Pharm2Market – Connecting The Life Science Community

Starting a biotech company is challenging at the best of times. In her book “How To Start A Life Science Company”, Dr Leah Cannon describes some of the business challenges that biotech companies face: the attrition rates for drugs remain high, the regulatory requirements are continuing to grow, and finding the right investors and partners continues to be challenging.

One of the biggest success factors for biotech companies; however, is the ability to leverage your local community to find the resources you need to advance your drug discovery programs. And after months of conversations with local biotech companies, we’ve built a new web app called Pharm2Market to help connect people in life science communities.

In this article we’ll take a look at two-sides of the networking table:

  • the founder/innovator responsible for bringing that new medicine to the table;
  • the business development professional, responsible for providing a product or service in support of a drug discovery program.

Pharm2Market started as part of our own internal business development effort. We found ourselves collecting a wide variety of information on potential customers in the communities we serve — San Diego, San Francisco, and Boston. Everything from basic business information like address and contact information to funding and pipeline information.

Pharm2Market represents a different approach to helping customers connect the dots — by helping them identify the resources, investors, networking opportunities, and news that helps drive their business. Pharm2Market is business intelligence for biotech communities.

What Can Pharm2Market Do For Founders?
Let’s say you’re the founder of a drug discovery company, you can use the Pharm2Market to identify investors by comparing your company to similar companies, and looking at their funding sources.

We also help you find the resources you need to advance your drug discovery programs. Everything from finding legal advice on company formation and IP, to finding lab space, lab instrumentation and reagents.

Pharm2Market connects you with professional societies to help expand your network and keep track of all the local networking opportunities.

Pharm2Market keeps you up-to-date on the latest news in your community, industry and field of study by providing news from sources like the San Diego Union-Tribune, Xconomy – San Diego, FierceBiotech, Genome Web, STAT, Genetic Engineering News, Drug Discovery News, New Scientist, In The Pipeline, wire news services and much more. The Portfolio feature allows you to track the news on a specific set of companies.

What Can Pharm2Market Do For Business Development Professionals?
If you’re a business development professional, Pharm2Market contains information on over 200 local San Diego drug discovery companies. We track the projects, targets, therapeutic areas and therapeutic classes, pathways, and clinical trials that companies are involved in. This makes it easier for you to identify potential business opportunities, and helps insure that when you walk into a meeting with your next customer, you do so with a better understanding of their business.

If your company provides lab space, construction or facilities services, you can use Pharm2Market to identify companies in need of expanded lab space, or lab remodels. If you provide contract research or manufacturing services, Pharm2Market can help you identify customers with Phase 2 and 3 projects who need your services in order to complete their clinical trials.

Pharm2Market helps you keep track of news and tweets of companies in your communities.

Concierge Services
Sometimes it’s not enough to simply provide people with access to a database and hope they’ll be able to connect. You have to take the time to understand their business and help them connect. To help make that happen, we’re launching a concierge service. We will work with you to define the target market you’re trying to address, and then do the detective work for you to help you connect with the right people.

The Road Ahead
Pharm2Market is a very community-focused application. We’re launching with support for the San Diego community first, followed by San Francisco in the January, and Boston in Q1 of next year.

We’re also looking at ways to use Google’s machine learning service (known as “ML Kit”) to help identify new potential partners for our customers. You can think of it as for drug discovery communities.

Our initial packages were designed to help founders and business development professionals connect with one another. As we’ve been building out Pharm2Market though we’ve had a few inquiries from individual scientists wanting to connect local companies. We’ve been thinking about creating a package specifically for them — with news, company profiles and job search features. If you’re interested in helping us think through the feature set, you can reach out to me at one of the SDEE Happy Hours or connect with me.

How can I get started with Pharm2Market?
You can sign up for an account at

Posted in Drug Development, Drug Discovery | Tagged , | Leave a comment

San Diego Biotech Networking Tips

People network for two basic reasons: to expand the pool of potential job opportunities, and to find sales/partnering opportunities. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the common career networking mistakes, tips for getting the most out of networking events, and career networking resources available to biotech professionals in San Diego.

Common career networking mistakes
The most common mistake that people make is to treat networking as a chore that you do when you’ve lost your job, or your company has imploded. In reality though, networking is one of those critical skills that is an integral part of managing your career. Moreover, networking can help you understand the good and the bad about the companies in your community. You’d be surprised at what you’ll learn over a beer.

