Burke Bioventures was founded to facilitate the advancement of new science and technology for better medicines in the emerging new era of biopharmaceutical R&D. Our mission is to identify and bring to fruition the next wave of biopharmaceutical innovation.

Q&A With Our Founder

Why did you found Burke Bioventures?

I founded Burke Bioventures in response to changes in the pharmaceutical industry which significantly impact the path by which new science and technology can advance to the clinic and ultimately to patients at large. The industry is in a time of enormous transition, with profound consequences for how new drugs—whether based on new technologies or established ones—are developed. Large companies are increasingly looking outside, especially to start-ups and the academic world, for sources of innovation to replenish their pipelines. More than ever before innovation is nucleated, funded, and matured in small companies as opposed to the dominant pharma players of the past. This transformation creates unique challenges for all parties. Burke Bioventures was founded to facilitate the advancement of new science and technology for better medicines in this emerging new era of biopharmaceutical R&D.

What are some of the challenges for established biopharmaceutical companies in advancing drugs based on new technologies?

For established therapeutic modalities, such as small molecules and biologics, steps along the development path are well understood and thus amenable to systematization and, frequently, outsourcing. Established biopharmaceutical companies have re-engineered their business operations to be leaner and more stream-lined. The result can make it challenging for new science and technology, which are not ready for systematization, to take root and develop inside those companies. At the same time, pharma’s appetite for new science and technology, the source of future product streams, remains as high as ever. Burke Bioventures can help mature companies track and critically evaluate opportunities based on new technologies where they lack internal expertise and capability, and can facilitate partnerships with technology providers.

What are some of the challenges for technology providers?

Before telling their story to prospective partners companies counting on funded research collaborations with, or direct investment from, biopharmaceutical companies need to make the right choices up front. The expectations of potential pharma partners considering new technologies are appropriately shaped by experience with established modalities, but these can seem unrealistic to small companies with fewer resources. Burke Bioventures can help small company technology providers ensure their early R&D priorities will optimally position their programs in a competitive environment.

How can a strategic framework help when advancing a new technology?

Drug development is notoriously risky. Developing medicines based on new, unproven technologies is even riskier. How can R&D strategy be adapted to this high-risk environment? This is a very important question, and the answer impacts capital efficiency as well as overall probability of success. At Burke Bioventures we advocate a strategic framework with elements crafted to position your program optimally at each program stage. The most important element is to adopt a product focus as early in the program as possible. Is a product candidate well-positioned to eventually become a safe and efficacious medicine? While a transition to clinical testing is a critical milestone this is but an interim goal. The ultimate goal is a safe and efficacious product which can be manufactured in a robust, cost-effective manner, and made available for the treatment of disease in the major relevant markets. The early stages of development often require tradeoffs between investments in breadth vs. depth—i.e., the need to show a platform is applicable across a range of applications vs. the degree to which any one application is matured and advanced. A long-term, product focus can help prioritize goals even at the earliest stages of a program, but to be successful it is first necessary to determine if a technology is “good enough” to support its very first product.

Why should I engage Burke Bioventures?

There are many consulting firms to choose from when selecting an advisor. It is important to find one with the background and skill set that match your current needs. At Burke Bioventures we bring extensive experience across a range of technology platforms and therapeutic modalities. We’ve directed high risk ventures within what has historically been a risk-averse environment, and managed high performance teams of 20-200 scientists across discovery and preclinical functions in top-tier companies. Our top priority is to deliver value to our clients by developing customized services according to their unique needs. (See the Services section for specific examples.) We recognize that advisory needs will evolve during the course of an engagement. In addition to our own experience base, we bringan extensive network of industry experts across an array of disciplines, to find the optimal solution for each situation.
Case Studies

Providing interim management for an angel-funded startup  MORE

Advising a major biopharmaceutical company on a funded partnership  MORE

Overseeing an outsourced technology project  MORE