Magazine Article | October 2, 2023

Given Drug Development Time Horizons, How Does A Company Best Navigate The Inevitable Vagaries Of Investor Therapeutic/Modality Sentiment And Its Collateral Consequences On Funding?

Source: Life Science Leader

AS MY FRIEND SAYS, THE PENDULUM NEVER STOPS IN THE MIDDLE, reflecting investors’ “lemming mentality” and its rippling impact on investment dollar allocation. Like fashion, investor focus/interest can be fleeting, particularly in new modalities as drug development rarely goes in a straight line, often resulting in more time and money than envisioned.

Before embarking on a development crusade, it is important to be aware of potential disconnects that create market disillusionment and lost faith regardless of fundamentals. Beware, this dynamic tests one’s true mettle from the challenges of leading through adversity, particularly when swimming against the tide. Assuming validated scientific underpinnings, this requires dexterity and an unwavering commitment to your mission while remaining resourceful, scrappy, and flexible to unlock the technology’s potential, besides simply surviving.

An inspiring example of a biotech phoenix is RNAi (ribonucleic acid interference). Once a universally embraced new modality when it emerged over 20 years ago, it fell out of favor and suffered a very long winter from setbacks and delays. Fast forward to today, RNAi is now back in vogue and bearing commercial fruit with multiple products, underscoring Alnylam’s $23B market cap, among other companies focused on RNAi’s vast promise which is just scratching the surface of its potential.

ALLAN SHAW is an independent consultant and chief financial officer at Portage Biotech.