Listen up! It's time to nominate top biotechs for the Fierce 15

It's time to start getting ready for the 14th annual Fierce 15. And if you have a biotech you'd like to nominate for the award, we've got a quick and easy form for you to fill out.

Longtime, loyal readers will already know the ground rules. But if you're new to the process, let me set the stage.

First, keep in mind that these companies are all private. So don't suggest a great public company.

Second, ask yourself a simple question: Is this company Fierce?

As in, does it have a great team of execs running the shop? Who's putting up the cash? (Extra marks for savvy investors with a strong track record.) Are they going big in terms of medical needs? (We used to single out the derisking crowd years ago, and guess what? Not a great approach.) A landmark collaboration deal helps, as well as a breakthrough drug designation or some other noteworthy achievement.

That all said, we generally like to single out at least one upstart with really interesting tech but not much money. In that case, the scientific founders are key.

Where is it based? We don't care. Drug development is a global game and we're a global, online biotech news service, so U.S., European and Asian companies are all eligible.

And is it fast? Drug development doesn't have to take 10 years and $2.6 billion. That's a recipe for disaster, to the extent it actually represents any kind of an industry standard.

Damian Garde and I will be sorting out the nominations next month, adding in our own short lists and coming up with the winners in September. Half of last year's Fierce 15 has already gone public, and if the window stays open, we're likely looking at a new crop of IPOs from this group.

So don't wait around. File your nominations now. Here's a link to the form. -- John Carroll, editor-in-chief of the life sciences group. Follow me on Twitter @JohnCFierce