But beyond simply identifying your next position, networking is a invaluable way of learning from others in your profession, and learning how to take the next steps in your career. It can help you find that mentor that point you in the right direction and keep your career from stalling.

Failing to budget enough time for networking is another common mistake. You’re busy managing the job you have, and not really thinking about the next step in your career. Your weekends are filled with hobbies and family commitments, and networking is often one of those activities that just falls off the list.

Budget one day a month for networking, and treat the process like a game not a chore. Identify the types of people you want to connect with, and use LinkedIn to keep “score” of the numbers of new connections that you’re making at the events.

Don’t use LinkedIn as a surrogate for face-to-face networking. It’s easy to simply reach out and connect, but unless you’re actively engaging with them, you’re not getting any real value out of the relationship. Moreover, if you’re connecting with everyone and their grandmother, the recommendations that LinkedIn gives you for potential new connections will be diluted to the point that they cease to have any value for you.

Tips for Improving Your Network
Here are a few tips to improve your network:

  • Do your homework – before the event, take a look at the attendee profiles for the people who have RSVP’d. Most of the networking groups use either their own networking software or Eventbrite or to manage the event, and each of these platforms let you view the profiles of the event attendees. In some cases, the software will let members attach their LinkedIn profiles to their Eventbrite or Meetup profile and this makes it easier to research potential new connections. Make sure that you include your LinkedIn URL in your profile. Identify what type of person you want to connect with, and review the attendees to identify the ones that fit that profile.
  • RSVP Early – with some events, your chances of connecting with your target audience will improve simply by RSVPing early to the event. The reason for this is that as people checkout who’s coming to the event, they’ll see your profile and decide that they want to attend as well. I’ve noticed the attendee list for some events will snowball in the last two weeks before an event, so make sure that you check the event site multiple times.
  • Bring business cards – I know it’s old fashioned, but it works. People are more likely to connect with you if your card says something about you. A big mistake that I often see with people is using some cheap service to create business cards that look cheap. They often only have the person’s name and their personal email address. Take a look at a printing service like Moo. Add a graphic to your card to make it stand out. Use a professional looking email address for professional interactions – something like “” says the wrong thing about you. Put some keywords on the back of your business card that say what kinds of skills you bring to the table. Make sure that you add your Twitter handle, blog (if you have one) and your LinkedIn profile link. If you use Facebook for professional networking, make sure that you include it as well. But also make sure that you segregate your Facebook connections into professional and personal groups.
  • Bring a notepad – bring something to scribble notes on or use Google Keep
  • Create an elevator pitch – this is a short verbal statement of who you are, what you do and what you bring to the table. It helps to write it down and practice it. Remember to keep it short, and keep it memorable. You might start by crafting a personal mission statement, and then elaborate on it a little bit. You want it to be short enough that you can memorise it, and long enough to be interesting. If you run out of ideas, look at your LinkedIn summary and see what you can borrow from that.
  • Use the LinkedIn app – Occasionally, despite your best-laid plans, you’ll run out of cards at an event. If you’re lucky the other person also has the LinkedIn app installed on their phone. Here’s a neat trick to pass along to everyone you meet at the event, ask them to open LinkedIn, tap the My Network icon at the bottom of the screen, and tap the Find nearby (OFF) icon at the top of the screen. This turns on a hidden little feature in LinkedIn, like a personal radar, that says “I’m here, connect with me”. It also lets you see who else at this location has their radar turned on. The names of the people nearby appear at the bottom of the screen, and you can tap their profile cards to request to connect with them.

Networking Resources
Here are some local groups that can help you get started:

AWIS San Diego – the American Women In Science meetup group is a great way to connect with other scientists and entrepreneurs in the San Diego area — no, you don’t have to be a woman to attend.

Biotech Beach Brewery Meetup – is another local meetup group for biotech, pharma, and healthcare professionals.

Connect – connect is an organisation that brings together entrepreneurs in the various tech & biotech communities in San Diego, with investors and resources that they need to succeed. The connect meetup group can help you identify potential investors.

San Diego Pharmaceutical Project & Portfolio Management Meetup – this group is dedicated to helping pharmaceutical project and portfolio managers network and learn from one another.

