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The ICR Westwicke Blog is designed to deliver information and insights into the ever-changing world of healthcare communications.

How to Raise Your Science Profile in a Crowded Investor Space

Posted on April 10th, 2019. Posted by

How to Raise Your Science Profile in a Crowded Investor Space

Drawing investor attention can pose a challenge, even for companies with groundbreaking, new science. In a space teeming with competition, it’s vital that emerging biophama companies developing innovative therapies also establish strong messaging to reach and intrigue potential investors.

To appreciate the landscape, keep in mind that investors focused on privately held and publicly traded biopharma companies are inundated with opportunities on a daily basis, taking in over 50 private company ideas a month. Being able to distill and distinguish your science is key to attracting their interest.

Scientific founders accustomed to speaking with colleagues PhD-to-PhD likely need a different approach when addressing an investor audience, delivering a clear and memorable message that captures their program’s core strengths and status in lay language.

Whether you have five minutes in an elevator or have landed a one-hour meeting, your pitch needs to emphasize why investors should back your company. Top executives need to explain the firm’s fundamental science, how it developed, and how it ties into their leading therapeutic candidates.

When working with clients, we recommend they shape this information into three or four bullet points with supporting data. It’s important to highlight your top candidates, explaining the mechanism of action, distinctive qualities and benefits for each

You may be tempted to go into fine detail, but audience members typically won’t recall more than five main points. A clear, concise pitch that emphasizes your pipeline’s core science and selling points will make a stronger impression than an exhaustive (and exhausting) report.

What sort of facts do you need to deliver?

  1. Provide Key Data, Milestones, Status
    Investors will expect you to outline the clinical and preclinical trial data you’ve amassed to date, as well as your lead candidates’ clinical and regulatory history and upcoming milestones. They’ll want to know where you are in the process now and where you expect to be in the next one to three years; they may also ask about your potential exit strategy.

    If you’ve reached the clinical phase, they’ll expect a synopsis of any results to date and your exchanges with the FDA or other regulatory authorities. If you’re conducting Phase I or II trials on an expedited basis in Israel or Canada, be prepared to share information about your interactions with regulators there.

  2. Give Competitive Context
    Potential backers also need to hear where your lead candidates will fit in the competitive scene when approved – where you stack up against peers’ treatments for the same indications, whether currently on the market or in the pipeline, as well as if your therapeutic will be dose as single agent or in combination.As we remind our management team clients, investors walk into the room with any number of existing biases. Perhaps they’re already invested in a peer company, heard about a rival that experienced a drug failure, or know about a different type of treatment that uses your candidate’s MOA.To keep your presentation on track, touch on the competitive scenario in slides or provide succinct comments with a couple of examples. You don’t want the conversation to be hijacked and shifted to the competition. Mention the landscape, then redirect your audience back to your fundamental science and the investment opportunity.
  3. Convey Credibility, Passion
    While data and science are important, your presentation needs more than slides and bullet points. Remember to let your C-suite spokesperson’s authenticity and passion shine.Every personality is unique. Executives need to come across as believable and authentic, leaving a memorable impression and showing their commitment to advancing the program. Since investors ultimately back the management team, they need confidence in those leaders and their track records.
  4. Practice and Prepare
    First impressions matter, and no one wants to freeze when speaking with investors. It’s hard to overestimate the value of practice and preparation in presenting your firm in the best light.When coaching management, we organize rehearsals, film executives, help develop the presentation and speaker notes, show leaders how to tell their story in 15 minutes, and suggest they learn to adjust the message for different audiences. We find it often helps to provide the C-suite team with a Q&A document containing the top 15 most common investor questions.It’s also important to make sure the team presents cohesively – that everyone knows his or her material and that no one talks over colleagues, which can send a negative signal.

    Whatever its length, this conversation is your chance to come across as confident, committed, credible, and passionate about your program.

Investors are looking for pioneering therapies and talented leadership teams. By delivering a strong message that highlights your science and its distinctive advantages, your firm can stand out even in a highly competitive environment. Want to learn more about how to make the most of investor meetings and effectively attract investor interest in your science? Read about how to Tailor Your Investor Meetings to the Audience and Timeframe.

Stephanie Carrington

Stephanie Carrington is a Managing Director on Westwicke's life sciences team. She has extensive experience in healthcare investor relations and strategic communications. She has a BA in economics and international relations from Smith College and an MBA in finance and international business from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

View full bio   |   Other posts by Stephanie Carrington

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