On April 21, 2015 CURE, SECTen, UCONN TIP and seCTer gathered at the Mystic Marriott in Groton, Connecticut to host ”Vendor Strategies and Vendor, Lab Equipment and CRO Showcase” sponsored by ALT, Dilworth IP and the Mystic Marriot.

Over 150 people were in attendance from the Connecticut bioscience community as the night’s moderator, Jayson Bernstein, COO of ALT started off the panel discussion. Before digging into the panel, Jayson made mention of a very important event coming up this summer, the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.

To prepare for the world games the Special Olympics Unified Relay will bring the torch across all 50 states en route to lighting the cauldron at the famed LA Coliseum for the opening ceremonies. ALT and CURE have created the “Biotech for Special Olympics Team” to unify the Connecticut Biotech community to participate in walking, running or biking the torch across the state of Connecticut. Sharon Rozum, Director of Special Events at Special Olympics Connecticut joined the ALT vendor table to give some more information. If you are currently interested in starting a team, you can visit www.biotechforsoct.com for more information.

The panel discussion was kicked off with an introduction of the amazing panelists that took the time to share their immense knowledge of vendor strategies to the biotech community. The panelists were;

  • Holly Coulter – President and CEO of CE3
  • George Karam, Global External Research and Sourcing Leader
  • John Sloan – Vice President of External Affairs and Member Services at BIO
  • Peter Verderosa, Facilities and Purchasing Manager at Melinta Therapeutics

George Karam, who spent 20 years at a large Pharmaceutical company, kicked off the discussion when Jayson asked him the key steps he took in sorting and choosing a CRO to meet the large Pharmaceutical company’s needs. Simply put, George discussed how CRO’s are an extension of the Pharmaceutical company’s business and it is important to make sure that there is not a lapse in quality when using a CRO. In order to make sure the quality is up to par, George has reviewed more than 200 CRO’s to find the right fit. His belief is that even though this is a lengthy process, the proper research must be done, in order to find the proper CRO in order to save money without sacrificing quality.

Holly Coulter spent 20+ years at Bayer before she started CE3 which is now 10 years old. CE3 stands for Collaborative, Experience, Efficiency and Excellence; which are qualities that represent the core values of Holly’s company. Holly discussed the difference between working as a vendor and working as a partner. She explained that it’s apparent that the relationship when working as a partner is much more valuable. Holly stressed that as a partner you keep a constant flow of communication and receive the best relationship results, whereas when you are considered a vendor, you at times have slow communication and less chance of building a strong relationship.

John Sloan who has been at BIO for the past 15 years gave an overview of BIO which is the world’s largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. He also explained the benefits of having a BIO membership and their BIO Biz Link which is a portal to a community of contract service providers including; CROs, CMOs and regulatory consultants covering discovery through commercialization.

Peter Verderosa gave an overview of the procurement department at Melinta and stressed the consequences of overbuying or under buying. He explained how important it is to do the best research possible in order to get the most out of your investment why buying equipment and not to give all of your business to one particular vendor. Peter ended his segment stating, “There is a right price to pay for everything.”

Jayson closed out the discussion asking the panelists, “What are you most encouraged about?” when looking at the Biotech community in Connecticut, the main consensus was that the talent pool in the state is growing as there is an increase in biotech startups throughout the community and many statewide organizations such as, CURE, sector and UCONN tip are providing support to those that need it.

The night closed out while networking with the 40 vendors over hor d’oeuvres and cocktails. CURE would like to thank everyone that attended to make the night such a success and we hope to see you all and more at the next one.