GEP's Client Base
GEP´s clients are U.K. life science companies seeking to cross two chasms—to go from local to global, starting across the Atlantic, and to go from research bench to bedside. GEP´s main focus is on North America, India, and, more recently, Australia. Thus far it has achieved 36 wins, pulling in over $100 million in investment over three years.
GEP is now sponsoring a new initiative, known as the Life Science Mentoring Programme, which aims to create opportunities for collaborations between U.S. entrepreneurs, as well as senior executives from big pharma, who act as mentors, and U.K. biotech companies that want to go global.
“Mentoring is essential,“ says Morse. “It is closely related to networking, which is mission critical in bringing new technologies to market. You can´t teach all the elements of entrepreneurship in the classroom—people also need to learn through trial and error so you need networking, coaching, and mentoring.“
Mentors coach companies to become robust and prepare them to commence international commercialization; as a first stage they could also champion U.K. companies into U.S. networks and assist with U.S. commercialization.
In short the mentor could become an advisor or nonexecutive director and help U.K. companies think bigger and globally. And finally, the initiative hopes to use U.S. talent to introduce U.S. investment—VC and other money—to British opportunities and realize the arbitrage opportunities from investing in this market.
It is not easy to get experienced people, including ex-pats, to migrate to the U.K., so the program provides an opportunity to build bridges and maximize global opportunities. Equally important is securing support for those companies wanting to push forward more aggressively from lab bench to market, but perhaps lacking the entrepreneurial skills to do so.
The mentoring program´s clients are emerging U.K. biotechs. It is the early-stage companies or firms that have been working for about a couple of years and have raised some funding that may have the most to gain from this scheme, since they are at the stage where they need to learn about being in the marketplace.
To kick-start the mentoring initiative, GEP recently invited 700 targeted senior individuals from the life sciences and pharmaceutical sectors to receptions in New York and Boston, with the help of ERBI and BIA Scotland.
The Mentoring Programme is supported by ERBI, the regional organization for biotech in Cambridge and the East of England, as well as BIA (BioIndustry Association) Scotland, who are identifying suitable U.K. companies among their membership.