By Dan Schell, Editorial Director, Life Science Leader
Due to my never-ending fascination with new entrepreneurs — in any field — the stories I’ve written in the past few months have focused on budding biotech and pharma CEOs. For instance, in April I wrote “The Rollercoaster Ride Of A Biotech CEO” about Sam Cobb, managing director and CEO of Australian biotech AdAlta; and in our upcoming August issue I have an article about another small Australian biotech, Prescient Therapeutics, and its investment-banker-turned-biotech-CEO, Steven Yatomi-Clarke.
This month I spoke with two CEOs who had been chosen in the first cohort for the Massachusetts Next Generation Initiative (MassNextGen), a competitive program to support women entrepreneurs in early-stage life sciences companies. The program first grabbed my attention because I’m always interested in any initiatives that assist and support pharma-related startups (a lot of our readers fall into this category). The fact that it was specific to female-led companies made this story even more appealing considering the industry’s gender gap is still a hot topic.
A few things struck me as I was interviewing each of the two women for this article. First, both executives reaffirmed the notion that, as scientist founders, they had a lot to learn about the business side of starting a company. Second, like the old adage says, as a startup, you’re always seeking investors and funding. It was interesting learning how Laura Indolfi, president and CEO of PanTher Therapeutics; and Elizabeth O’Day, CEO of Olaris Therapeutics, tackled each of those challenges by maximizing the coaching and funding they received during the past year from the MassNextGen program.
You’ll have to wait until our October issue to read my article about this program and these two companies. In the meantime, I encourage you to check out the archive of our Companies To Watch articles written by Wayne Koberstein. There you’ll find dozens of stories about small pharma and biotech startups that, at the time, had a low profile but presented a big opportunity.