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Preserving the Promise - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128092163, 9780128092095

Preserving the Promise

1st Edition

Improving the Culture of Biotech Investment

Authors: Scott Dessain Scott Fishman
Paperback ISBN: 9780128092163
eBook ISBN: 9780128092095
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 5th October 2016
Page Count: 276
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Preserving the Promise: Improving the Culture of Biotech Investment critically examines why most biotech startups fail, as they emerge from universities into an ecosystem that inhibits rather than encourages innovation. This "Valley of Death" squanders our public investments in medical research and with them, the promise of longer and healthier lives.

The authors explicate the Translation Gap faced by early stage biotech companies, the result of problematic technology transfer and investment practices, and provide specific prescriptions for improving translation of important discoveries into safe and effective therapies.

In Preserving the Promise, Dessain and Fishman build on their collective experience as company founders, healthcare investor (Fishman) and physician/scientist (Dessain). The book offers a forward-looking, critical analysis of "conventional wisdom" that encumbers commercialization practices. It exposes the self-defeating habits of drug development in the Valley of Death, that waste money and extinguish innovative technologies through distorted financial incentives.

Key Features

  • Explains why translation of biotech discovery into medicine succeeds so infrequently that it’s been dubbed the Valley of Death
  • Uncovers specific decision-making strategies that more effectively align incentives, improving clinical and financial outcomes for investors, inventor/entrepreneurs, and patients
  • Examines the critical, early stages of commercialization, where technology transfer offices and Angels act as gatekeepers to development, and where tension between short-term financial and long-term clinical aspirations sinks important technologies
  • Deconstructs the forces driving biotech, recasts them in a proven conceptual framework, and offers practical guidance for making the system better


Written for entrepreneurs, Angels and seed-stage investors, technology transfer officers, academic researchers, pharma/biotech and medical device professionals, business developers, economic development and public policy specialists, and all others with a professional or personal stake in human health, Preserving the Promise offers a unique, original perspective on how to succeed in getting new drugs and therapies to the clinic

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Innovation Meets the Translation Gap
    • Chapter 1. Stop the Madness and Cure Something
      • Abstract
    • Chapter 2. Into the Valley of Death
      • Abstract
      • References
    • Chapter 3. Clinical Promise ≠ Investment Practice
      • Abstract
      • References
    • Chapter 4. Velcade, a Biotech Success Story
      • Abstract
      • References
    • Chapter 5. Biotechnology and the Future of Pharma
      • Abstract
      • References
    • Chapter 6. Why Pharma Should Care About the Valley of Death
      • Abstract
      • References
    • Chapter 7. Porter’s Five Forces and the Market for Angel Capital
      • Abstract
      • A Paradigm for Analysis
      • The Prospect of Total Loss
      • References
    • Chapter 8. Out of the Frying Pan: The Fire’s Not So Great Either
      • Abstract
      • Juggling Interest, Support, Commitment, and IP
      • A Fulcrum of Tension
      • The Special Case of Conflict of Interest
      • References
    • Chapter 9. Getting to Australia
      • Abstract
      • Reaching the Limits
      • References
  • Translation Gap 1: Universities Don’t Make What Companies Need
    • Chapter 10. When Is an Experiment Ready for the Valley of Death?
      • Abstract
      • Why Not Simply License the Technology to a Big Healthcare Company?
      • Collaboration and Conflict
      • References
    • Chapter 11. Unintended Consequences of Applying for a Patent
      • Abstract
      • The Dollars Begin to Flow
      • The Real Costs of a Patent Application
      • References
    • Chapter 12. What if It Doesn’t Actually Work?
      • Abstract
      • References
    • Chapter 13. Building a Better Mousetrap
      • Abstract
      • References
  • Translation Gap 2: Good Innovation Is Not Always a Good Investment
    • Chapter 14. Due Diligence and Angel Incentives
      • Abstract
      • How Angels Decide
      • Due Diligence—An Overview
      • Due Diligence—Getting Specific
      • Exogenous Factors
      • References
    • Chapter 15. What Is Value?
      • Abstract
      • Attractiveness and Plausibility of the Technology
      • Likelihood that Clinical Proof of Concept is Achievable
      • Challenges of the Regulatory Environment
      • Attractiveness of the Business Model
      • Financial Viability
      • Exit Strategy
      • Human Resources and Contingency Planning
      • Reflections on Due Diligence
      • So Where is Big Pharma/Big Biotech on All This? A Breakdown in Value
      • References
    • Chapter 16. Angels at the Crux of Invention
      • Abstract
      • Bad Stuff Gets Funded and Good Stuff Dies
      • The Uncertainty of Scientific Due Diligence
      • Investing to the Next Money
      • References
    • Chapter 17. Investment: A Nuanced Decision
      • Abstract
      • References
    • Chapter 18. Ready for a Long-Term Relationship With a Science Experiment?
      • Abstract
      • Due Diligence Versus De-Risking
      • Financing the Biotechnology Start-up
      • Buying and Selling in the VOD
      • The Perils of Convertible Debt
      • References
    • Chapter 19. Investing in Hockey Sticks
      • Abstract
      • The Hockey Stick—A Matter of Inflection
      • Milestone Driven Investments
      • The Perfect Deal
      • ROI Versus Innovation
      • References
    • Chapter 20. Harps for Angels
      • Abstract
      • Consideration of the Macro Environment
      • Regional, Economic, and Cultural Influences
      • References
    • Chapter 21. Connecting Innovation to Investment
      • Abstract
      • Reducing the Risk of Scientific Failure
      • Rewarding the Long Game
      • References
  • Translation Gap 3: Technology Transfer Wastes Money and Innovation
    • Chapter 22. Mitigating Supplier Power
      • Abstract
      • How It’s Not Supposed to Work
      • The Real Costs of Supplier Power
      • Reducing the Costs of Technology Transfer
      • Assignment of an Invention: What If We Give It Away?
      • An Ounce of Prevention
      • References
    • Chapter 23. Preventing Speeding by Closing the Road
      • Abstract
      • Aligning Incentives
      • References
    • Chapter 24. Breaking Old Habits
      • Abstract
      • Company Building as a Focus of Technology Transfer
      • Building an Innovation Community
      • What is the Least We Can Do?
      • The Minimal Commercialization Unit
      • References
  • Epilogue
    • Chapter 25. Epilogue: Why We Do This
      • Abstract
      • References
  • Index


