Succeeding in Industry

by Julia Panina (Student, MSc Drug Discoery & Translational Biology)

The Leadership and Entrepreneurship in the Biotech Industry workshop was both educational and inspiring, housing two expert speakers, Dr. Howard Marriage and Dr. Carmel Reilly.

Dr. Marriage first presented an overview of the current business models in life sciences, stressing the importance of aiming a start-up company towards an unmet need in the current market. He spoke about the different types of companies, ranging from medical devices and imaging, to medicinal chemistry CRO’s, to virtual companies and bioinformatics tools. A novel aspect for most in the audience was the break-down of costs involved, the appealing arguments that should be presented to possible investors, and cost-efficient, profitable exit strategies. Underlining the vast array of technical, practical, regulatory, and financial risks along the way, he introduced an individual who had overcome them all to become CEO of a successful biotech company herself.

Dr. Carmel Reilly, the CEO of Neurocentrx, presented her professional development and explained the particular considerations of working in specialty pharmaceuticals. Neurocentrx focuses on providing medication to specific patient groups as efficiently as possible. A large portion of their work focuses on neurodegenerative disorders and management of acute pain, particularly in chemotherapy patients. Dr. Reilly explained the particular business model of her company, and then invited the students to participate in an exercise in which each group formulated and pitched their unique business proposal.

The demanding, fast-paced and exciting exercise definitely reflected the tone of starting up in the real world biotech scene. By the end of the day, the students passionately proved their knowledge and potential to succeed in this industry in the near future.