quite sexy enough for most VCs.

Latest Posts

Small Molecule PEGylation: An Idea Ready For Prime Time 
Posted on Sep 17, 2014

At Lacerta Bio, we’re big believers in the therapeutic benefits of drug delivery in its many forms. Today, another drug delivery effort earned an FDA approval. In this case, it’s naloxegol from Nektar (and its partner, AstraZeneca). Naloxegol was approved for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation. Naloxegol is a highly interesting molecule because it consists of

Combination Products: Is A Different Regulatory Approach Needed? 
Posted on Sep 15, 2014

  This morning, California-based Avanir Pharmaceuticals announced that their combination of dextromethorphan HBr and quinidine sulfate (AVP-923) hit their Phase II endpoints in Alzheimer’s Disease: Treatment with AVP-923 was associated with significantly reduced agitation as measured by the primary endpoint, the agitation/aggression domain score of the neuropsychiatric inventory (NPI) compared to placebo (p=0.00008).  The reduction

White Paper: Six Considerations When Developing a Biosimilar Strategy 
Posted on Sep 11, 2014

  Thompson Reuters published a good overview of the challenges facing companies developing biosimilars. A few items which stood out for us were: Europe Has Led, But… – While 17 biosimilars have been launched in Europe, the path has been slow and uncertain. Pricing for biosimilars remains high, and issues such as product naming and

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