SDBN – San Diego Biotechnology Network is one of the most popular networking groups in San Diego. It was started by local biotech marketing maven Mary Canady, and remains a fixture of the San Diego Biotech scene. They host speed networking and other events. The next one is scheduled for August 1

SDEE – San Diego Entrepreneur Exchange is a great resource for connecting with other biotech entrepreneurs in the San Diego area. They host a monthly Happy Hour at New English Brewing. If you have an idea for a biotech startup, want to work for one, or want to partner with one, this is the place to meet. The next one is scheduled for August 16

Suds & Science – Suds & Science is a networking group that combines both a networking event and a learning experience. They meet at breweries in San Diego, and you connect with other professionals and learning something new and science-related.

Posted in biotech, networking, Pharmaceutical, Social Media | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Build, Buy or Both

Over the years, we’ve been involved in a number of LIMS/ELN selection projects. In this new series of blog posts, we’ll take a look at some of the lessons learned from those projects.

There are a variety of circumstances that can drive the decision to build or buy a system. Here are a few questions that you can use to help you better understand where you might fit on the spectrum.


  • Do we have the internal resources, processes, experience and technology to build the application ourselves?
  • Can we outsource this effort? Can we do this with the proper oversight necessary to see this to its conclusion?
  • What is the opportunity cost involved in dedicating internal resources to this effort? If I’ve tied up my informatics department in these software engineering tasks, will it prevent them from addressing these higher value needs that my scientific groups have?
  • What are the ongoing costs going to be to maintain this system?
  • Could we open source the parts of the system that aren’t proprietary? Would that alleviate some of the maintenance burden on the staff? Is there a community of practice that this would benefit and that would be able to share some of the costs? Organizations like the Pistoia Alliance which focus on implementing pre-competitive technologies and standards might be a way forward.


  • Does the solution address most of our business processes? If not, can multiple solutions be integrated into a seamless whole?
    • What is the cost of integration?
    • What will the maintenance cost be for each of these integrations? Each time a vendor updates an application, the integrations between that application and other applications will have to be re-tested (or revalidated in the case of validated systems). This the fewer the vendors you select, the lower the costs.
    • Does the vendor provide validation services?
  • What is the true cost of ownership?
    • Yearly Licensing fees. Is it licensed per module? Is it licensed per module/per seat? Will you end up paying for extra seats for a given module that your organization never uses?
    • Implementation/configuration costs
    • Integration costs
    • Support costs (both internal and external)
    • On-Prem vs Cloud-based Hosting costs. Does the vendor provide a discount for cloud-based hosting?


In addition, to each of the previous options, you may find it necessary to buy multiple solutions, and integrate them together. You may also have internally developed applications that require integration.

  • Do you have experienced programming staff to support this?
  • Do the systems you selected have publicly available APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that you can write to? (see Frequently Asked Questions for more details).
  • How will this affect our upgrade costs if each integration has to be re-tested whenever the vendor rolls out an upgrade?

Read more of the ELN/LIMS Blog Post Series

Need help getting started with your ELN or LIMS project? Contact us

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Pipeline Stories: A Scientist Walks Into A Bar

Pipeline is Aspen Biosciences premiere application for managing drug discovery projects. It started as a simple dashboard for visualising the drug discovery pipeline, and has grown into what some project scientists characterise as “JIRA for Pharmaceutical Projects”. That growth has been driven largely by conversations with scientists who’ve found themselves in the position of having to manage drug discovery projects and needing a tool that was both lightweight and user-friendly.

In the previous series of blog posts, we talked about Design Thinking and how it can be used to create research-oriented software to support drug discovery. In this series of blog posts, we’ll take a look at some of the stories that scientists shared with us, and show you examples of how we translated conversations into new functionality for Pipeline.

A Scientist Walks Into A Bar

Here in San Diego we are blessed with a number of organisations designed to help the entrepreneurial scientist translate their ideas into businesses. One of these organisations is the San Diego Entrepreneur Exchange (SDEE). Every month they host a Happy Hour meeting at a local microbrewery. It’s a great way to unwind, and network, and for us it’s a great way to meet scientists and listen to their stories.

Photo from the recent Portfolio & Project Manager’s Meetup

At one such gathering a few years ago, I ran into a Director of Discovery Biology at a small drug discovery company (let’s call her Jane — not her real name, gender or title). I introduced myself, and mentioned that I write software for drug discovery and since I’ve always been interested in the process and tools that companies use to select their targets I wanted to learn more about how they selected targets at her company.

