Is biotech beginning to turn around?

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By Danny Sullivan

It probably depends who you ask, doesn’t it? Still, at this week’s BioPartnering Europe conference in London, there were definitely some positive signs for those companies striving for success in this battered market.

The conference was thick with representatives from big pharma – many senior executives were present and there appeared to be a renewed appetite for the acquisition of new technology.

One pleasantly surprised delegate was Rainer Engelhardt, CEO of GangaGen, which develops bacteriophage-based treatments for infectious disease.

“I have definitely noticed a sense of optimism and enthusiasm for the future,” said Engelhardt.” The presence of big pharma is very encouraging, and there are signs that they are beginning to take an interest in infectious disease again, which is good news for GangaGen.”

It’s still early days, of course, and from a PR firm’s perspective, it’s a long way from being an ideal market. But there were enough positive rumblings from some of the executives we met to justify this company’s continued interest in the sector.

Many smaller biotech companies view PR as a non-essential function that can be handled by someone internally, as and when the need arises. And to a certain degree, this is probably true, but the benefit of taking a more strategic approach to the area of one’s business cannot be underestimated. Rather than simply making sporadic announcements about company and product developments, PR can also be an effective tool to help support the drive towards business goals such as financing, partnerships, licensing deals and so on, as well as simply helping to keep awareness up during the periods between news events.

Of course, strategic PR requires a budget, so here’s hoping this positive attitude at BioPartnering is a sign of what is still to come.

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