Partnership gives profs business mentorship
NovoBioPharma partners with CCT to act as ‘virtual extensions’ of management teams
September 15, 2013, 7:09 pm · Updated September 15, 2013, 9:54 pm·
Penn faculty who want to turn their research into business will now have access to mentorship on business strategy.
Starting in September, the UPstart program under Penn’s Center for Technology Transfer will start a partnership with NovoBioPharma — a company that helps early and mid-state companies in the pharmaceutical, medical device and biotechnology sectors to integrate their business plans.
Launched in May 2010, UPstart aims to help faculty to pursue their entrepreneurial endeavors, and has helped start two companies per month in the past year.
“We work with them not only to get the company started but to help them through the development process,” said Mike Poisel, director of the UPstart program, “including finding entrepreneurs to run the company and strategic partners to help them build the companies after that.”
Adding on to UPstart’s close-to-20 partnerships with local service providers in specific areas like insurance, accounting and legal, Poisel said that NovoBioPharma will be valuable in mentoring early stage companies to build up business strategies for their future success, especially considering that 70 percent of companies in the UPstart programs came from the medicine school.
“Having all come from entrepreneurial environments, we have felt the pain of lifting businesses of our own. We believe that our perspective may be different than other groups and our experiences should be invaluable to sharing what is needed to reach the endgame,” Bernard Rudnick, chief business officer of NovoBioPharma, said in an email. “There is a large gap between advice and execution; we offer both.”
“NovoBioPharma plans to partner with select UPstart companies and will act to fill in the pieces that are so often not available to companies early in their development,” said Ira Wallace, chief development officer of NovoBioPharma and a 1979 College graduate. “Examples of this would be acting as part time CFO, part time scientific advisory board and acting as the board of directors.”
Rudnick added that NovoBioPharma will serve as “virtual extensions of their management teams” for the companies selected.
Specifically, UPstart will hold business strategy sessions with NovoBioPharma for selected companies to present and receive advice. The first session, at which the NovoBioPharma team will give specific feedback to companies, is set for later this month.
“Most of the UPstart candidate companies have exciting science, but commercialization requires different skills and experience which we can bring to bear,” Rudnick said. “We like the quality of the companies Penn has supported.”
“Over the past five years, the culture has grown expanded and become much more vibrant here at Penn,” said Poisel. “We have a lot of great science here at Penn and we want to translate it into the real world.”