It’s a phrase that is thrown around a lot.
“He’s a high net-worth individual.”
“She’s built herself up to be a high-net worth entrepreneur.”
In both these cases, “high net worth” is referring to financial position, which is certainly admirable. But what else can “high net-worth” refer to?
This week I attended the invitation-only LARTA NIH Commercialization Accelerator Program (CAP) FeedForward™ Sessions, where I was invited to mentor early stage companies (Phase II NIH SBIR grantees) on the next steps in their commercialization efforts. Past mentors have included representatives from P&G, J&J, Allergan, Bayer Healthcare, AbbVie, Amgen, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, City of Hope, Eli Lilly & Co. FDA, Gates Foundation, GE, AdvaMed, TEDCO, NIH and the NSF.
The sessions I sat in on were remarkable. One company is trying to find a cure or treatment for a very rare genetic disorder, San Filippo Syndrome, where children do not survive past childhood or teen years, depending on the type of mutation they have. The two founders are incredibly dedicated and devoted to this cause. One of them has a son with this disorder. NIH funding has gotten them considerably far. But as those who are familiar with drug development know, the costs are enormous. They needed insights on funding options to continue in the development and clinical testing of their product candidates. The guidance we gave to them was to talk to pharma, Capitol Hill, and foundations, to look at other global health systems like Canada, and consider an open-ended IND that would allow them to treat patients without the enormous PIII/NDA costs. Basically, a fully-pronged, “leave no stone unturned” approach.
As I reflected on the sessions yesterday morning, I thought how similar that approach is to how all motivated, accomplished teams must approach their challenges. Explore every avenue and build as many “high net-worth” relationships with potential as possible.
In medical affairs this is exceptionally true. As the bridge between R&D and commercial, medical affairs teams MUST build many high-net worth relationships and deploy them across many channels. The strongest medical affairs teams I have partnered with did not just work with KOLs for publications. They collaborated with their KOLs in many ways – publication plans, presenting data, congress planning, medical education, fellow education, and investigator-sponsored trials. Many times, in discussing a particular tactic or project with a KOL, other creative and interesting opportunities to communicate the science arose.
Only with such a well-rounded approach, a team is unable to uncover additional “high net worth” opportunities. Simply put, as an example: educate the HCP, build a relationship, ask him or her to educate others, he or she may have other interesting relationships and may be interested in research programs, and so on. It’s a beautiful cycle.
The beauty and art of success in whatever challenge one has – whether it is looking for funding, a partner, employees, communicating scientific data – is that it is just as much about relationship-building and communication as it is about intelligence and intellect.
It’s an art just as much as it is a science.