Calling it in: Virtual drug development

by Elaine Hamm, PhD, President and CEO, Ascend BioVentures

On Mondays at Ascend BioVentures, we start our day with a full morning of back to back (to back) drug development meetings with each of our portfolio companies.    At each company meeting, our team of executives, scientists, and project managers review and discuss all of the data from the previous week’s studies. We analyze the results, troubleshoot any issues, and then carefully plan out the next set of experiments.  After we’ve completed the scientific review, we move on to the business aspects of each company: budgets, business development plans, and patent strategies.  

By the time the clock strikes noon, my officemates are begging me to let them go to the bathroom. Full disclosure: my officemates are dogs. They don’t have thumbs to open doors.

This is what it is like to operate virtually.  Our teams live in different cities; our collaborators in different states; our lab work is being done at different labs across the world, and thus, our meetings are virtual too.

It may seem strange that a new, life-saving medicine could be developed this way; however, this is not a new concept in the world of drug development and certainly not new for startups.  Over the next few weeks, I will be publishing a series of posts that dive into different aspects of virtual drug development. I will be listing tools and tips and interviewing experts and veterans in the industry on this subject.  I’ll take a deep dive into different perspectives that ensure the success of this framework: the startup, the CRO, the consultants, and management.

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