Cambridge Healthtech Institutes organizes well over 100 conferences per year, and in the course of working with speakers as well as conference attendees, we come across hundreds of early stage companies developing promising technologies, therapeutics and diagnostics. Almost without exception, one of the more serious complaints that we hear from these emerging companies is how critical it is for them to form collaborations with others in the field, but how difficult and inefficient the process can be for initiating those discussions. With an eye to addressing those challenges, for both early stage companies as well as those looking to partner with these companies, CHI decided to make a commitment to creating a series of events that would facilitate this process.
A Focus on Early Stage Companies
We have tried to listen to some of the specific concerns of emerging companies. Some early stage companies are reluctant to speak if they think that the audience is expecting to hear about late-stage projects for which extensive data has been generated. CHI partnering events are specifically designed to showcase early stage companies, many of which may be unfamiliar to many in the audience. While the presenting companies may have been involved in some partnering discussions, these are not going to be companies that are seeking partners for old programs that have been picked over by most of the industry.
A Critical Mass of Companies in the Same Field
CHI’s goal is not to develop a single partnering event that is open to a widely diverse line-up of presenting emerging companies. This is because we believe that it is important to have companies aligned with a more narrow range of related topics, both for the presenting companies and those in the audience who are seeking potential collaborations.
Each event will be designed to cover one set of related topics, and will be paired with an existing CHI event that already attracts a critical mass of attendees for that topic.
Competitive Selection of Presenting Companies
Companies are selected to present at CHI Partnering Forums on the basis of competitive evaluation of proposals that are submitted. We are looking for novelty and promise of approach, as well as evidence of potential for commercial success. We assemble a strong Program Advisory Board, distinct for each Partnering Forum, both to help us evaluate and select the most promising proposals that are submitted, as well as to help us expand the pool of companies being considered.