In today’s biotech funding environment when IPOs have halted and announcements of late-stage funding rounds seem few and far between, it can be easy to overlook one sign of progress: company launches. As of July, 25 new biotech companies have publicly launched in 2023. That’s 25 new opportunities to staff biotech’s best and brightest and, importantly, 25 new scientific breakthroughs with the potential to change the outlook for future patients.
If you’re a founder or leader of a company operating in stealth, the main question is always, “when should we announce our company launch?” The lure of remaining stealth and free from competitive noise is often at conflict with pressure from investors to recognize their investment publicly and the need to recruit and fundraise to advance the company’s goals. Additionally, the question of how the news will be received by discerning journalists in a media climate that is changing daily can be daunting.
Over the years, we’ve partnered with over 40 companies to bring them out of stealth. Each situation is unique, with the scientific field, funding environment, management team and leading investors all playing a role in the launch strategy for each company. Despite the unique circumstances behind each, we’ve identified several commonalities that successful launch companies share:
Is your team unified around what makes your company unique? The launch is the first public communication from your company, providing an initial glimpse into the company’s position in the competitive landscape and setting the tone for the path ahead. It’s also a first opportunity to build relationships with media who may consider your company a source for future stories based on your position in your field. Having a clear understanding of your company’s capabilities and ambition will elevate your message and excite stakeholders about your mission.
Is your CEO fluent in your company’s story and vernacular? While scientific founders and early investors provide immeasurable validation for a company’s mission, your CEO is the face of the company at launch. Having a CEO in place who is ready to share your company’s story provides clear direction for your key audiences on what lies ahead.
Do you have a post-launch plan? A launch announcement is only a moment in time. You may be in a place to share only limited details on your pipeline and future development plans when you announce your initial round of funding. To capitalize on the momentum garnered in that first public announcement, a solid post launch plan is essential to ensuring your company stays front of mind for biotech industry stakeholders. This includes a well thought-out internal timeline of future milestones and disclosures that will enable you to build a steady cadence of announcements over the coming months, and a social media plan that will keep investors, journalists and talent abreast of your company’s growth.
So how do you when the time is right? Think of how you would answer the three questions above for your company – how you answer should give you an indication on your launch readiness.