BIO Investor Forum 2023 kicks off – here’s why biotech investment matters

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The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) Investor Forum 2023 is taking place October 17-18, 2023, in San Francisco, California, bringing together biotech startups and drug development programs ready for investment with the investors and venture capitalists who can help bring that innovation to patients.

BIF “brings early-stage companies together with investors and potential partners who may be able to help them navigate the Valley of Death,” says BIO CEO Rachel King in a new episode of the I am BIO Podcast, timed to kick off the event.

Here’s more about the so-called “valley of death” and why biotech investment matters more than ever – plus, what we’re watching at BIF.

What is the ‘valley of death’?

Only about 10% of drugs – roughly 9 in 10 – researched ultimately end up getting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval and entering the market, says King.

The majority fall into what the industry calls the “Valley of Death.”

The Valley of Death is the “transition from a breakthrough discovery, usually after many years of NIH-funded basic research, to an actual development candidate in clinical trials,” says Daphne Zohar, Founder & CEO of PureTech Health, which is developing drugs for several disorders including schizophrenia and depression. Zohar is a member of BIO’s Emerging Companies Section Board.

As a result, drug developers are often forced to abandon promising drug candidates to focus resources on drugs with the best chance of market success, says Nancy Simonian, CEO of Syros Pharmaceuticals, which focuses on developing new technologies to treat blood disorders.

The Inflation Reduction Act will only make the valley deeper as it disadvantages drugs for rare diseases and small molecule drugs.

How biotechs can win

According to Zohar, PureTech Health’s model involves founding and funding entities holding the intellectual property of new medicines, rather than asking investors to fund the whole company.

But policy plays a big role. Biotech companies and investors are looking towards several improvements that could support drug development, including strong patent protections, reasonable exclusivity, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) being open to mergers, explains Zohar.

Creating opportunities for biotech investment is key – which is why BIF is so important for startups and investors.

What we’re covering at BIF 2023

Bio.News is on the ground in San Francisco, covering sessions and speaking with both biotechs and investors about what’s ahead.

A few topics we’ll be watching include:

  • Approaches to financing early-stage companies;
  • Best practices for industry-academic collaboration and the role of tech transfer;
  • The bright future of the RNA pipeline;
  • The impact of the Inflation Reduction Act on the investment climate; and,
  • How AI is helping us discover previously “undruggable” targets.

The event also provides an opportunity for one-on-one partnering meetings – learn more about how biotechs and investors will meet and partner at BIF.

Keep an eye on Bio.News and BIO’s daily newsletter, Good Day BIO, or follow along on social media with #BIF23.

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