Q&A with the LVG Licensing Team

Q&A with Patrick Klepcyk | Spotlight on BIO Convention 2017

Question: You and the LVG licensing team recently attended the 2017 International BIO Convention in San Diego, can you explain why you were there, and what the conference is all about?

Answer: No problem. The annual BIO International Convention is hosted by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, arguably the biggest and most well-known biotechnology industry organization in the world. The convention spans four days and features extensive programming including speakers, panels, workshops, and networking opportunities related to life sciences, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals. LVG attends each year to represent UVA, maintain relationships with our contacts in the industry, and to showcase a collection of the top assets, or inventions, in our portfolio with potential partners.

For our purposes, LVG spent almost the entire time at the conference in the business forum where we participated in approximately 50 meetings over the span of three days. The team split up and covered a lot of ground meeting with biotech companies from around the world to pitch LVG portfolio technologies. The goal is partnering our assets for further development, and the convention offers a platform to generate interest and start a dialogue with companies we might not meet elsewhere.

Question: What did you set out to accomplish during your time at BIO? Did you reach your goals for the team?

Answer: Since LVG supports an academic institution, our assets are in the very early stage of development, and part of our strategy is to highlight a carefully curated selection of our most promising technologies. Generating interest, connecting with the industry to help us better understand the market, and offering exposure to the newer members of the LVG licensing team were our main objectives for attending BIO this year.

We split up into teams of two, and Josh Mauldin and I helped coach our newest licensing analysts. By the end of day two, Hui [Wang] took charge of one of our meetings and pitched the asset herself. It was encouraging to see how quickly Hui [Wang] and Heather [Bansbach] caught on to the process, which will allow LVG to have a larger footprint at BIO 2018. 

Question: What was one of the biggest challenges the LVG team faced at BIO?

Answer: The challenge with BIO is roughly the same each year. The business forum meetings are about 20 minutes each, and rapid fire – one after the other. It takes a lot of mental stamina to push through even a single day at BIO, let alone three.

Efficiency and preparation are essential to gaining traction during meetings. Our team was well versed in each of the technologies that we brought to BIO, but no amount of understanding the science can prepare you for the interactions and communication challenges that come with these meetings. I witnessed several moments when our team identified opportunities mid-conversation and seamlessly pivoted to pique the attention of company representatives. Tapping into that level of mental agility comes with experience, and will always be the biggest challenge at BIO.

Question: What was the most valuable takeaway you and the team gained by attending the BIO Convention?

Answer: For our newest team members, exposure to the conference was extremely valuable. They now have a base line understanding of industry expectations when marketing our portfolio assets. They made worthwhile connections during networking opportunities, and are more familiar with where we sit in the commercialization process after participating in meetings at the convention.

On a larger scale, our meetings were successful in generating more follow up interest than in previous years. We established new relationships with companies we haven’t worked with before, identified opportunities for how to improve the way we market our portfolio assets, and gathered knowledge of various industry verticals that we previously haven’t been exposed to including artificial intelligence for drug development. 

Question: How long has UVA LVG been attending the BIO Convention?

Answer: The LVG licensing team has been attending the business forum at BIO consistently since 2013. After our first year we established our current strategy, which is to highlight a selection of assets as opposed to our entire portfolio. This focused approach allowed us to be more efficient in meetings, and successful in establishing relationships that can lead to further business development for LVG’s portfolio technologies. BIO 2017 was the first year we were able to send more than two members of the licensing team, and we hope to continue growing our participation and enhance our reach at BIO 2018.