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Thursday, March 13, 2003||
First and foremost, you have to learn to communicate.
Whether you look for money, convince colleagues to work with you, hire
employees or look to lease space, you have to be able to convey your dream
to the appropriate group. If you are talking to the scientific community,
you want to convey specific, verifiable data. The investment community
instead, prizes evaluative data such as market size information, market
Third, you need to be able to execute on the strategy and reach the goals outlined in the plan. Since reality never mirrors strategic layouts and budgets you have to be nimble - seize opportunities and discard failures.
In this talk I will illustrate on the example of biologics,
specifically oligonucleotides, the problems encountered in going from
the bench to the market. Biologics are highly biodegradable compounds
that cannot be given orally, do not cross the lining of the blood vessels,
do not cross theblood-brain barrier, do not cross the nuclear membrane
Maria-Luisa Maccecchini, Ph.D, has more than 25 years of experience in biotechnology, from scientist to executive, and is well versed in growing companies internationally through mergers and acquisitions as well as in-house through new product discovery, development, and commercialization. Dr.Maccecchini has a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Rockefeller University and the Biocenter of the University of Basel.
Most recently Dr. Maccecchini was founder, president and CEO of Annovis,a company started in 1993 to develop molecules that regulate ion flow inthe brain and treat neurological and psychiatric disorders. In 1997 Annovisacquired Cruachem Holdings, Ltd., headquartered in Glasgow, Scotland, with subsidiaries in Kyoto, Japan, and Dulles, Virginia. This acquisition allowed Annovis to capitalize on the explosion of the genomic market. In 2000, Dr. Maccecchini lead Annovis in the acquisition of yet another DNA company,Cybersyn, Aston, Pennsylvania, which further expanded Annovis' genomicsoperations in the United States.These acquisitions brought together innovation and production and, since 1998, Annovis has been profitable and growing at between 30% and 100% per year reaching $18 million in 2001 while employing over 120 people worldwide. Revenues were generated through the sale of DNA normal and modified building blocks, oligomimetics, collaborations, royalty income, research grants, and sale of assets. While the DNA partof the company was generating income, Annovis continued its research and development on drugs that regulate glutamate receptors. In 1999 the first drug resulting from this research entered clinical trials for epilepsy and in 2001 the company filed an IND to test a second drug in addiction.To streamline operations, Dr. Maccecchini sold the Kyoto, Japan, facility to Genset in 1998 and in 1999 spun out a part of its research into a new company. Message Pharmaceutical, Inc. In May 2001 Transgenomic, Inc., a publicly traded company, acquired Annovis in a stock and cash deal.
Prior to founding Annovis, Dr. Maccecchini was General Managerof Bachem Bioscience Inc. (BBI). She founded and established BBI in 1987in Philadelphia as the U.S. subsidiary of Bachem Switzerland. Dr. Maccecchiniwas responsible for BBI, the company grew from one to 20 employees and increased U.S. sales from $ 200,000 in 1987 to $ 4 MM in 1991, or 20 fold. Prior to joining Bachem, Dr, Maccecchini directed the molecular biologylaboratory at then IMC Corporation. She was responsible for cloning, expression, purification and testing of growth factors in animals intended for meat production.