This year, Bio Integrates returned in a virtual format once again to provide a platform for biotech and life science organisations to share their perspectives on how the industry is changing. Domainex CEO, Tom Mander, joined the conference as part of the ‘Growing Pains’ panel to discuss the important decisions facing biotech companies as they enter the growth phase. The panel was chaired by Kevin Cox, Chair of Biorelate, and Tom was joined by Martin-Immanuel Bittner, CEO, Arctoris; Suzanne Dilly, CEO, ValiRx PLC; Shadi Farhangrazi, CEO, S. M. Discovery Group; Mr David Porter, Founding Partner, Apposite Capital and Karin Schmitt, CBO, Mogrify.
Value creation through growth is imperative for all companies – but what strategies work best in the biotech world? The panel featured companies offering products and services who have needed to pivot and adapt their approach as they grow. The industry leaders shared their perspectives on the most important areas for biotech organisations to focus and the characteristics of a successful growth strategy.
Domainex has successfully grown by ~40% in the last 12-18 months against a challenging background. Tom discussed the company’s decision to focus on an organic growth strategy, increasing the number of new clients and projects as well as extending Domainex’s reach overseas. This international strategy, fuelled by a diverse workforce, has resulted in Domainex’s overseas customers now outweighing UK customers for the first time.
Suzanne Dilly emphasised that for ValiRx, an AIM listed company, communicating growth and value creation to shareholders is vital. They noticed that with clinical development, news is often few and far between leaving shareholders unclear of the progress being made. One solution the company has taken to this is to broaden preclinical development with the in-licensing of new programmes to strengthen their pipeline and generate more frequent updates. Tom shared this view on the importance of communication and emphasised the need to communicate evolving strategies clearly to all stakeholders to ensure their support.
As well as communication, another key theme of the discussion was making sure the organisation has the right people, with the resources they need to excel. As biotech companies grow it is inevitable that the expertise needed will also change. Science and innovation will always lead their offering, but the addition of people with the experience of growing organisations is essential to transform these businesses. Karin Schmitt and Martin-Immanuel Bittner both discussed their experiences of hiring the right people with the right expertise at the right time to join a growing team.
Shadi Farhangrazi raised the importance of access to investment for growing organisations and how location can play an important role in this. For those companies based in the key biotech hubs, investment is more readily available; whereas the Northeast of England is more challenging. As an investor, David Porter shared his experiences and what he looks for when investing in growing organisations. He once again focused on making sure their companies have the right people often adding experts to the board in order to provide this. Demonstration of a clear strategy of value creation was also a key requirement.
The discussion showed some really interesting perspectives and is now available to watch on demand, in case you missed it. While some companies were diversifying to grow, others were specialising, some growing organically and others by acquisitions, but the themes of people, investment and communication were common across all companies. Thank you to all the speakers for a lively panel and to Bio Integrates for another great virtual conference. At Domainex we’re looking forward to being able to meet colleagues in person once again in the future, but in the meantime it’s great to catch up virtually on the amazing growth and developments in the industry.