Companies trying to get started in the biotechnology and life sciences arena often have limited funding and a long time to get FDA approval. Also, the biotech industry could face a prolonged bear market due to rising inflation and interest rates, thus significantly increasing the cost of doing business from research to manufacturing. It’s harder than ever to raise money, especially for those just starting out.
At a recent National Cancer Institute Technology Showcase, a panel, “Nontraditional and Foundation Support Sources,” discussed options for companies to provide funding beyond traditional investors.
Below are three organizations that offer different forms of funding and assistance that you can consider using.
National Cancer Research Foundation
Panelists included Dr. Sujuan Ba, President and CEO of the National Cancer Research Foundation. She shared the foundation’s commitment to providing the funding scientists and early-stage companies need to continue their research in oncology.
“After nearly 24 years with the Foundation, I can confidently say that NFCR stands out in the cancer research community for providing high-risk, high-impact, high-return programs, long-term funding, and transformative funding. .”Said.
Foundations typically fund scientists who need more money to continue their research before presenting it to larger organizations such as NCI or NIH. As a cancer research foundation, Ba said it’s important to support early-stage innovations that can help patients but may never see the light of day due to the harsh regulatory process.
The foundation has a variety of programs for applicants, one of which is the AIM-HI Accelerator Fund, which provides funding for oncology start-ups. In addition, AIM-HI can help get new companies off the ground logistically.
Related: ICAP Seed Funding Seminar Offers Ins and Outs for Startup Entrepreneurs
“Not only can we help companies raise capital, but we can also help build a much-needed advisor network ecosystem,” said Ba. These advisors can also become investors in the future.
NFCR’s industry experience allows us to fully analyze applicants prior to raising funding to ensure applicants are promising. Their pitching and investment committees provide his second and her third eye for each proposal.
Another unique aspect of NFCR is its commitment to helping companies in the first stages of their journey.
“Many other organizations, even other philanthropic organizations … usually work together after a project or company is already in phase 1 or phase 2 to help conduct clinical trials,” Ba said. I’m here. “And we believe that’s a very good thing, too. But really there’s a desperate need for a preclinical phase, and that’s where we play a key role.”
For more information about the National Cancer Research Foundation, please visit its website.
Bret Schreiber, Vice President of Life Sciences and Technology at Fulton Bank, shared how they opened a life sciences division in a very traditional bank. Schreiber previously ran his Life Sciences office for Bio and Health at the Maryland Department of Commerce. There he learned what the telltale signs of success were for a new life sciences company in Maryland. He brought that expertise to Fulton and launched a new branch.
“Now these companies have people who can speak their language and understand where they need to go to scale and grow…and build those connections for the company. ,” Schreiber explained. i’s and t’s intersect from the bank relation. “
There are currently 150 companies in the branch’s portfolio, with many more on the waiting list. Fulton aims to fund businesses that traditional banks may overlook due to their lack of revenue. To achieve this, they have created a new credit policy with new “credit quality alternatives” for these companies focused on company performance, such as those funded by TEDCO and the Abel Foundation. created.
Related: Fulton Bank, a key growth engine for local life sciences companies
Fulton also works with companies to secure funding from partner organizations, including the Abell Foundation’s Propel Baltimore Fund and venture firm Blue Highway Capital. Fulton Bank has also approved its own venture his debt function as of the end of 2021.
Schriber said he hopes the bank will one day be the go-to for startups and wants to help startups build connections across Maryland and provide them with the tools they need. increase.
“We recognize that many early-stage companies do not have the funds to do the kind of banking they need,” he said. “We will eliminate or reduce fees to ensure you have the banking capabilities you need to do what you need to do. We do not intend to make money from your bank fees. We intend to make money by connecting and expanding our relationship.
For more information on Fulton Bank’s Life Sciences and Technology Division, please visit our website.
CSSI Life Science
Dr. Ernesto Chanona, Director of Business Development and Government Affairs at CSSi LifeSciences, spoke to the panel on forms of regulatory consultancy support and funding. CSSi can handle the entire regulatory pathway for your startup, from writing regulatory papers to obtaining FDA approval.
Understanding the entire regulatory pathway can help new companies understand how far they are from approval and what type of funding they need, which can be very helpful when approaching investors.
Related: National Institutes of Health, a source of technology transfer
“You know what the timeline for the return on investment will be,” says Chanona. “And it’s that granularity and that roadmap that can de-risk an asset. You might be able to go [NFCR]you might be able to go to [Fulton Bank], and say they have a better understanding of what they need to do, why they need money, and when they need it. “
CSSi LifeSciences also has a sister company, Tonic Bioventures, which, when fully completed, will be a $115 million venture creation fund located in Port Covington. The company’s goal is to take new technologies that can be licensed from NCI and build a company around them that will survive under the fund. The originator of the technology remains as scientific advisor, but is not required to handle the business side of the operation.
“It’s not a bad idea, at least for the first technology, because you can see the whole process and the foundation will fund it. Chanona said. “We’re literally shadowing out the whole process from start to finish.”
CSSi also hosts an annual conference called the CSSi LifeSciences Partnering Forum, where companies looking for funding can pitch to a large network of investors. In the 10 years since the program launched, CSSi has helped companies raise his $700 million in funding.
“We are not a broker-dealer. We do not intend to receive any form of fees or commissions from this program,” explained Chanona. “It really just goes to the companies. Once we get the funding, we hope they will partner with us as their regulatory commercialization partner.”
For more information on CSSi LifeSciences, please visit our website.
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Erika Riley is a journalist covering topics such as business, real estate and economics. She is based in Frederick, Maryland.