How to Market Your Assets to Industry

Partnering with large and mid-sized biopharma companies is a key part of the journey for biotech companies looking to develop, market, or deploy new assets and medical interventions. Whether it’s to gain access to experts, funding, facilities, or industry knowledge, you first need to get on a partner’s radar.  

The art and science of success with marketing your asset, technology, or platform (referred to as ‘innovation’) to industry is about capturing your audiences’ attention with just the right amount of information to pique their interest so they want to learn more, then delivering the goods.   

What do biopharma partners want to see?   

To understand what an R&D or business development lead at BigPharmaCo wants to see in your non-confidential summary article, put yourself in their shoes. They’re busy. With limited time and pressure, big expectations deliver results fast, and personal ambitions of finding hidden gems they can take back to their teams as future winners, they need not only a perfect match but also communication that cuts through the noise. 

Experience shows that some things are more important than others: 

  • Closeness of fit with company priorities and targets. 
  • How it’s better and/or different than existing solutions. 
  • A unique patent and clear IP strategy. 
  • Honesty about any weaknesses or knowledge/expertise gaps (these will be discovered down the line leading to potential reputational damage). 
  • A financial argument as well as a technical one is a winning ticket. 

An example of what R&D leads look for when evaluating an innovation can be found in the resources section below. 

What to include in summary article.  

For biotech companies listing their innovations to find new biopharma partners, seek a template to structure your summary article follows this structure:  

  • Asset name 
  • Description 
  • Mechanism of action  
  • Asset type (eg. antibody, cell therapy, platform technology, small molecule, etc.) 
  • Underlying technology (eg. bioconjugation, discovery tool, screening library, etc.) 
  • Clinical indications (testing/validation stage) 
  • Patent information & IP status 
  • Types of partnerships sought (eg. commercial partner, development partner, licensing, investment, etc.) 

These article are usually around 300-500 words depending on how much information you can and want to share as a starting point. You can find some examples of well communicated biotech assets in the resources section below.  

Crafting the summary and preparing for contact. 

Obtain all if not most of the following key information to help shape the description and associated documentation: 

  • USPs (at least three, ideally five). 
  • Key technical information (e.g. a therapeutic needs information on disease specificity, targeted mechanisms, target name, drug modality, and so on). 
  • Background/history (where relevant, to illustrate depth of experience and expertise). 
  • Potential applications 
  • Figures, videos, illustrations. 
  • Names, contacts and profiles of key researchers and stakeholders (so you can refer to their authority and bring them in to the conversation as soon as your need to). 
  • References to any associated research papers or patents. 

This list of suggested/required information is longer than you’ll need for the final article. It will form a back-end document for marketing the innovation from which you can draw out the most relevant details for the summary article and get ahead of the coming next steps. 

Usually, when a prospective partner contacts you, they’ll often ask for more information and sometimes further data to evidence your claims.  Going through the exercise of longlisting all the relevant information above, as well as preparing a package of information to share with them, will not only save time but also allow you to respond promptly, keeping and capturing their engagement while it’s hot.  

Best practices for communication. 

Then, in terms of delivering the goods, there are some general best practices and approaches to implement with written communication that should help make your summary article clearly understandable, easily readable, and engaging 

  • Write in clear, simple language, only using technical terms where necessary. 
  • Try and keep each sentence to hold only a single idea/statement. 
  • Imagine the audience, hold them in mind while you write. 
  • Read it out loud as a sense check for clarity and flow – if you can say it without faltering then it should be easy to read. 
  • Where you can, employ storytelling narratives – talk about the scientists, the research team, and the patients, rather than the company/asset in abstract terms.  
  • For this kind of communication, an authoritative but relaxed tone of voice come across well. 
  • Design and layout are a key part of communication for a lot of people – well-presented content can convey authority and professionalism. 
  • Give a taste of what else there is behind the summary – mention further data, active trials or associated development projects,  and the ambitions of team behind it. 
  • You’re not just selling your innovation but the house it’s made in and the people who live/work there. 

What next? 

You’ve got the package. Now you need to get it to your recipient. There are pros and cons to each approach: 

  • Most biopharma companies will be at the big partnering conferences but with highly competitive schedules.  
  • Social media and company websites give profile but aren’t easily findable. 
  • Existing contacts and cold calling/emails can work but are often challenging to scale. 
  • Online platforms provide 24/7 access for R&D teams globally scouting for new solutions from biotech companies but take a commitment to digital networking. 


Author: Alex Stockham


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