BIO CEO & Investor Conference: Being upfront about upfront payments

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With today’s economy, it’s important to be upfront about upfront payments in biotech licensing. Since licensing deals allow big companies to fill their pipelines without the upfront work and provide small companies with the capital they crave, a win/win partnership is important. Today, big pharma is driven by scientific data—often from late phase II clinical trials. And, sometimes one molecule can make or break a deal. For big pharma, it’s not the price that drives a deal; it’s the number of opportunities that may come out of the deal. These conglomerates are willing to pay it forward for hard data and new technologies—especially in areas with an unmet need. According to both big pharma and small biotechs, strategic partnerships work best and partnerships built on a track record for delivery work even better. For 2009, big pharma and small biotech executives are optimistic about licensing deals. While sellers might demand upfront cash because of the economy, there is plenty of solid data and attractive molecules to help move deals forward to reach fair market value.