The security guard walks to the Partnering desk, slightly confused.
“Sir, there’s a man with no badge. He says he’s not registered for the conference. But he says he needs to talk to you.”
At BIO events, you can always expect the unexpected. I nod to the guard.
“Let him in.”
A man. 70s. Stooped; hunched; gnarled. Disheveled. Faded tattoos on his forearms. Yet, a twinkle in his eye and an unexpected motorcycle helmet in his hand.
“Good morning. How can I help you?”
Fumbling, he uncrumples a piece of paper. It’s a printout of an OrgaNext Research web page – the one that describes their management team. He points impatiently to the listing of executives.
“Are any of these people here? I need to talk to them.”
By the title of this post, you have guessed this man’s plight. But I hope you will forgive me for not having the clarity of retrospect at that moment, and exercising caution on behalf of our attendees, regardless. I glance at my coworker inconspicuously, exchanging an imperceptible series of coded nods.
Noticing my hesitation, the man composes himself a bit, sighs, and relaxes.
“OrgaNext,” he proceeds to explain clearly, “is developing NDD, a combination of nandrolone, an anabolic steroid, and vitamin D, as a Recovery Booster. It accelerates muscle recovery after bone fracture in elderly patients. The vitamin D reduces the androgenic activity of nandrolone, making it safer, and the two work symbiotically to create skeletal muscle faster.” [DISCLAIMER: This statement is not endorsed by BIO and has not been approved by any regulatory authority.]
He proceeds to detail the fracture and surgery he’s recently undergone, how he feels he would be an ideal candidate for OrgaNext’s phase IIb trial, and the difficult journey he undertook to come to BIO Investor Forum. He first heard about OrgaNext’s clinical candidate on NPR[August, 2014], and has been very excited about them ever since, reading up on their past clinical and pre-clinical research. Never underestimate the patient, and their keen eye for pre-market therapies.
“I’m really sorry sir, but while OrgaNext is here, they are occupied at the moment.” In nod-language, my coworker had conveyed as much to me – specifically, that they were in a partnering meeting.
“However, I would be happy to check if they are available to meet with you. Please, have a seat.”
“I can check with them in about 20 minutes.”
“Can’t wait that long,” he sighs. “I got someone at home, and I can’t leave her alone for too long.”
“If you like, you can leave a note with your contact information, and I will ensure it gets delivered to OrgaNext.”
I hand him a piece of paper, he spends a few minutes scrawling his background and phone number, and hands it to me. He refuses tea/coffee. I offer to walk him out.
“Thanks kid, but no thanks. I’m gonna be fine, I’m gonna be fine.”
Still, I watch him disappear into the elevator after I dispatch a member of my team to retrieve Marjanne Prins, founder and CEO of OrgaNext, after her partnering meeting.
Pass 20 minutes. My teammate is walking with Marjanne over to the partnering desk. I briefly describe the situation to her and hand her the note. She walks away reading it. Suddenly, she turns, and walks briskly back to the Partnering desk, her eyes full of concern. She asks me to recount every detail, and quizzes me on my memory of his appearance and stature. Then she gets that look – if you’re a biotech, you know the one I’m talking about – where there’s that in-your-face, undeniable reminder that you are doing something the will make a difference in people’s lives; that will give them hope.
Studying the contact information closely, she walks to her next meeting.