Good Boards, Bad Boards and Why They Matter
This article was originally published in Start Up
What distinguishes an effective board of directors of an early-stage biotech company? The ability to walk a very fine line between constructive engagement and outright control. Good boards: small, focused, with an independent, mentoring chairman.
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VC-backed start-ups may need to think and act differently, perhaps more judiciously, about effective governance than more established firms. The stakes for start-ups are higher and the environment for failure is less forgiving than for established enterprises. In addition to their oversight role, directors at start-ups should be considered strategic assets. Developing a relation-based model built on a board/CEO partnership can increase the odds for success.
Is there an explanation for the recent spate of biotech Phase II and Phase III clinical trial failures? It's almost impossible to give general reasons for specific clinical failures. Several hypotheses, borrowed from the tenets of behavioral finance, however, may help explain some recent, unanticipated later-stage setbacks. They may also support other studies that suggest that small biotech companies fail more often in clinical development than their larger biotech and pharma brethren.