If it takes a lot of words to say what you have in mind, give it
– Dennis Roth
I also met the Novel Imaging team while coaching the teams who were
participating in Washington University’s Olin Cup business plan
competition. When I first heard Novel Imaging’s elevator pitch,
it started out like this...
Novel Imaging is an early stage company
dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialization of
radiotracers and radioligands for applications in Single Photon Emission
Computed Tomography (SPECT) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
Near term commercialization focuses on the
radioactive isotope Copper-64 (64Cu) for applications in PET Imaging
and therapy and targeted tumor imaging of sigma-2 receptors by way of
proprietary ligands. The first ligand would be a sigma-2 receptor ligand
labeled with Tc-99m for breast, lung and head & neck tumors.
Longer-term efforts for sigma-2 receptor ligands will focus on measuring
the proliferative status (growth and spread) of tumor cells.
The company will be led by Michael Bronowicz,
an individual with 9 years of management experience in Nuclear Medicine.
Mr. Bronowicz managed the global Nuclear Medicine business unit at
Mallinckrodt Medical. The business unit achieved M$300 in sales revenue
under his leadership. Inventors of the technologies, Dr. Michael Welch
and Dr. Robert Mach will support management as scientific advisors to
the company. Michael J. Welch, Ph.D., is an internationally known
researcher and leader in the field of nuclear medicine. He is Director
of the Division of Radiation Sciences at Mallinckrodt Institute of
Radiology (MIR). His research in the field of P.E.T. imaging has led
to a number of patents related to radioisotope manufacturing, target
preparation and ligand design. Robert H. Mach, Ph.D., is Director of
the P.E.T. Scan Center at Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology. His
research has focused on the application of radiotracers in both PET
and SPECT imaging studies of tumors.
Novel Imaging’s proprietary technology
platform is based on several inventions. Technology related to Copper-64
and other isotopes is based on a patented method of production of the
isotopes. The availability of isotopes manufactured by this method is
limited currently to one site, MIR. Clinical grade material suitable
for use in preparing radiodiagnostic-imaging agents is currently being
manufactured and shipped to over thirty facilities in the USA. These
customers will soon be supplied by Novel Imaging, which will result
in an immediate revenue stream for the company. Revenues for the first
5 years are expected to be around M$7.0. Sigma-2 expression has been
shown to correlate with cell proliferation (growth and spread) in
tumors. A radiolabeled sigma-2 ligand could be used to image tumors
and predict their response to radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
The technology platform focused on sigma-2 receptors provides novel
radiolabeled sigma-2 ligands for use in the diagnosis of tumors.
Our proprietary compounds are also suitable for noninvasive methods
that may accurately assess the proliferative status of cancer cells
in breast, lung and head & neck tumors. The company is expected
to take this technology into human clinical trials, focused on breast
cancer initially, within 12 months of the commencement of operations.
Advances in MIR, CT, Ultrasound, SPECT and PET equipment design and
enhancements drive competition for tumor imaging. There are also
several radiopharmaceutical agents under development that will require
human clinical trials and FDA approval. Our sigma-2 receptor agent
will be focused initially on the detection of breast tumors in women
with dense tissue, breast implants and scarring as a result of biopsy.
This patient type is not well served by mammography. Both thick breast
tissue and breast cancer tumors appear as white regions on a mammogram
film, which can cause dense breast tissue, implants and scarring to
eclipse the cancer. We expect to penetrate the breast tumor market by
3% resulting in first year sales of M$20.
Novel Imaging has key patents, proprietary
know-how, and licensing agreements under negotiations with Washington
University and Wake Forest University. In addition, Novel Imaging’s
inventors continue to identify development opportunities that define
noninvasive methods that may accurately assess the proliferative status
of cancer cells in breast, lung and head & neck tumors and predict
the response of these types of tumors to radiation therapy and
Novel Imaging is seeking K$200 to commence
operations. First year revenues of K$480 from the sale of Copper-64
will supplement initial funding. Funding will be used for payroll/benefits,
travel, office rent/lease and overhead, legal support and to initiate
toxicology studies for the sigma-2 receptor technology. Funding and
revenues are expected to last 9 months.
