Readiness for a licensing deal? Opportune time to direct your focus during uncertain times

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Let’s look at our current situation from a half glass full kind of perspective. Without the possibility to travel and less meetings due to the current COVID-19 virus outbreak, we’re sure that your days look rather different than usual. Time at home and more time at your workstation should at least mean more quality time for focused work. So, let’s ensure we leverage this to strengthen the company position. These uncertain times will pass and for the companies not having utilized this period well will likely be left behind.

For all life science companies that do not have to weather the storm ‘out there’, in terms of managing sales decline or raising capital for example but instead are faced with external projects halted. This is an opportune moment to get your head down and focus on increasing your readiness levels for a potential partnering or licensing deal. We have put together a list of essentials in your licensing-package and outreach activities, because striking a deal doesn’t happen overnight or by pure luck.

First off, your asset must provide a value.

Importantly, you need to be able to succinctly articulate the value tailored to the potential licensee. Ensure that proof of how you have developed the asset is included in this. This is one of the steps in setting your sharp out-licensing strategy and building your action plan, but more on that further down.

Ace the digital interaction to get an edge

First impression is everything. Even more so important in a digital space. Before you start contacting potential partners or licensees you need to have done your homework, both in preparing your pitch but also understanding what the counterpart is in the market for. The better prepared you are, the higher the chances to better position yourself for a next meeting and later, hopefully, in negotiations.

It’s not only due to the COVID-19 outbreak that the world is turning more digital and virtual. Increasing environmental pressure, especially on business travel also plays a part. That is only one reason of why it will pay off acing digital interactions and tailoring your materials for a digital medium. No time like the present to start with outreach to potential licensees when many sits isolated and deprived of the normal ‘water cooler’ social interaction and are likely glad for the interruption.

Key consideration for an impactful licensing strategy

We have helped many biotech companies in the Nordics to develop their licensing strategy over the years. We usually start the project asking the client to consider the following areas:

  • How involved will you be in the continued development? There are several options and it will depend upon who you out-license the asset to and what your internal resources are and your long-term strategy.
  • What kind of deal type would best suit your company and assets? You need to understand your indication in detail. This includes, but is not limited to, the market, competition and other deals struck in the indication for benchmark purposes. This then informs the decision on what an ideal deal structure looks like for you; options include co-development to letting the licensee take the full responsibility as well as you keeping certain rights or a solely exclusive deal.
  • Who would the ideal partner be? Many clients only look at big pharma and larger biotech’s, but they may not always be the best partners. It’s important that you have define what your ideal partner would look like; key considerations should be what skills are you looking for, what other in-licensing deals has this company done before, how skillful are they in bringing products to the market, how attractive is the company for investors and also as an employer. Hopefully, you will end up in a situation where you negotiate with more than one potential partner or licensee. It’s then important that you also can do a proper due diligence to assess and define the scientific and commercial viability of each potential strategic partner.
  • When is the asset ready to be out-licensed? There are trends regarding the ideal timing of the out-licensing. Irrespective, it needs to align with the company’s overall business strategy. But you should consider several things such as the indication you are aiming for and what type of assets is it. It also depends on the quality and perceived value of the assets and how ‘well prepared’ the company is to hand off the assets. At this time, it’s important to have done your own asset valuation to understand how the value would change if you keep developing your assets yourself compared to out-licensing it at different stages. Doing a comprehensive valuation on the assets will also help when negotiating the deals structure and value.

If we at this point have identified a few areas where more work is needed to be able to take a decision on one of these key questions – now’s the time to look into it.

“We’d argue that it’s never too early to start working on your out-licensing action plan. Working towards a clear goal provides motivation for team, Board and shareholders.”

– Okee Williams, Sr Management Consultant and former VC, analyst and IR manager.

Develop your out-licensing action plan

With a set strategy that’ll guide your activities completed, next steps are to develop your action plan. Depending on the project, we play different roles at this stage but most often we’re the objective lynch pin pulling it all together.

