See CNBC interview: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000066684#
Several successful biotechnology companies in our portfolio have begun on a white board in a lone office over several months, and are now providing important therapies to patients, or are in human clinical trials. Examples range from Momenta, the nearly billion-dollar market cap company, to Cerulean, the private biotech now in Phase 2 clinical trials with its exciting nanotechnology.
The “virtual” biotech model has been proven, and can lead to transformative health care companies. How does it happen? Broadly, you need great teams, transformative ideas, and a business model that allows for partnerships as well as independent drug development success.
But more narrowly, and at the outset, you need the step-by-step proving ground that the virtual model provides. Tapping into a core team of very talented, experienced individuals at the early stages of company formation allows entrepreneurs to identify and to understand key technical and business risks.
“Making go/no-go decisions is critical in the capital intensive drug/device development environment,” says Terry McGuire, Co-Founder and General Partner, Polaris Partners. “Before taking on your first lab lease, you really want to understand the research milestones that will allow you to be successful, and to have a few meaningful preclinical trials under your belt.”
Our @dogpatchlabs community provides this virtual environment…but improves on it by bringing together multiple entrepreneurs working through many of the same challenges. To advance the model further, today we are proud to announce a new agreement with Janssen Reseach and Development, LLC, to support early-stage life science companies in Polaris’ @dogpatchlabs.
The agreement seeks to expand the life sciences community @dogpatchlabs, and to provide specific resources and mentorship geared toward the unique needs of young biotechnology companies.
“This agreement supports the virtual biotech model, and allows @dogpatchlabs to become a more robust platform from which life sciences entrepreneurs can build their companies,” said Terry. “As part of the agreement, a dedicated Janssen Entrepreneur-in-Residence will join the @dogpatchlabs community providing mentorship around key areas of drug development.”
With the addition of a dedicated life sciences EIR, continuing access to the Polaris’ life sciences team, and access to other resources through Janssen support, @dogpatchlab’s life sciences residents can gain advice on many important areas, including milestone research planning, legally securing intellectual property rights, regulatory guidance, market understanding, animal models, grants, virtual research capabilities and other research resources.
Like all @dogpatchlabs residents, life sciences residents do not pay rent and there are no obligations, such as company equity rights or a right-of-first refusal. Very specific and common intellectual property agreements are also in place to allow for supportive and open discussions. The agreement with Janssen extends and reinforces these protections.
“Our goal was to create an atmosphere for valuable, company-building discussions, and using industry standard provisions allows us to achieve this environment,” said Terry. “We look forward to introducing the Janssen team to our @dogpatchlabs residents in Cambridge, Palo Alto, New York and Dublin.”