The Fierce 15 turns 14: A call for biotech startup nominations

Shadows of multiple hands being raised in the air

A logo for our Fierce 15 competition It’s an awkward age, to be 14. But that’s exactly where we are with the Fierce 15 this year.

That’s not too different from the current, transitional state of the biotech industry itself. In the last year, biotech has taken a breather on the public markets. The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index was down by nearly one-third during that time--after a rapid run-up that lasted for almost 5 years.

While many public biotechs have taken a hit on valuations, those on the private side tend to lag public market sentiment. So, the next year will be crucial to determining if the current public market pullback will ease--or deepen and translate into an ongoing state of affairs that could mean diminished financing prospects for private startups.

In the meantime, as we embark on our 14th edition of the Fierce 15, that backdrop offers more urgency to our mission to find and highlight the stories of the most potentially transformative private biotechs. These are the ones with some of the best shots at justifying and helping to drive future valuations in the sector.

Please send us your nominations for which biotech startups make the cut. But first a few basics.

Make sure it’s a private company. Even though it may be broke and early stage, if it’s a public company we won’t consider it.

Most essentially, we want to know: Is this company Fierce?

Does it have the star power, science, cash, strategic backing and/or partners needed to make it an industry player, either as a winning takeout candidate or as a promising standalone growth company?

Be sure to sell us on it. What are the firms in its investor syndicate? How’s its partnering strategy shaping up? What patient problem does it have the potential to address? Has the FDA given it some noteworthy designation--like breakthrough or orphan--for one of its programs?

Further, we want to know the track record of the execs--and that the scientific basis is sound. So, please regale us with management’s history and the merits of the scientific founders.

Check out last year’s Fierce 15 list to get a sense of the kinds of companies we’re looking for--and to help ensure that your nomination hasn’t already been picked previously.

We will be sorting through your nominations over the next month or so, adding our own as well to create a short list. Please complete your nominations by August 15 at the latest; we will be reviewing them on a rolling basis, so timeliness counts.

The winners will be announced at the FierceBiotech Drug Development Forum on September 19-21 in Boston. See you there.

- here is the Fierce 15 nomination form
- here is the Fierce 15 list from 2015
- and here is more information on the DDF conference