  • Who should be involved in the project team? It is not a one man show, many parts of your organization need to be involved to ensure that we’re bringing our competitive edge to the table.
  • What kind of material is needed? Having the right communication materials that immediately speaks to the recipient is crucial. Sloppy or unfished presentations scare away potential licensees but great material leaving the recipient wanting more has the opposite effect. At minimum, we recommend having in place:
    • Face-to-face (whether online or in-person): Confidential prospectus and company presentation
    • Send outs: Non-confidential, short, company presentation
    • Online presence: Update homepage to align with your material
  • What should be included in the due diligence material? Start structure and assemble material for the upcoming due diligence. Also, prepare with setting up a data room with functionality to time limit and restrict access to keep leverage on your side. Examples of information that should be included are:
    • Preclinical data, safety results and regulatory material
    • Clinical studies and plans
    • Publications
  • Are your legal documents up to date? You should have confidentiality agreements (CDAs) prepared, in an easy to update template format, to be able to quickly respond to interest. Based on your ideal deal structure outlined in the licensing strategy, you should have a Term Sheet and other associated document already drafted.

Following these steps, you would be well positioned to start outreach to your targeted list of contacts. A targeted contact list is most likely to bring fruitful results if curated and identified based on criteria aligned with the strategy.

There’s of course only so much time in a day, even if you’re following social distancing, self-isolation or are quarantined. So, if we can help you get ahead with a competitive edge over the next few months, get in touch.

We have experience in providing support in all steps from taking the lead in strategy development, doing an asset valuation and developing marketing materials. Our team can also be helpful in identifying potential partners or licensees, providing direct contact details and targeted emails, alternatively support you in managing the outreach and keeping the leads warm. But also, simply provide guidance on the right timing of an ideal out-licensing.

Interns’ perspective of a summer at MSC

By | Business Development, Communication, Company update | No Comments

In order to gain valuable insights and try out what it is really like working in an industry, at a company or before even settling on a career path, an internship is a perfect position. All questions you may have, such as what the company does, what kind of tasks there are, what the corporate culture is like, are just a few examples of what an internship can provide answers for. This summer Anna, Felix, and Shadali has had the chance to figure out more about MSC and gain some real work life experience. To learn more about their experiences as interns during the summer, we asked them for their thoughts.

Anna, Communication intern

My name is Anna and I’ve got a bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology. This September, I’m starting the last year of my master’s Entrepreneurship and Business Design, at the Chalmers University of Technology. In my spare time, I love playing handball, traveling and hanging out with friends and family. Don’t be surprised to see me with a camera in my hand or making cookies since photography and baking are two other interests of mine.


Felix, Analyst intern

My name is Felix and I’m studying the Entrepreneurship and Business Design master’s program after my bachelor’s in Biotechnology at Chalmers University of Technology. I’m a lively guy who like finding new interesting projects to do whether it is getting into new sports, buying a 3D printer and in the past, I’ve also been a frequent sailor competitively and leisurely.


Shadali, Analyst intern

I’m Shadali, an engineer in Biotechnology (from India), currently enrolled in the master’s program of Bioentrepreneurship at Karolinska Institutet. I always had a keen interest in the life sciences industry and its developments, but never felt like a perfect fit in the laboratory setup. Life took its course and here I am now, far away from home working as an intern Analyst at MSC. Besides this, I’m the kind of person that can spend my days with a canvas, some paint and mellow indie acoustic music playing in the background.

“Take MSC as Hogwarts where help will always be given to those who ask for it/deserve it. The moral being: Never hesitate to clear your doubts when required.” – Shadali

What did you work with during your internship?

Anna: During this summer, I’ve got to work on a variety of different communication tasks, both internally and for our life science clients. I’ve been assisting and creating content for our social media as well as analyzing our social media strategy to see what is working and not. Apart from that, I’ve written press releases, edited annual reports, drafted word of the CEO, created website content to name a few assignments. I was fortunate enough to also experience business analyst assignments, helping out with research and data analysis for a big client, which was one of the biggest projects we had this summer. So, all in all, I got to see both the communication and the strategy side, which truly is ideal when getting to know the company.

