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Raphael Hofstein
Raphael Hofstein, president and CEO of MaRS Innovation.

Biotechnology Focus, a compendium of the Canadian life sciences industry, has published a guest column by MaRS Innovation President & CEO, Raphael Hofstein.

The article examines how to build a strong biotechnology cluster from an academic base in the midst of a global recession.

Here’s an excerpt:

Gone are the days of large-scale, well-funded, in-house departments with resources to liberally support academic and start-up collaborations. Financial pressures and the economic downturn have made it clear that the go-it-alone model is no longer sustainable, and industry players are recognizing that they don’t have a monopoly on research acumen and disruptive ideas. Simultaneously, industry has expressed less interest in investing in early-stage technologies that carry significant risk. They remain receptive to the research emerging from academic enterprise, but need a means of bridging the gap that technologies face as they move from the bench to the market.

By doing the heavy work of determining a technology’s best path to market, liaising with industry early in the development process, forming a solid business plan and placing embedded management within the nascent company or burgeoning technology, many of us have been successful in providing industry with innovations that surpass their technological or execution risks and enter the market ready to compete. De-risking involves a high-touch approach to developing assets. Seasoned management may draw upon its own expertise and leverage local and international industry networks to do literally whatever it takes to develop the correct business plan, meet development targets, and breathe life into the exciting, yet very early opportunities accepted for assessment and promotion. This requires an entrepreneurial mindset, which should be encouraged throughout the organization at all stages and also necessitates input from academicians, commercialization officers and industry representatives, all of whom offer a compass through to a market eventuality.

The full column is available on Biotechnology Focus’ website.

Posted by Elizabeth Monier-Williams, marketing and communications manager.


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