Sep 13, 2017

Biotechs back in favour…and behaving as Biopharmaceuticals

The most pertinent public relations challenge for biotechs - from their earliest stages of development right through to phase ii and beyond - is painting a picture that demonstrates the clear potential of a new molecule, the roadmap to creating a successful new pharmaceutical entity, and ultimately the lucrative investment of a marketable corporate asset.


The recent listing of Destiny Pharma (listed 4 September in London) shows there is still an appetite for higher risk flotations in the UK; but these are rare beasts on the London AIM market in comparison with the frequency with which they appear on the NASDAQ, where arguably there is more of an appetite amongst investors to back a sophisticated life science bet.

The success of companies like Nightstar Therapeutics, soon to float on the NASDAQ stock market at an estimated £193 million, is in part a product of its ability to describe the functionality of its science to the broader investment community and its clear potential for commercial success; in short, a more all-round scientific, corporate and commercial investment proposition.

Whilst the inner circles of more sophisticated investors feel more comfortable taking a stake early on in a biotech’s lifecycle, the role of marketing and communications becomes more important as further investors need to be convinced to take the IP through to its latter phases and commercial conclusion.

And in this competitive context, the more sophisticated the level of communications required. The investment community is persuaded by any number of variables; the people, the technology or process, the potential for a new or transferrable chemical entity, the resulting promise of an actual pharmaceutical end-product, the size of the potential market, and the expected timings to reach a commercial end-point. Updating the market with news about these variables is bread and butter for PR and communications.

Sometimes it can be difficult for the scientists to let go, but expert communications advice will help define stakeholders, deep-dive into issues and craft a new reality in terms of marketability. Not that scientists are poor communicators, most are truly excellent, particularly peer-to-peer, but outside of the inner circle of trust, getting heard and then understood can be a tougher proposition altogether.

In today’s challenging market place, adopting the subtle behaviours of a fully fledged biopharmaceutical business, as opposed to a more traditional biotech spun out of a research setting, differentiates a company in the eyes of an investor; turning the commercial entity into a much more sophisticated proposition and an easier and more justifiable investment altogether.

This most often means an adjustment to the way the biotech thinks and acts – having to define a purpose and point of focus, a key differentiator, a corporate mission, a clear culture, and a way of behaviour. Relying less on the principle investigators or the lead molecule, but on the sum of all the variables that investors are interested in.

And when it comes to networking with the world, a planned and sustainable communications programme that explains the science, forecasts the potential, looks to solve key issues or prejudices, updates target audiences on research milestones, and assists in the journey towards a successful investment – is imperative.

With the channels available; social, digital, media, affiliates, partnerships, and direct - the biotech marketer has the medium to connect at all levels and at any time. 

Exciting times for biotechs – or should I say biopharmaceuticals.

Contact Road Communications for more information.