Jane’s company, is a small drug discovery company with about 50 scientists on staff that had been in business for over 14 years and had successfully partnered with larger companies to get their drugs to market before finally being acquired. Even after the acquisition though, the company still continue to function as though it were a small biotech. So I was interested to hear how they managed the target selection process in this blended environment.

I began by asking her how the target selection process had changed over the years. “What tools are you using now to manage the drug target selection process?”

“A few years ago we bought a license for a product by a local company. [I’ve omitted the name to protect the innocent]. The product has changed hands over the years and it’s become almost a kitchen sink application.”

“One of the things they tout, is that ‘we do all the homework for you, so you don’t have to. We go to all the conferences. We research all of the targets and the pathways, we curate all of this information for you and save you all that time and money. And for all of that we charge $50,000 a year’.”

“And while I appreciate the amount of work that goes into curating all of that information, it’s a little disingenuous to imply that we can simply delegate that work to them and hope that they’ve done it properly. We still need to research those targets ourselves, we do a deep dive into the target and the indication. We look at disease biology, we look at clinically relevant variants, we look at a half-dozen pathway databases. We look at specialist databases like COSMIC and TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas) for specific cancer indications. We look to see what drugs are in development for the target. We do literature searches in PubMed and read lots of articles. We go to conferences, we create internal target profiles, and presentations. But $50K is still pretty steep for something that only one person might use 2-3 times a year, and for work that we’re going to do anyway. $50K would keep us in reagents for a few months. We could buy another microscope — something we’d use every day.”

“So what were you doing before? How were you organising the information,” I asked.

“We used PowerPoint and SharePoint for a while. We’d create a presentation template to help us pull the information together. You still have to go to all of the sites, review the information and curate it. But at least the information was curated in a single consistent format. ”

“What made you switch from SharePoint,” I asked.

“With SharePoint, only one person at a time could work on the target profile. We have a number of people in our group and we needed to divide the work between us. But splitting the work up between the members of the team had its consequences as well. When we were first getting started, we realised that we weren’t doing consistent searches in PubMed. Now we teach target reviewers to do searches consistently. They can still create their own custom searches, but we want to make sure that there’s at least a minimal set of searches being done, and that the search criteria are consistent from project-to-project. ”

“But the real problem with SharePoint was that it didn’t understand biology. We wanted to know the Gene Ontology terms for the target. We want to know about the domains that the target has. We want to know which pathways a target plays a role in. We wanted to be able to look across our portfolio at our projects see if there were similarities between projects that we’d already worked on.”

“And now? With your new application? Do you feel that those issues were addressed” I asked.

“To be honest it feels like we’ve traded one set of problems for another. We see these curated views, that aren’t editable. We can’t emphasize that this subset of the available information is pertinent to our project, and this other set isn’t. We need a better alternative.”

Translating The Conversation Into Code

One of the key requirements that Jane shared with us was the need to provide a single point of entry for a project. There needed to be a way to import target-related data from multiple sources to create a single curated view of the target. To do this, we implemented a search tool that lets the user easily import data from UniProt, PharmGKB, EntrezGene, PubMed, Protein Data Bank, ChEMBL and many other sources with a single query.

Documents and Presentations
In Jane’s company they use Google Docs to collaborate on documents, presentations and spreadsheets. They made the switch to Google Docs after a particularly tense day when a team of researchers were trying to prepare a presentation highlighting results from their latest project. The problem was they were attempting to collaborate on the same presentation by sending copies of it back and forth by email. Versions of the document were getting muddled, slides which had been added, disappeared in the next version, back and forth it went and tensions began to rise.

Cloud-based office applications like Google Docs and Office 365 have become more ubiquitous in pharmaceutical companies over the years but in many cases users aren’t made aware that they can actually simultaneously edit a document. At Aspen, Dimitri and I use this feature to collaborate on proposals and presentations while chatting with colleagues in San Francisco or Boston.

In both Google Docs and Office 365, users store the URL for the document in Pipeline so that they can easily get to the information they need. Document-level security is managed by either Google or Microsoft.

In scenarios where a document is authored by a single user, the document can be uploaded into a private Google Drive that is part of Pipeline’s backend infrastructure. In cases where the customer uses a document management system for sharing, signing and managing document workflows, users can publish the URL for the document in Pipeline along with document metadata such as a title, description and tags used to classify the document.

