Life science entrepreneurs often face hurdles that are seemingly insurmountable as they try to bring new drugs and medical devices to market. But last summer, the UNT Health Science Center began an Executives in Residence program giving entrepreneurs access to advice from industry experts as their companies navigate the challenges of developing and commercializing new products. At the core of the program, is a seasoned executive team of successful life science professionals who provide board-level guidance in managing the critical early stages of pharmaceutical and medical device product development.
"This is a wonderful resource and ad hoc advisory board that helps independent researchers connect to potential partners and funding entities," said Michael Bartlett, president and CEO of Vital Arts & Science. "Many people don't realize how small start-ups struggle to develop relationships with big pharmaceutical companies. This service helps provide that guidance and support."
Currently, 12 clients from North Texas to Atlanta to Boston are part of the program, believed to be the only one of its kind in the U.S. The number and caliber of the UNTHSC Executives in Residence makes the program unique as most incubators do not have dedicated health care executives on staff. Unlike traditional incubators, the UNTHSC Executives in Residence program is a simple fee-based service so clients never give up any equity. Companies and individuals can receive the guidance they need from one or all of the corporate executives in areas such as preclinical studies, clinical trials, regulatory pathways, marketing, business development, strategic planning, licensing and acquisitions. Clients also benefit from the large number of industry contacts the team has. In addition to the executive team, the Executives in Residence program includes access to office and laboratory workspaces, use of business equipment and conference room privileges.
"Over the years, we have come to realize the need for our partner companies to access high-level advice from experts at the earliest stages. Our executive team has more than 150 years of real-world experience in licensing, developing and launching pharmaceutical products," explained Robert McClain, PhD, Associate Vice President of Research at UNTHSC, who helped establish the executive team and program through UNTHSC.
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