Ten key tips for presenting your biotech company to investors and pharma

August 19, 2016 Erin Righetti


Obtaining critical funding for your biotech startup or research project can be a daunting enterprise. To increase your odds of success, follow these top ten tips from biopharma industry leaders on how to give a high quality and effective company pitch.


  1. “Good science isn’t enough to attract investment or partnership opportunities, you have to have a good business plan, and you need to be able to demonstrate a market for the technology you are developing.” –  Angus McQuilken, VP, Marketing and Communications, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC)
  2. “Do your homework before going out to pitch to demonstrate that you know your potential target audience as well as possible. Use your network to get a personal introduction, know a little about people’s background before meeting with them, and determine ahead of time if they are currently interested in investing in your area.” – Tom Luby, Senior Director, New Ventures, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Boston
  3. “Know your competition. The more detailed your competitive analysis, and the more thorough your answers on why your company is superior, the more traction you will get with investors.” – Steve Dickman, CEO, CBT Advisors
  4. “In today’s payer-dominated environment, pharma companies are very reluctant to take on commercial risk in the form of programs unlikely to be first in class and/or those which are clearly differentiated from a less expensive (generic) standard of care. If you are trying to partner an asset fitting this description, you must own the differentiation argument and be prepared to support it with concrete and realistic development options, both pre- and post-launch.”- Ed Saltzman, President, Defined Health
  5. “Credibility is the most important asset a startup owns and easiest to lose. It is important to not get ahead of yourself and promise more that you can deliver. Know your limitations and weaknesses and turn them into the use of proceeds for your next investment.” – Douglas MacDougall, President, MacDougall Biomedical Communications
  6. “Be prepared to show Proof of Relevance in lieu of proof of concept since compelling science alone is typically insufficient to inflect significant value. Biotechs must present a realistic and well thought out strategy to capture the clinical and economic relevance of the innovation in its most likely indications, patient populations and treatment settings.” – Ed Saltzman
  7. “As you think about alternative partners, look into government sources of funding, both federal and state. Competing successfully for grants and loans from government sources is a signal to private investors that your company has been vetted by experts and determined to be a good investment opportunity. Massachusetts offers several non-dilutive investment programs through the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center!” –  Angus McQuilken
  8. “When presenting to investors, keep your story simple, don’t get bogged down in the details and articulate the short-term and long term investment thesis – remember… less is more.” – Douglas MacDougall
  9. “The team is the most important element of any investment. Make sure to highlight their strengths, identify any gaps in their experience, and address how you plan to fill them.” – Tom Luby
  10. “Pitching a VC means pitching the whole partnership. But often only one person will attend the initial meeting. That is why the slides and other materials you share have to carry (or at least tease) the whole story. Make them count.” – Steve Dickman


Looking for an opportunity to pitch to investors? Biotech Startup Day, (#BPAStartupDay) held September 14 at BioPharm America™ in Boston, will bring together early stage projects and young companies with Boston’s leading financiers, pharma dealmakers and biotech business leaders.

The Biotech Startup Day full day program is specifically designed to enhance partnering between innovative biotech companies and development partners, and to enable them to make the connections that matter. Register now.

[reposted from 8/31/15]




About the Author

Erin Righetti

Editor-in-Chief, Insight

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