Episode 3: Building Biotech Outside the Major Clusters
Podcast: BIO from the BAYOU
Episode 3: Building Biotech Outside the Major Clusters (Elaine Hamm, Ascend BioVentures)
Join us for this episode of BIO from the BAYOU, a podcast where we feature stories and industry insights from the experts located in and working with the bustling biotech scene of the Gulf South Region’s vibrant ecosystem. New Orleans is the place where people come for the science and stay for the food, festivals, and resilient culture. Join host James Zanewicz, with Tulane University’s School of Medicine to welcome special guest, Dr. Elaine Hamm. Elaine’s countless roles in industry have provided a great foundation for this conversation on how to build a biotech company when you are not located in one of the major biotech clusters.
The conversation kicks off with Elaine’s explanation of what made her want to run Biotech companies in the first place. When it comes to life sciences, people think of the major clusters and Elaine shares her first-hand experience of how the virtual world that she was already operating in herself, and the pandemic ushered in for the entire industry, is altering the landscape. After examining some of the barriers to being outside these clusters, Elaine shares some benefits -including the ability to find seed funding, accessibility of capital, lessened competition, and greater masses of people who are readily willing to assist with resources.
Shifting the conversation, James asks Elaine to discuss what programs have proved to be beneficial for her, and how she was able to access them. You’ll directly learn about the federal programs and tools that can complete – and pay for – studies for you as examine drug safety and toxicity! They then discuss how she approaches any additional fundraising. While it often depends on the company, Elaine chats about how foundations are great avenues to find a lot of passionate people and resources that are specific to various diseases.
Learn how Elaine has made the role of “Virtual CEO” work. She shares the importance of getting good at product management, outsourcing, and how she identifies the best partners for their products. Through interviewing and the key desire for constant communication, she describes experiences in testing the waters before plunging into a full partnership.
As the conversation draws to a close, Elaine offers a piece of advice for her younger self. She reminds herself that startups are chaos, so you need to relax and be okay with a bit of chaos, you will ultimately make it. Self-care should not be forgotten!
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