Specialist Series: How to build an effective overview of your technology.

Contributed by Erin McKenna, B-BIC Deputy Director

After the dip in investment in early-stage biotechnology in 2008, the number of funding opportunities for early-stage technologies has been increasing in recent years. Despite this promising trend, finding and securing the funding necessary to move your research out of the lab and towards commercialization is still a challenging experience. One of the most important ways to help your technology stand out is to build an effective overview that presents it briefly and clearly to a wide audience.

Technologies are often developed for different reasons. Some are driven by a scientific discovery without a clear understanding of the problems it may solve and are referred to as “technology push,” while others are identified in response to addressing an unmet need or considered “market pull” – an effective overview needs to address both elements.

The best place to begin an overview is by presenting a clear picture of the problem that needs to be solved. The picture must be focused on addressing a specific disease or healthcare management issue, but for it to be truly compelling it also needs to tell a narrative story about a specific problem that patients or clinicians are experiencing currently.

Including key facts to support the story, such as the number of patients experiencing the disease, the outcomes, and costs experiences as a result of their needs, or the number of clinicians working in the space today, is essential to showing the potential market size for the opportunity.

Once the picture of the problem has been painted, the solution should be described in two ways – what it is and how it will solve the problem. For many, at this stage it can be very tempting to get too far into the technical weeds when describing what the technology is, but it’s more important to emphasize how the technology will solve the problem than to spend time getting into the nuances around what makes the technology interesting.

The existing alternatives for solving the problem also need to be considered here, from past attempts to solve the problem along with competing for current ones, to show how the solution you are presenting offers compelling advantages over these alternatives.

Often times the overview will need to be rewritten once the other areas within the business plan have been built out, as the process guides you to learn key elements that are necessary for explaining both the problem and solution.

As this article is the first in a series we are presenting that is intended to be a guide through the steps necessary to build a compelling B-BIC proposal or business plan, there are many more elements that will be covered in depth in later articles that will be necessary for building a strong overview. But it’s important to start the process with an understanding of the outcome, so that as you build your proposal or business plan you can use what you learn to strengthen the overview and increase the odds of getting the attention and support you need from busy reviewers and investors.

* This is Part 1 in our B-BIC Proposal / Business Plan series.  Click Here to see all articles in this series.