Pathways, PubMed and More
A significant portion of Jane’s time is spent in portfolio management. In many companies with large drug development organisations, the focus of portfolio management is financial, competitive and logistical. In drug discovery, the focus of portfolio management is primarily scientific and can be boiled down to two questions – what is the role of this target with respect to the indication, and how amenable is it to therapeutic intervention.

To answer these questions requires information from a variety of different sources to be integrated.

  • EntrezGene is an NCBI database of genes and their sequences, sequence annotations and functions.
  • ChEMBL is a database of targets and drugs created by the EMBL. Information from this database tells researchers about the drugs currently available or in development for a given target
  • GeneRIF – these References Into Function provided by NCBI’s EntrezGene database, are a collection of papers that describe the role of a gene with respect to a variety of different indications.
  • UniProt – is a database that contains information about proteins and their functions.
  • OMIM – is the Online Medelian Inheritance In Man database contains information about genes and their roles in various indications.
  • Protein Data Bank (PDB) – is a database of protein structural information that provides researchers with 3D models for drug targets.
  • Gene Ontology information which describes the biological function, molecular function, and cellular localisation of genes and their protein products.
  • PharmGKB is the Pharmacogenomics Knowledge Base which contains information about the target and how existing variations affect the efficacy of known drugs
  • PubMed – is a massive database of millions of academic papers
  • Pathway information from sources like KEGG, Pathway Commons, WikiPathways and the NCI’s Pathway Interaction Database are used to help researchers understand the role of the target with regard to biological networks.

By providing all of this information in a single place that was easily curateable by project scientists, Jane’s team was able to create the kind of collaborative working environment that she had been looking for. And the Pipeline Stats View let her look at projects across her entire portfolio for areas of commonality that they might be able to exploit.


Read more of the Pipeline Stories series.

Need Help Getting Started
To find out more about what Pipeline, and what we can do for your research organisation, contact us.

Posted in Drug Discovery, Informatics, Project Management | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Pharm2Market April Newsletter

Things have been pretty busy this month at Pharm2Market as we continue to grow our business intelligence service in the communities we serve.

Software Updates

We’re always looking for new features to add to Pharm2Market and this month we added:

  • Target-Based Searching –  making it easier to find local companies with experience and expertise in addressing specific drug targets. 
  • Activities Filtering – making it easier to see filter the growing list of database updates.
  • Improved Stat Chart Readability – making it easier to filter companies based on a variety of different statistics.
  • Getting Started Tutorial – making it easier for new users to explore some of the features and benefits of the Pharm2Market application. We also started working on video tutorials to make it even easier to get started.

In addition, we’re working on an All Access Pass feature that will allow users to access data from all of our communities.

San Diego Community

San Diego Community Growth

We continue to grow our San Diego Community database with updated pipelines for a number of local companies. We’re also continuing to meet with local biotech leaders through organizations like the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), Biocom, San Diego Entrepreneurs Exchange (SDEE), San Diego Biotechnology Network (SDBN), JLABS, the San Diego Venture Group (SDVG) and the San Diego Economic Development Corporation to identify challenges and areas where we can help grow the community. We also published some of our findings on the San Diego Community in our San Diego By The Numbers presentation.  Don’t forget to check out the Events section of Pharm2Market for events in your community.

San Francisco Community

San Francisco Community Launch

At the beginning of the month we launched our latest community, San Francisco, with over 220 companies in the database. We summarized some of our findings about the San Francisco community in our San Francisco By The Numbers presentation.

Boston Community

Boston Community Progress Report
We’re continuing our curation work on the Boston Pharm2Market Community, towards our planned June launch date.  The database currently stands at 120 companies and growing daily.

LaunchBio: Larger Than Life Science

LaunchBio – Larger Than Life Science

This month we partnered with LaunchBio at their Larger Than Life Science event. We demo’d Pharm2Market for drug discovery companies, CROs, consultants and investors; discussed the challenges that drug discovery startups face, and some strategies for addressing those challenges. We were really pleased with the response and feedback, and look forward to meeting and engaging with more members of the community.

Posted in biotech, Drug Development, Drug Discovery, Pharmaceutical, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Larger Than Life Science

Join us for beer, demos and panel discussions this Apr 25th from 4-7pm at LaunchBio’s “Larger Than Life Science” event at BioLabs new Towne Center facility.

