Breaking Buzz is BIO’s newest blog series that reaches across the globe to bring you an insider’s preview into the hottest international and partnering trends coming to San Diego for the BIO International Convention.
Breaking Buzz Sits Down with Partnering King
BIO’s One-on-One Partnering™ opens April 10 and it’s not too early to register, set up a profile and start requesting and accepting meetings before schedules get filled. BIO will host a Webinar on April 5 to explain everything you need to know about the partnering system and offer tips to ensure a successful BIO 2017.
Recently we connected with Industry veteran Bill Taylor, one of BIO’s most prolific partnering delegates, having single-handedly scheduled and attended 55 formal meetings, over just three days, during last year’s International Convention in San Francisco. This impressive number of well-executed meetings wasn’t beginner’s luck. Mr. Taylor first attended BIO when he was with Pharmacia in 2001 and since then has racked up a lot of meetings, many of which resulted in more meetings. We can all agree that with more meetings often come lasting partnerships and potential product commercialization agreements.
Mr. Taylor, now Vice President, Business Development for Protalix Biotherapeutics, sat down with Breaking Buzz to share some of his strategies on how to pull off a great number of effective meetings in a meager amount of time.
BB: What’s the single most important task when it comes to scheduling partnering meetings?
TAYLOR: It will seem obvious, but the most important thing I’ve learned is to DO YOUR HOMEWORK. I usually start researching companies within three months of the Convention because otherwise it can feel like diving into a mosh pit of 20,000 people. The online instructions are a great place to start. A close second most important task though, is to make sure you populate your profile really well and use well-chosen key words to highlight your company interests and offerings, not just name and location.
BB: What is the most important part of a company profile?
TAYLOR: In the Protalix profile I talk about what we’re doing and what our pipeline is, which allows other companies looking for opportunities to send me an invite. You’ve got to recognize that your company profile on the system is a two-way street in that respect. Our profile will read something like this:
Protalix is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development, production and commercialization of recombinant therapeutic proteins produced by our proprietary ProCellEx® plant cell-based protein expression system. Our pipeline consists of proprietary, potentially clinically superior versions of recombinant therapeutic proteins that target established pharmaceutical markets with a focus on rare diseases.
BB: How many people do you think should attend a partnering meeting from each company?
TAYLOR: Two to three, tops. One or two from the company, and myself. That said, sometimes companies want to bring their science and technical experts to do some drill-down for their initial diligence questions. Knowing this in advance will save time.
BB: What should a company expect to achieve during partnering meetings?
TAYLOR: Like most things you get what you put into it. So, if I’ve done my homework, I expect to walk away with well-grounded conversations that cover the full width of our pipeline; conversations where I can articulate our value propositions, while conveying the commercial opportunities that our products represent. BIO is unique because it provides a very broad band forum in which to meet up and engage with a large number of companies across a vast range of geographies.
BB: Should a company lock-down their schedule, or keep it flexible?
TAYLOR: I find that there’s no lack of people pinging me with lots and lots of invites, so I have to be highly disciplined about my scheduling strategy, while remaining open-minded to unforeseen possibilities. The challenge is to get your scheduled meetings locked down early, but it’s equally important to have some safety valve time-slots available to ensure a meeting can actually occur if it comes in on a last-minute blitz.
BB: This will be your 16th consecutive year attending the BIO International Convention. What keeps you coming back?
TAYLOR: BIO is a lot like Homecoming. There may be nearly 20,000 people but we have a lot in common; we’re a collegial group that live and survive by the networks we’ve created over the years. Even waiting for a coffee — or a beer at the end of the day — you’ll strike up a conversation with someone who may end up as a great resource or they might be someone you’ve met at a past event. It’s a place for former colleagues to re-connect, meet up with old contacts and make new connections. In that respect it really does feel like Homecoming.
BB: Does that make you the BIO International Convention Homecoming King?
TAYLOR: I guess so. You should see my convention badge collection! After all these years, I’m still just a science geek!