Originally published in Bio Business March/April
What steps can you take to attract the best investors?
How can you demonstrate that your company is worth investing
Biotech companies must compete for funding against other biotech
firms and start-ups in other sectors. When a company does get the
attention of an investor, it needs to treat the investor's time
the way it will treat the investment funds it'll receive: like
a precious resource.
Rule #1 Have an intellectual property strategy
A solid presentation of the intellectual property strategy
should consist of a concise and targeted explanation of (i) the
company's plans to protect its products (scope of claims to be
sought, countries to be targeted, research to support the claims,
how patent application filings will be staggered); (ii) plans to
monitor the patents and patent applications of competitors to
ensure "freedom- to-operate" (also known as FTO or
competitive watches); (iii) the company's intellectual property
history and policies (to give investors comfort that the company
seeking the financing has full rights to its intellectual
property); (iv) the company's agreements with third parties to
acquire, license or leverage intellectual property rights; and (v)
the intellectual property budget. To make the presentation relevant
to an investor, the presentation must also demonstrate how the
intellectual property strategy dovetails with regulatory and
Rule #2 Prepare for difficult questions
Sophisticated investors will pinpoint the vulnerabilities of
your intellectual property strategy. Be prepared for their
difficult questions. For example, what do you believe is the
weakness of your intellectual property strategy and how do you plan
to overcome it? How do you propose to deal with the blocking patent
of a competitor? How do you propose to deal with the United States
Patent and Trademark Office, which has issued five office actions
rejecting the product claim for the key product? Acknowledge the
issues and don't dismiss them as unimportant; rather show that
you have a plan of action for tackling difficult issues.
Rule #3 Choose the presenter carefully
The presenter must understand the scientific, legal and business
bases of the claims and be able to explain them to investors who
may know nothing about the science or the patents supporting your
product. The investors do not want to hear someone read claim 25 of
a U.S. patent application and have to interpret its meaning. The
inventor—who has lived with the science for many
years—is often not the best choice.
Rule #4 Make it easy
Investors have many companies chasing their funds. How do you
distinguish your company from the others? Make it easy for
investors to invest. Have a binder available that explains the
company's intellectual property strategy, answers the
frequently asked questions, lists the company's issued and
pending patents, provides an overview of the patents and patent
applications of competitors (proving freedom to operate) and
generally gives the investors confidence that they are dealing with
a company that follows best practices in intellectual property.
Rule #5 Rehearse
Before you participate in a conference call or present the
intellectual property strategy to investors, practise. Do several
dry runs. Find out how much time you will have. For the dry runs,
select a few business colleagues who are tough critics and ask them
to grill you. If you complete the session relatively unscathed,
practise again. If the session does not go smoothly, rework your
material: don't stay married to an approach that doesn't
work. Rehearse in front of people with different interests and
scientific backgrounds so you get used to tailoring your
presentation to a particular audience.
Rule #6 Follow up
If you sense the investors have questions, deal with them on the
spot. If you need to follow up, don't be shy to say that you
will get back to them—and then do so promptly. You may
not be able to answer to their concerns, but your follow up and
leadership may demonstrate that you will lead them to the answers
if the financing comes through.
The Federal Court dismissed a motion by Apotex seeking particulars from Allergan's pleading relating to the prior art, inventive concept, promised utility and sound prediction of utility of the patents at issue.
Last year we saw the Canadian Courts release trademark decisions that granted a rare interlocutory injunction, issued jailed sentences for failure to comply with injunctive relief, grappled with trademark and internet issues...
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