We’ll be demonstrating Pharm2Market, a new business intelligence platform for drug discovery communities. We’ll be showing you how you can use Pharm2Market’s database to find new investors and customers. Stop by and get a discount coupon on your first month.

You’ll also get to hear panel discussions on “Virtual Growth in San Diego” and “Crowdsourcing Science”. You’ll also get a chance to “Ask A Lawyer” for advice on setting up your company or protecting your IP.

Register at the link below:

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San Diego By The Numbers

In December, we launched Pharm2Market, a new business intelligence platform for biotech communities. The San Diego database has profiles for over 250 local drug discovery companies, over a dozen local investors, and 110 resource companies that provide everything from reagents to real estate services.

In this presentation, we take a look behind those numbers to get a better understanding of the community, to identify new business development, investment, and partnering opportunities.

To take a look at the companies behind these numbers, login to Pharm2Market

Posted in biotech, Drug Development, Drug Discovery, Pharmaceutical | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

San Francisco By The Numbers

In December we launched Pharm2Market’s San Diego database with information on over 250 companies and their pipelines. This month we’re launching our San Francisco community database with data on over 220 companies. In this presentation we breakdown the numbers behind the community and give you a better idea of the business development opportunities in the drug discovery companies. We also give you a peek at the most active investors in the community.

To learn more about Pharm2Market, login today.

Posted in biotech, Drug Discovery, Pharmaceutical | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pharm2Market – Watching The Detectives

Any time you start out to build a business intelligence platform like Pharm2Market, one of the first things you do is collect stories from people in the trenches – the biotech entrepreneurs and business development folks whose bread and butter is finding new customers, investors and business partners. The stories that I’m most interested in are detective stories – the ones where people walk you through the detective-work that goes into finding a new customer. What Elvis Costello referred to as “Watching the Detectives”.

San Diego’s Drug Discovery Market

In San Diego, we’re blessed with a diverse and vibrant drug discovery community that encompasses everything from traditional small molecule discovery to companies working on game-changing new therapeutic classes like induced natural killer cells, or gene- and cell-based therapies.

Last year, Bradley Fikes, biotech columnist for the San Diego Union Tribune, highlighted some of the most visible drug discovery companies in San Diego and provided a good overview of how the ecosystem functions. And while all of the major pharmaceutical companies have a presence here, the primary focus of the community is on drug discovery.

Of the approximately 230 drug discovery companies currently in Pharm2Market’s San Diego database, nearly 90% are small startups with less than 50 employees. These small agile companies are particularly adept at translating new ideas into Phase I candidates and working with large pharmaceutical partners to marshall those candidates through their drug trials, and into the market.

Of those companies, nearly 50% are involved in small molecule discovery, but there is a growing interest in the more exotic therapeutic classes and the ground-breaking work behind them. San Diego is home to small companies working on induced NK cells like Fate Therapeutics; and large companies like Ionis Pharmaceuticals working on antisense technology.

Oncology remains the most common therapeutic area amongst the companies in the community. While neuroscience & pain accounts for 13% of the companies, anti-infectives 8% and inflammation a further 8%.

The Detective-Work

The challenge for the “detectives” (business development professionals) in this fast-paced, and diverse environment is to identify new potential customers early on in the business cycle, develop relationships with key people in the organisation and to be prepared for that next funding round, SBIR grant, or clinical trial.

How do you find new customers?

When I ask that question of business development pros, invariably no two answers are the same. A company that specialises in providing startups with access to refurbished instruments looks for entirely different signals than a real estate broker, an IP lawyer, or a construction company.

Example Cases

Let’s take a look at a few example “cases” that demonstrate some of the detective work that goes into lead generation.

Case I: Construction Company

Construction companies are typically employed whenever a company is going through an expansion, needs to convert office space into lab space, or needs to convert lab space to make it better-suited for a particular therapeutic area, or therapeutic class. In the latter case, it may be that the original lab space was ideally suited for small molecule discovery, but the new tenant is working on cell-based therapies.

The “clues” that a construction company’s marketing office looks for are:

  • Changes in financing such as additional SBIR grants, or new funding rounds
  • News articles & Tweets about recent company changes
  • Changes in project status as a project moves down the pipeline
  • New projects
  • New job postings that indicate possible expansion. For example, you might see a job posting for a Director of Manufacturing. A quick look at their pipeline might reveal that they have a number of Phase I projects and one or two Phase II projects, indicating that the company is anticipating needing to scale up it’s manufacturing capabilities.

