Pick your team wisely

Dr. Allen Mangel

It's true for any biotech but particularly the virtual variety. When a company relies heavily on the efforts of fewer than 10 or so full-time professionals--or just one or two--those people better be very good at what they do.

Tioga CEO Collinson has picked a lean team of experienced pros with backgrounds in gastrointestinal drug development, as Tioga's lead drug is in late-stage development against diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome. 

"What we don't do is work with people who are just good general pharmaceutical people," said Collinson. "The people in the team, and we're not too concerned whether they are full time or direct employees, are experts in their field."

Take the company's chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Mangel, a former head of gastroenterology clinical development at GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK). Mangel works part time for Tioga as a consultant. And Gareth Hicks, the virtual company's chief scientific officer, previously headed gastroenterology research in the U.S. at Novartis ($NVS) and held a similar position at GSK.

It also helps to have connections at big companies. Collinson, a former VP of gastrointestinal disease at Glaxo, has recruited heavily from folks in his GSK network. Michael Gilman did the same thing through his connections at Biogen ($BIIB) to stack his team at Stromedix. (Now the team has moved back to Biogen.)

Pick your team wisely