Felix: During my time as an intern, most of my involvement has been directed towards one of our bigger clients. I’ve had to use all my knowledge about therapeutic areas, biotechnology methods and more that I’ve previously gained from my education in order to find relevant information to use for expert profiling, company presentations etc. Aside from that, I’ve also been producing competitive intelligence reports and market analysis for some of the smaller clients, which all have been a great deal of fun.

Shadali: From this internship opportunity, I indented to develop a deeper understanding of the business aspect of the life sciences industry. I’ve worked with a variation of tasks, where some required involvement for a shorter span and others for a longer period of time. Moreover, I also found myself working for different clients ranging from big pharmaceuticals to smaller life science companies. I performed tasks such as expert landscaping, data curation, participating in orphan drug designation discussions, and working on investor presentations.

What was the biggest learning from your internship and how did it prepare you for your future career?

Anna: Here at MSC, I’ve gotten a great insight of the work with biotech companies but from a business perspective. Realizing how the work with clients can be and how much of the client’s internal politics you have to navigate has been eye-opening, not only for future professional endeavors but also for my master thesis project I’ve upcoming this year. Furthermore, I learned to be prepared for unexpected events, such as change of project scope and deadlines, and being able to deal with challenges daily will be useful no matter what work place you are at. Besides work, I’ve gotten to know some great colleagues, and their talent has been a great source of inspiration.

Felix: The biggest learning for me was both to understand how client contact and project management work at a consulting firm like MSC, and more than anything about how to tailor the deliverables towards the client. Within consulting, I’ve come to realize that there is a fine line between overworking things and not being thorough enough; and finding that line has for sure been an interesting challenge. These learnings, I believe, are going to be crucial whether or not I end up at a consulting firm in the future but also for all things entrepreneurial given the constant client-facing and service-minded thinking.

Shadali: As of now, I’ve worked here for a relatively shorter span of time but there already are so many learning that I can think of that can fit into my list of learnings. Apart from the getting to work and experiment with amazing tools such as the Monocl platform, the biggest learning is to practically see how a consulting firm such as MSC bridges the gap between laboratory and the industry. An example of this is an ODD discussion I was sitting in on supporting a senior colleague at MSC. I could see how someone so young from the MSC team with a similar background as mine was leading, directing and guiding a discussion between the client and a third-party vendor, two teams each comprising of experts and highly experienced members in their respective domains. Honestly, I was able to spot how the output of the meeting would have been so different (not very positive) in the absence of the MSC team member.

What advice would you give to future interns?

Anna: One of the best things I think you can do during the internship is to seize the opportunity and challenge yourself by doing many different tasks. That might mean that you will do things you are not best at, but you will learn a lot, which is something no one can take away from you. And don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn from your colleagues. Just be honest about what you have done and what you need extra help with and everything else will fall into place.

Felix: For future interns, I would say to make sure to set aside a little time to learn the methodology of what you are going to do because it will make all similar work quicker in the future. At the same time, though, try to always put the work in relation to what you are going to achieve and don’t be daunted by how many people rely on what you are producing, instead just do your very best and everything will turn out great. Also, everyone makes mistakes and the sooner you accept and stand up for it the better you will get.

Shadali: My advice for a future intern is to be vigilant and absorb as much as possible from this opportunity. I see MSC as a firm that is involved and concerned with the learning experience it provides to its interns. Hence one will get open access to the discussions. It’s in our hands to make the most out of this environment. Also, even if you come from the ‘perfect’ background, it’s important to understand that life science, in general, is a complex field. So, don’t get overwhelmed with the flowing information and work according to your learning graph. The team is super supportive. Take MSC as Hogwarts where help will always be given to those who ask for it/deserve it. The moral being: Never hesitate to clear your doubts when required.

If you’re interested in an internship position at MSC, do feel free to reach out to Tove (