Funding for sigma-2 human clinical trials
in the range of M$1.7-2.2 will be required to initiate and complete
trials thru Phase 2 (IND, Phase 1, and Phase 2). In addition, revenues
from copper-64 will be used to supplement company operations.
The company will seek partners for isotope
production and distribution. Interest in the sigma-2 receptor ligand,
as an adjunct to therapy, would be expected to come from major
pharmaceutical companies currently focused on the treatment of
The Novel Imaging management team will
consist of the President/CEO and later in the first year a Chief
Scientific Officer (CSO). A CFO and a laboratory scientist will be
added in the second year. Accounting, legal, regulatory, etc. will
be outsourced. Guidance and support from the two inventors will
insure transfer of technical knowledge and commercialization of the
The company exit strategy would be to
position itself as an acquisition or merger candidate for pharmaceutical
or imaging equipment companies interested in access to technical
expertise in isotope production and ligand design and
The company is currently seeking both
corporate and science advisory board members who can provide
expertise in the financial, medical (focus on cancer) and
strategic planning functions.
There were obviously a number of problems with this version of
the Novel Imaging elevator pitch.
First, at 891 words this version of the Novel Imaging elevator
pitch was much too long. As a result, it took forever to deliver.
Second, this version of the Novel Imaging elevator pitch used
too much jargon. It was absolutely packed with acronyms and
scientific terms that very few Ordinary People could understand.
This limited the number of people who could understand the pitch.
Third, this version of the Novel Imaging elevator pitch was a
perfect example of a worm burner; an elevator pitch that gets too
detailed too quickly. There was too much unnecessary, low-level
detail in this version of the Novel Imaging elevator pitch. In
part, this was because the team seemed to be trying to close the
deal with their elevator pitch rather than just trying to get to
the next conversation.
Finally, this version of the Novel Imaging elevator pitch
didn’t answer the “So what?” question. There
was no discussion of the benefits of all those big, fancy,
technical words. At no point did the Novel Imaging team explain
why the world needed a product that could do what they said it could.
After spending some time talking to the leader of the Novel
Imaging team, we came up with this revised version of their
Novel Imaging is a life sciences
company dedicated to the discovery and development of products
that will enable physicians to detect and treat tumors in their
When it comes to screening for breast
cancer, existing detection systems like mammography have a
difficult time discriminating between cancerous tissue and tissue
that is dense, covered by an implant, or the result of scarring.
As a result, 25% of the mammography exams done each year result
in women being told that they have an abnormality on their
mammography and need to undergo biopsies, ultrasound and other
follow-up tests, only to find that they do not have breast
Novel Imaging has developed a product
that, when injected into the body, attaches itself to the wall
of any cancer cells that are present in breast tissue and will
highlight both the size and location of the cancerous
Mike Bronowicz, President & CEO,
has been involved in the manufacturing, distribution, marketing
and sales of medical products for the past 25 years. The
inventors of our technology, Dr. Michael Welch and Dr. Robert
Mach are located at Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology. Both
scientists are internationally known researchers and leaders
in the field of Nuclear Medicine.
The company is seeking $500,000 to
move to the next phase of operations. Expected revenues of
$480,000 from another product line that the company has
licensed will be combined with initial funding and will be
used for product development.
The revised Novel Imaging elevator pitch did a much better
job of explaining who they were and what they were trying to
First, this version of the Novel Imaging elevator pitch
started off with a short summary sentence, which set the
stage for what followed. It gave the listener a basic sense
of where the rest of the pitch was going, which made it
easier for the audience to follow along.
Second, this version of the Novel Imaging elevator pitch
was very explicit when it came to identifying the problem and
answering the “So what?” question. Where they had
previously spent too much time getting into all of the details
of HOW their Solution worked, in this version of their elevator
pitch they steered clear of issues of HOW and instead focused
on answering the WHAT and WHY questions.
Third, the revised Novel Imaging elevator pitch did a much
better job of highlighting the credibility of the team. Where
before the background of the founders – which was quite
strong – was buried in the middle of the pitch, in this
version it was toward the end of the pitch where it stood out better.
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copyright © 2009 Chris O'Leary and the LIMB Press LLC. It
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institutional use must be approved by Chris O'Leary.