Week 3 – Serenity Now
Hope all is going well. As many of you know from reading the blog over the past couple of years, I am a big fan of the show Seinfeld. While it is a show about nothing, it had so many great commentaries about life. Every so often, one of their catch phrases that became popular comes back to mind. This week’s blog title is one of those sayings. I caught myself many times over the past few weeks saying this to myself. I’m sure there were times over the past few weeks for many of you where you felt the same way. Life tends to do that to you. There are times where everything seems to pile up, whether on the work front, personal front or both. For me, was the latter option. It is during these times that I sit back for a moment and say to myself “Serenity now. Serenity now (usually best if said twice).” Sometimes this simple phrase works to relieve the tension by making me chuckle thinking about the Seinfeld episode, and sometimes it takes a little more to relax. On the personal side, my mom Isabel passed away at the age of 78 after suddenly becoming ill. My mom had been battling Alzheimer’s for many years, but her health quickly took a turn for the worst. As we like to believe, she went out on her own terms and did not let that horrible disease win. So much needs to be done to defeat this horrible disease and I hope my fellow researchers continue to push forward to find a cure even in the face of any setbacks. Serenity now. Serenity now.
While we are excited about the opportunities around us, getting from the opportunity to a partnership takes patience, persistence and openness (from both sides). This week, I was reading my daily business update email from Big4Bio:Boston (little shout out to a great daily biotech update) and saw a comment from a CEO of a leading global pharmaceutical company (who will remain anonymous). He stated that “things still will be very competitive and we should be ready to pay a competitive price for the things we really want. Overpay for the right asset, he said, and it will make the money back many times over. Underpay for the wrong one, and every dollar spent is lost.” It was this last statement that jumped out at me. This has become a big problem in the life science world. Leadership and business development teams are looking for the big win (like a gambler at a casino). The CEO missed the option that is happening more and more in that companies are overpaying, not underpaying, for the wrong deals that yield nothing, but since the company is asking a lot, it must be a blockbuster, right? This CEO’s statement helps to reinforce my belief that I made in the last blog that overstating what you can do is a common practice, burning many of these companies. Serenity now. Serenity now.
It started me thinking that the strategic partnership terms we are seeking are probably viewed under this lens. My fear is that we are not seeking nearly enough because after all, if we had important technology, we would be seeking the moon. Being responsible business owners, Tina and I pride ourselves on being efficient and fiscally responsible. This is likely making us seem not as important to go after. We have met with some companies where our technology would be a differentiator for them, but their “due diligence,” in my opinion, has not been really that diligent. This is not true for all of the companies we’ve spoken with and some have been really great about talking through their review process, even if they decide not to proceed. After all, we will not be a fit for everyone and we understand that. To never even get to a financial discussion on a strategic partnership when the technology aligns is really mind blowing to me. I would say to any potential strategic partner that turns down or has turned down the opportunity that they are missing out on great technology and a passionate team that works hard to bring its vision to life. We only need one great partner and we will find that partner. So many people believe in what we are doing that we cannot yield to any headwinds. We will push through to get to where we are going, bringing significant value to our future partner. Serenity now. Serenity now.
One area where I have not been feeling the need to seek serenity has been related to our technology. Our team continues to attract partners interested in applying our technology for their needs. We are also expanding our own internal technology capabilities as well. Whether it be our business team negotiating and executing various development deals or our research and manufacturing teams working together to successfully deliver different applications for our technology, I always feel a sense of peace even when things are not going perfectly (I guess I would chant the phrase when things are really going wrong but not too often). It’s like a finely tuned engine when it’s running along. It’s an area that I understand well and do not feel as stressed about. So thankful for such a great team! It’s this group that drives me to keep our technology moving forward. That and seeing different outside groups reacting to what we’ve been able to do.
We’ll see you back here on February 18th.