As of this writing, there are 100 days until we’re wheels up and on our way to BIOEurope Spring in Amsterdam.
Many believe it is too soon to think about a conference that is over three months away…or is it?
This one gets complicated because of the intervening Winter Holidays and New Year. And there is the matter of negotiating the San Francisco conferences as well.
However, 100 days is NOT too soon to prepare. And, in this post, we’ll attempt to convince you of this by presenting a rough outline of what you should be doing, specifically from the perspective of a company who is out-licensing drug candidates.
November – December Activities
Travel – Price hotel and flights, and make sure there is budget for the trip
Portfolio Review – Do you have multiple assets you wish to out-license? Now is the time to conduct a license-ability assessment. Which ones are potentially the most attractive to partners? How do we prioritize from an out-licensing perspective? Note that it is not always the most advanced asset which is the most attractive one.
The “Who?” Question – Who within the organization is running the process? Too many companies make the mistake of assuming the CEO is the best person to run the process. Set the hubris aside and choose a person who has the personal and communication skills, combined with the energy required for an intensive 4 days. Bring the hard-line negotiators into the process later.
The List – Reviewing the analysis performed earlier, which companies would you like to meet? Why would they want to meet with you? Does their portfolio/pipeline have gaps which your candidate can fill? Are they even in the relevant markets (therapeutic and geographic)?
Presentations – Now is the time to start preparing presentations (plural). We regularly preach the need to have multiple presentations ready, as the conference presentations should be shorter and more graphic than follow up presentations (which are longer and with more prose).
Data Room – How does the data room look? Is it well organized? Are there summaries in the relevant folders? Are you using slides to enhance your data room summaries?
Registration – Save a few hundred dollars/euros/pounds by registering before January 19. And book that hotel & flight right away.
Go! – BIOEurope begins on March 12. So it’s safe to assume that the partnering system will open in early to mid February. Further, if there will be ~2,500 attendees, approximately 1,000 or more will already be registered at the opening of partnering. Depending on your drug candidates, you may have plenty of time to search for companies…or you may be reviewing large numbers of companies. In either case, now is the time to start bookmarking.
Invitations – Customization of outbound meeting invitations is critical, as is ensuring that they are clearly written, short, and purposeful. If you are looking for investors as well, that is a separate kind of invitation and separate presentation.
Presentations – As meeting invitations are accepted, now is the time to customize some of your presentations, especially if you have meetings with key potential partners.
Wrap it up – Wheels up in less than two weeks! By now, your laptop/tablet should be organized with multiple versions of your meeting presentation, if needed. By the way, if you are planning on showing your slides from your phone, please stay home and let someone else attend. Initial reports to Senior Management should also be prepared in order to manage expectations. Now is also a good time to make those evening plans. It is Amsterdam, after all.
So, there you have it…a rough outline of activities in preparation for BIO Europe in March. For many companies, last-minute preparation simply will not work well. This is especially true when it comes to the presentations. Early analysis of potential partners means communications can be tailored to that company, making it increasingly likely that the conversation will move forward past follow up and towards confidentiality. That is the ultimate benefit of early preparation and attendance.