Tighter Research Processes Lead to $10 Million in New Funding for Biotech Start-Up


PROJECT BACKGROUND

A start-up nanotechnology company needed to raise additional funding to continue development of its holographic optical trapping (HOT) technology. To capture investor attention, it had to deliver compelling proof-of-concept results – without breaking the diminishing bank. This required a tight, strategic approach to pursuing their research.

The company’s executive management recognized from past experience that, at this point in the company’s growth, they did not have the processes or staff in place to manage swift and efficient technology development. They ultimately chose Integrated Project Management Company, Inc. (IPM) to act as a surrogate COO and guide the development efforts.

IPM’S SOLUTION

After extensive interviews with key stakeholders, IPM developed several scenarios for approaching the proof-of-concept project. For each scenario, IPM 1) delineated the inherent risks, 2) presented risk mitigation strategies and their impact on the project budget, timeline, and resource allocations, and 3) defined the criteria for project success. After being thoroughly briefed, management selected a scenario (and accompanying project plan) with a particularly aggressive timeline.

A project team was formed, with each team member accountable for specific deliverables and deadlines. IPM also established a risk management program to proactively document, assess, and develop contingency plans for foreseen project risks. Throughout the project, IPM tracked progress and budget against the project plan, and relayed the findings to executive management through routine project status meetings.

After work began, unexpected technical challenges emerged that caused research to cause a lag in the target timeline. Recognizing the threat to the project’s critical path (and the company’s dwindling capital), IPM immediately led an effort to redirect resources from non-essential to critical project activities. At the same time, IPM provided management with real-time data on project status and forecast the delay in end date if they did not take further action, as well as options for moving forward. Using IPM’s input, management decided to control cash burn by reducing project scope, in order to deliver the most critical project milestones within the original project timeline. The resulting data were powerful and satisfied the proof-of-concept goal.

PROJECT RESULTS

Armed with significant research advancements, the organization secured a $10 million round of venture capital. They also generated research collaboration with a leading global blood processing company, which ultimately acquired the biotech firm.

IPM’s project management approach enabled this start-up to increase its operational efficiency and better define its value proposition – which led directly to new business opportunities.

Through its work with IPM, the company:

  • Completed a $10 million fourth financing round in a lackluster post-9/11 investment environment
  • Attracted a valuable alliance partner/acquirer
  • Implemented a detailed process to guide research activities and force disciplined decision making by the team and executive management
  • Used risk management strategies to control cash burn and achieve its goal, despite unforeseen hurdles
  • Acquired a template to guide future R&D efforts