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Insights on Modern Biotech Dealmaking

Written by on Sunday, September 25th, 2005

At the San Francisco Business Times event that was held this past Friday in San Francisco, CA, “The Art of the Deal: Dealmakers who are reshaping Bay Area Biotechnology,” panelists Mark McDade, CEO of Protein Design Labs, George Scangos, CEO of Exelixis, Joe McCracken, Vice President of Development at Genentech, and Nick Simon, Managing Director of Clarus Ventures shared their insights on modern biotech dealmaking.

The speakers indicated that as the industry matures, deals are becoming increasingly complex, so the parties no longer look to get mere cash from the party across the table, but instead are looking to secure valuable partnerships and to tap into new resources and compatible goals. In addition, the speakers indicated that modern dealmaking is heavily influenced by the prevalence of underlying relationships in the industry, since the biotech indusry is a relatively small world where many of the players have a previous history of working with other players at prior companies.

Another trend in modern dealmaking is that biotech companies are increasingly looking to do deals with large biotech companies, instead of limiting deals to just large pharmaceutical companies, since they perceive the big biotech world to have a better understanding of the issues facing smaller biotech companies. Also, there is more of a perception that the biotech company can better preserve its independence and continue to pursue its long-term goals by entering into deals with large biotech companies, as opposed to a deal with a large pharmaceutical company.

The presentation struck a chord with the audience by conveying just how complex modern dealmaking has become, and for the service providers in the audience, it conveyed the importance of understanding everything that the parties will be bringing to the table, including the parties’ underlying relationships and their long-term goals for the company. We as service providers need to listen to our clients and push the deals forward that best advance their plans for the company, and to recognize when underlying issues are affecting the negotiations.

Category: Biotech Deals

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