The 2011 Fierce 15

This year's Fierce 15 says a lot about what it takes to succeed in biotech these days. Each one of these private life sciences companies is out to do something truly exceptional, looking to pioneering technology and innovative business models to improve odds that, let's face it, would make most mortals cringe.

You'll find in the following profiles a biotech billionaire with his own revolutionary dream for synthetic biology, startups out to make a name for themselves riding the wave of next-gen antibodies, a couple of companies that are into late-stage programs and several still in the pre-IND phase. They are for the most part making deals, grabbing venture cash and building companies. Although they won't all go on to big buyouts or IPOs, they are taking their shot.

What you won't find are me-toos, tired retreads or timid business plans. The last three years have not been kind to biotech; venture cash has become harder to find while Big Pharma companies have merged and trimmed R&D empires. Making it today means actually meeting that unmet medical need, moving the dial on therapy in significant ways.

Bold thinking, diligent progress and great science are key.

This year Executive Editor Ryan McBride played an instrumental part in selecting and writing the Fierce 15. His experience covering the field provided some valuable insights. His lively writing style is always compelling.    

I'll be hosting a panel on the Fierce 15 this Wednesday at BioPharm America in Boston. A number of executives from the class of 2011 will be there. Please come by and join us as we discuss the key elements for making it in today's biotech world.

See the 2011 Fierce 15 winners.

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