Great data in the lab can’t impact human health if it stays in the lab. Sure, interesting technologies are sometimes licensed by companies – major pharma or start-up – that will continue their development. But in Houston, that doesn’t happen as often as it should. Of course, you can form a company yourself and license it in. But to really start a company, you’d need to raise money from individual investors, hire a management team and balance that with your day job (the one you love and ideally want to stay in).
Fannin gives you another option. We co-found the company with you. If the technology really is promising (with some third-party validation), we’ll do the work of setting up the company, licensing in the technology and working with you to design the next phase of development. At the beginning phases, we work for equity, so that the seed money that we put in when the company is started all goes for third-party expenses to advance development. We’ll assign a senior Fannin manager to be responsible for the program, supported by in-house professionals, fellows and interns who will handle much of the day-to-day work. Because we manage many companies on a pooled basis, you won’t get all of our attention 100% of the time – but you will get 100% of our attention when it matters, and we’ve found that this approach works particularly well in life science product development.
Given the substantial time it takes most products to reach points of significant value enhancement, we try to use early “seed” dollars sparingly and seek out non-dilutive grants and other funding sources to make the early equity go farther. We will not use the seed dollars we provide to fund basic research in your lab. But we will work with you to go after grants, which we have a great record of doing successfully. At some point in time, however, it may make sense to ramp up the effort – by building out the management team and seeking substantial institutional venture capital funding to accelerate development, but this is the exception and not the rule. More often, we reach out and identify strategic industry partners and we try to involve them in the development program.
We think the Fannin model for early-stage medical technology development fits well in Houston. If you’d like to discuss your ideas further, please let us know by emailing Atul Varadhachary at firstname.lastname@example.org