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2016
5th October 2016
Academic Press
Paperback ISBN:
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About the Authors

Scott Dessain

Scott Dessain

Dr. Dessain is the scientific co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Immunome, Inc., a cancer immunotherapy company. He is currently an associate professor at Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR) in Pennsylvania and an attending physician at the Lankenau Medical Center, where he specializes in medical oncology, runs an immunology research laboratory, and teaches in the Hematology/Oncology fellowship program. He earned an undergraduate degree in biochemistry at Brown University and then M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University. He was an intern and resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a Medical Oncology fellow at Dana Farber/Partners Cancer Care in Boston. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, working in the laboratory Dr. Robert A. Weinberg, an internationally renowned cancer researcher. He has lectured on biotechnology innovation at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the Harvard i-lab, and the Yale School of Management.

Affiliations and Expertise

MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, Wynnewood, PA

Scott Fishman

Scott Fishman

Scott Fishman has more than three decades’ experience as a strategic advisor to the medical technology and pharmaceutical industries. He founded and was CEO of Research by Design (RBD), a healthcare consultancy he grew to one of the foremost names in the medical information industry. He has counseled virtually every major pharmaceutical company, as well as a wide spectrum of biotechnology and medical device companies. He is currently President and CEO of Ethos LifeScience Advisors and Envisage, consultancies that provide market analysis and commercial guidance for healthcare entrepreneurs starting new ventures and for new product developers working within pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies.

Fishman is an enthusiastic angel investor who focuses on medical technologies. He previously chaired the Life Sciences screening committee for Robin Hood Ventures and sits on the Life Science Investment Review committee for Ben Franklin Technology Partners. He co-created and serves as program executive for the Commercialization Acceleration Program (CAP) at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, a consultancy focused on the development and funding of technology-based start-up companies. Fishman holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and The University of Texas, teaches in the MBA program at Philadelphia University, and is an in-demand speaker at biotechnology development events around the United States, including recent engagements at Yale’s Healthcare Colloquium, Harvard’s i-lab, and the National Science Foundation.

Affiliations and Expertise

MA, President, Ethos LifeScience Advisors, Doylestown, PA

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