October 25, 2016
This month’s meeting featured 3 panellists who shared their expertise on a very engaging subject: How is Biotech Different from Pharma and Why is it an Important Part of the Life Sciences Sector in Quebec? The first speaker was Frank Béraud, CEO of Montréal InVivo, an economic development organization dedicated to the creation of a business environment that fosters innovation and growth of companies in the life sciences and health technologies (LSHT) sector. Frank started his presentation by saying he was here to do a ‘cheerleader’s speech’and added that most of the people attending this evening were from pharma although probably not realizing being part of something much bigger.
The Life Sciences and Health Technologies sector is currently experiencing a strong growth and demand mainly due to 4 key drivers:
Pharmaceuticals, medical devices, Biotech, Health IT and natural products are the main components of our industry, most of it starts from research which is a pivotal element of our value chain. Without good and strong research, innovative products are not able to be launched into the market and consequently will not meet our ultimate goal which is to reach the patients’ needs.
Life Sciences and Health Technologies is responsible for 56,000 jobs in Québec which includes 30,000 directly linked to the industry and 25,000 who are considered as supportive functions. Having that many employment opportunities is comparable to the Air space sector. Frank went on to add that 80% of these jobs are located in the greater Montreal area which translates into a strong economic contributor for the region. One thing that Frank pointed out was the fact that Montreal ranked 1st for lowest operations cost in terms of research and development. The average salary is 70k, which is 60% above all other industries. The pharmaceutical research model environment has changed over the years and has brought new partnerships/entities between biotech and pharmaceutical companies. ILKOS Therapeutics and DALCOR are 2 examples that were given by Frank.
The second speaker was Yves Rosconi, Former President and CEO of Theratechnologies with more than 25 years’ experience as an executive in pharma and nowadays completely fascinated with the biotechnology sector. The biotech industry should be seen by many of you as an opportunity for a great career and the chance to build equity.
Yves shared with the audience some of the major pillars from the biotech‘s world in comparison to the well-known cores from the pharma industry.
Biotech’s Business model:
Yves ended his presentation by sharing a very interesting anecdote regarding the importance of Biotech in the 21st century:
The biotech industry is the fuel for pharmaceutical companies to exist.
Our third speaker of the evening was Radu Pislariu, President and CEO of Laurent Pharmaceuticals, who is an entrepreneur at heart although has spent a good part of his career in venture. Just recently, Radu left the venture capital world to lead his own company. Radu’s presentation focused on what needs to be done and focused on to be financially successful in the biotech industry. The various types of investors were highlighted along the development path of a compound.
Radu shared with the audience the investor’s perspectives when looking at investing into a biotech:
At the end of the evening, there was a short question and answer period, during which the speakers provided the following comments:
For every dollar invested from Venture Capital, what is expected in terms of an exit lever?
What suggestions and recommendations would you give people who want to find their way into the Life Sciences industry?
The final words from the panellists: If we want to create more wealth in the Life Sciences industry, there has to be partnership/associations between the marketers/commercialese’s experts and the researchers, without it, the Life Sciences industry will not be able to bring into market innovative and revolutionary drugs to help patients.