Building Platform Tech Strategy
Building Your Platform Technology Strategy
Most biotech licensing and partnering deals focus on a single asset, in only one specific indication. How should the leadership team of a platform company approach deal-making?

As transactions are sensitive strategic processes, names of companies and executives in all MotionHall case studies are anonymized.

The CEO of a pre-clinical gene medicine platform company engaged MotionHall's professional tools and services for dealmakers on the question of how to optimize the value of their platform through in-house development vs. partnering and out-licensing.

For the purposes of this anonymized case study produced in concert with the CEO, we will call this company "Sycamore Therapeutics".

What to retain in-house, and what to license out to multiple partners? Your answer here has broad consequences for the speed, scope and ultimate platform-driven value potential for your company.

There are several opportunities that present themselves to a platform company like Sycamore Therapeutics that the CEO, BD team and Board Members will all want to understand.

There’s the ability to develop assets themselves from development, and possibly through to commercialization. However, this is resource intensive, particularly constrained by the limited intellectual resources and financial capital of a start-up. Yes, the asset and the value it generates are completely under the control of the company, yet this approach doesn’t fully leverage the potential of a platform with a broad applicability across multiple therapeutic areas.

This is where focused and informed deal-making strategy can maximize the value generation from such a platform. By licensing the platform to multiple partners, each with a defined area of focus and expertise in generating assets, the company has the potential to capture significant value and help larger populations of patients in need.

Platforms have broad potential. You must make an informed decision about which segments of the total addressable market are ideal for licensing now, later, and which will allow you to optimize for long-term value creation.

The problem here is: how can you, as a leader of a platform company, select the right therapeutic areas (or otherwise divided segments of the total available market) for partnering? Furthermore, where should your company be developing validating science in order to open up specific markets for lucrative deals?

Using MotionHall's tools and technology, like Sycamore Therapeutics’ CEO did, you may evaluate complex questions like these by looking at the intersection of three critical elements:

  1. 1. Scientific Validation - Which therapy areas are actually open to you now in terms of the validation associated with the science you've already performed? Can you have a robust conversation with a potential partner around the science in that specific therapeutic area, either through the broad applicability of the platform or where you have generated specific validating results?

For Sycamore Therapeutics, the gene medicine company had demonstrated early biomarker data in multiple tissues with the potential for effective delivery; this opened up many possible markets that were not the core focus of the company including cardiovascular, kidney, liver, muscular and neurological disorders.

  1. 2. Exciting Market Momentum - Are there sufficient active companies in that area to generate an intense, competitive process? The more companies that are actively deal-making and/or have their own research efforts and investments, the more likely you can generate a competitive deal cycle. This ensures a high likelihood of a transaction at an optimal value on preferred timelines in that particular therapeutic area.

This question weighed heavily on the CEO's mind at Sycamore Therapeutics, as they were looking to decide on where to apply their newly raised capital on developing in-house assets vs. gaining credibility through partnering with larger, well-established players in a range of therapeutic areas.

  1. 3. Partner Capability - How do you ensure you are prioritizing target companies that are clearly able to understand the power of the platform and how they can leverage their own capabilities to generate multiple assets in their area of expertise, from development through commercialization? Can they actually capture the value of assets generated by the platform?

Sycamore's gene medicine platform had some clear constraints here, as the mechanism of the underlying technology meant that there was a specific set of pre-clinical tools and in-house expertise at potential partners required to develop successful assets.

Sycamore Therapeutics’ CEO was able to set an informed strategy for the platform, including what to retain in-house and how to drive platform partnering by leveraging MotionHall’s Platform Market Prioritization approach.

In concert with the MotionHall Strategic Advisory Team, Sycamore's CEO planned and obtained a richly data-driven analysis drawing from both traditional and non-traditional inputs to address the three critical areas:

  • • Ensuring strong scientific fit;
  • • Prioritizing highly competitive ‘hot’ markets that will generate rapid interest; and
  • • Focusing core executive time and BD efforts on targeting companies that really get what you are offering and will be able to capture that value.

Sycamore's CEO walked away knowing exactly which indications and therapeutic areas to develop further in-house and which therapeutic areas to focus on partnering first. He significantly de-risked his pipeline strategy, as he now knows the newly raised capital will be used for targeting his partnering efforts in a therapeutic area with the highest likelihood of getting a deal done at a value on preferred timelines. Even more, he knows which therapeutic areas to prioritize after successfully partnering the first.