President & CEO at La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company (NASDAQ listed)
About Deirdre Gillespie
Experienced executive Dr. Deirdre Gillespie has enjoyed many professional successes since embarking on her career. After becoming associate medical director and then medical director for Sandoz Pharmaceuticals (now Novartis), Dr. Gillespie assumed the position of director of European marketing for DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Company; there, because of her hard work and knowledge of the life sciences, she attained promotions to director of the worldwide marketing planning group, vice president of strategic product development, and vice president of marketing. In this latter role, Dr. Deirdre Gillespie focused her efforts on growing global sales of a drug aimed at addressing alcohol dependency.
After her tenure with DuPont Merck, Dr. Deirdre Gillespie joined Vical, Inc., as the chief business officer and executive vice president. In addition to working closely with the CEO to raise nearly $120 million for the firm, she held oversight for one of the most promising products for treating metastatic melanoma and remained active in her profession by editing her peers' work and speaking at meetings of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Most recently, she ran La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company, where she closed a phase III program for the systemic lupus erythematosus drug Riquent.
Three Tips for Raising Biotech Start-up Funding
Deirdre Gillespie, M.D., presently serves as CEO of Invigor Consulting, which she founded in 2013. At Invigor Consulting, Dr. Deirdre Gillespie leverages more than 25 years of experience in managing business and clinical development at biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms toward helping her clients achieve growth. Among the services she offers as a consultant, Dr. Gillespie assists companies in all stages of development to acquire capital.
The months of September through November serve as some of the busiest fundraising months of the year for start-ups in all industries, including biotechnology. As biotech companies prepare for this year’s critical fundraising period, they should keep a few items in mind, such as:
1. Focus on selling the science. Too many biotech start-up pitches emphasize the devastating effects of illnesses like cancer or Alzheimer’s. However, to most audience members, this is not new information. Instead, biotechs should center their pitches on selling their science, along with supporting data, and its potential for producing real impacts on patients.
2. Find the right balance for your team. Do not hire only experienced industry veterans or young professionals. Hire both. Focus on recruiting quality talent and on making sure your team possesses some deep experience and some youthful enthusiasm.
3. Work with a partner willing to make introductions. Do not bother with cold calling venture capital firms. Instead, try reaching out to venture capital firms’ portfolio businesses. Be creative and find inventive solutions to making real connections.