Case II: Marketing Services Company

Marketing is an integral part of any startup company. Whether it’s creating a website for a company, managing its social media, creating a logo or translating scientific information about your drug into ideas that investors and partners find compelling.

Finding companies that need those services can often be an exhaustive process of looking for local startup companies in purchased lists, and trawling through incubator company lists.

Marketing Services companies look for a number of different opportunities to help biotech startups:

  • Launch
    • Website creation
    • Logo
    • Content creation
    • Search Engine Optimisation – if you’re not the first result when someone Google’s your company, that means investors, customers, and partners will likely have problems finding you.
    • Social Media support (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook) – these channels help get your message across to investors, customers and partners; and keep them informed of your progress.
  • Conference/Tradeshow Support
  • Roadshow Preparation
  • Marketing Plan Development
  • Market Research

In order to identify potential customers for these services, marketing companies look for:

  • companies with recent funding changes (SBIR awards, new funding rounds, and new partnership announcements)
  • Conferences and Tradeshows where a large pharmaceutical company might not have local “boots on the ground” to support their tradeshow efforts.
  • Companies preparing to fund raise
  • Companies similar to existing customers – for example, if you have a number of gene therapy customers, then you might look for local gene therapy companies to approach. This makes it easier to demonstrate how you’ve helped similar companies communicate their key differentiators.

Case III: Refurbished Lab Equipment Company

The biotech startup ecosystem is rather cyclical in nature, and companies that specialise in providing refurbished lab equipment are especially active at both the beginning and the end of that lifecycle. These companies sell refurbished equipment to startup companies in the early days of the company, and buy used equipment as those startup companies are acquired, expand or close.

They look for the following “clues” that a company may need their services:

  • Changes in financing
  • Changes in location
  • Changes in lab conditions
  • New partnership, acquisition announcements

How Pharm2Market Makes The Detective-work Easier


In most of the cases, keeping track of news is an integral part of the lead-generation process. Whether it’s news about funding changes, acquisitions, mergers or location changes, Pharm2Market makes it easy to track company news. We curate news from multiple sources and package it for you at three different levels of granularity: industry-wide news, community news, targeted company news. In the latter case, you can add any company to your portfolio and track the latest news on the companies that matter most to you.


Networking events and conferences are one of the key avenues for business development professionals to meet potential clients. Pharm2Market keeps track of events for you, and makes it easy to RSVP to them.

Data Mining Made Easy

Pharm2Market keeps track of pipeline information on hundreds of companies, making it possible to ask questions like:

  • Which companies in my community are involved in oncology drug research?
  • Which companies are engaged in small molecule drug discovery?
  • Which companies have Phase I projects?
  • Which companies have projects which target VEGF?

Connecting the Dots

Once you’ve identified the companies that you’re interested in, you can search LinkedIn for likely contacts at a specific company using our integrated search. Or look at the CrunchBase or Google Finance records for those companies to see how they are progressing. You look at the latest clinical trial data from

Getting Started

If you’d like to find out how Pharm2Market can help you with your lead generation activities, contact us



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Follow The Sun

Every company you work for teaches you lessons. Early on in my career, I worked for a global oil & gas company. Agility isn’t typically a word one normally associates with global companies, but this was different. This was agility on a global scale.

There are often cases where you need to analyze a large amount of data in a short amount of time in order to make a critical business decision. One advantage that global companies have is the ability to create “Follow The Sun” projects that leverage the global nature of companies, and the 24 hours in a day.

A typical project might start in The Hague, and 8 hours later transition to a team in Houston; and 8 hours after that to a team in Kuala Lumpur. In those days, only large international companies had the pipes and data centers needed to support that kind of work. But the advent of cloud computing created a level playing field that now allows any company to work with partners anywhere in the world.

At Aspen Biosciences, we’ve applied the lessons around “Follow The Sun” projects and used them to help deliver projects to customers. By partnering with companies in Nepal and India we’re able to scale up to tackle large, time-sensitive projects.

But we’re not alone in this regard. In the drug discovery industry, startups are able to leverage partners in China and Europe to advance their projects quickly using services like and ScienceExchange to identify the resources they need.

In addition to using the “Follow The Sun” approach, we also cloud-based tools like Pipeline to make it easier for global companies to work with partners regardless of their location. Contact us to learn more.

Posted in Drug Discovery, Project Management, Science Blogging | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment