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Scientists make business contacts

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Everyday, it seems, there’s news of a breakthrough in stem cell research.

This week investors and pharmaceutical company representatives are in Philadelphia to talk about ways to turn those scientific discoveries into money.

Many ambitious scientists say they need to be good entrepreneurs too.

The stem cells and regenerative medicine conference includes workshops on scaling regulatory hurdles and finding a good mate for a merger or acquisition.

Conference speaker Sanjay Mistry is with the Philadelphia firm Quaker BioVentures. He says good business often begins with inspiration, but his company is dedicated to what happens next.

Mistry: How do we turn that exciting research into really what we call a true product that we can commercialize for the market? Because we have to ensure that the products are developable for us to ensure a good return for our own investors.

Biotech companies are in town to tout their discoveries and meet potential investors, including venture capital and pharmaceutical companies from across the region.

The San Diego firm Fate Therapeutics nudges differentiated cells — such as skin or heart cells — to transform them back into stem cells. The trick is making sure those transformed cells are safe for clinical use.

Conference organizer Emily Chin says Wednesday’s workshop is about making sure you get paid for your scientific breakthrough.

Chin: So once you have a product how do you maximize reimbursement for that product? Or how do you work with the government or insurance companies to structure a successful reimbursement model for your company?

Other workshops will cover the intellectual property and regulatory hurdles that scientists face when they try to take their work from the laboratory to the marketplace.

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