Why would anybody want to build a biotech company to last? Isn’t that old-school? Doesn’t it make more sense to run lean and mean, hit a technical milestone, then sell the company to the highest bidder?
Given the difficult state of biotech venture financing, it’s hard to blame entrepreneurs for trying to find new models for creating companies. From the start of our big Xconomy event on Monday, I admitted that “Building Biotechs to Last” might sound a little quixotic. Still, building companies with a mass of smart people and a strong culture—the kind of operation that can create multiple new drugs or diagnostics—retains a lot of appeal. We heard stories from leaders of Genentech, Genomic Health, Isis Pharmaceuticals, Sarepta Therapeutics, and Veracyte, who are all seeking to create companies that are resilient enough to get through the inevitable ups and downs.
More than 165 people turned out for this afternoon event on Monday at the UCSF Mission Bay campus. Special thanks go out to all the speakers, attendees, and the event host, QB3. I’d also like to thank the sponsors: Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Kilpatrick Townsend, and Silicon Valley Bank, as well as event supporters Health Advances and Sarepta Therapeutics.
I got a few comments from speakers down in my notebook, but not all, because I was mainly trying to keep the trains running on time. Ron Leuty of the San Francisco Business Times had a good report on Hal Barron and his new mission to fight aging at Calico, the Google-backed startup led by former Genentech CEO Art Levinson.
To get a flavor of the proceedings, check out the photos taken by Scott Bramwell of SRI International. Thanks again for coming, and join us for the next Xconomy event.