At the beginning of this year, I was just a little nervous about how the Fierce 15 would come together for 2009. The biotech industry was headed into the Valley of Death, after all, not a pleasant-sounding place to go looking for up-and-coming companies boldly pursuing their destinies.
In truth, this year turned out to be remarkably easy to find star players. The weak developers are in survival mode, unable to attract new money and playing for time. With venture backers more selective, the cream was more readily visible at the top. And this year's Fierce 15 help prove that if you have vision, good science and solid management, the money is still there to execute growth strategies.
Most of these companies are following a familiar path. Often starting with a university lab project, many are out to prove that they can fight disease with a new product that works a lot better than what patients have to rely on today. But there are some exceptions as well, pursuing some groundbreaking technologies. Either way, they typically face years of tests and trials, a complex and expensive regulatory review process and an incredibly risky business model. But of course a big appetite for risk helps to qualify for the Fierce 15.
I would like to thank the readers of FierceBiotech who suggested nominees for this year's list. This year more than any other you offered up a slate of candidates for the Fierce 15 that included some real winners. And keep the e-mails coming. Once one year's list is finished, I start compiling a list of possibilities for the coming review. On to 2010! Click here to see this year's winners