Xontogeny’s Biotech Entrepreneur Webinar Series

Title:  Xconomy Insight & Xontogeny present: Starting a Biotech Company: Where to Begin

Day/Date/Time: Wednesday, March 7, 1:00 – 2:00 pm EST

Description: Launching a biotech company is a daunting task. It takes conviction, passion, and an idea or technology that offers a clear path from science to a valuable asset that will attract investors. So how do you know if you have a great idea? Once you have formulated a narrative around the concept, where and how do you begin to create a company? What are the key steps to take – and the potential mistakes that you need to avoid? What are the tradeoffs in creating a virtual company with a lean staff versus a broader team to support the organizational needs?

This webinar will draw on years of experience from legal, seed investors, and tech transfer experts to explore these questions. These panelists will discuss the best kind of structure for the company, where (and how) to begin looking for financial support, and how you can build a solid foundation for your biotech company. The webinar is designed to provide the basic knowledge and guidance that will give your nascent company the best chances for success.

Link to Registration:  https://event.on24.com/wcc/r/1589149/FF4262C8797CFF8267F5EFD1B8141CF4?partnerref=Xontogeny1

Taming the Trolls: Tips for Social Media Engagement

Social media can be a useful tool for a life science company – everything from raising the company profile and connecting with advocacy groups, to offering another channel for disseminating news and updates. However, social media can also be a forum for naysayers to spread rumors, speculation and inaccurate interpretations.

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With LaVoieHealthScience’s expertise in the management of life science IR, PR and social platforms, here are four tactics to tame the social trolls.

1) Be Disciplined. The first rule is do not engage. A disparaging comment may be difficult to ignore, especially if assumptions are incorrect or quoted data is inaccurate. However, getting into a social media debate is unnecessary, unprofessional and rarely works out for the company in question. Take the high road. You may address the issue, but not the person.

2) Kill Them with Science. There is no such thing as perfect data. This, of course leaves room for speculation. In these situations, simply reiterate the facts and science that got you where you are in the first place. Is your data positive? Did the FDA review your trial design? Is there precedence for your endpoints? Were the side-effects tolerable? Another way to deflate speculation is to acknowledge any inconclusive outcomes, followed by the facts and data that lead to the path forward.

3) A Little Help from your Friends. If an item has a substantial impact on share price, you might want to call in the big guns, the covering analysts. Chances are they have already read the piece and have been receiving investor inquiries. A rebuttal from analysts will reach your institutional shareholders and can go a long way in refuting the inaccurate interpretation.

4) Be Consistent. Having an active social platform can convey the perception of “business as usual.” Don’t let negative messaging derail the flow of news, advocacy and education. Reiterate facts, science, indication and support.

We would be more than happy to discuss your company’s needs for life science strategic communications.

LaVoieHealthScience to Begin Working with Life Sciences Corridor

LaVoieHealthScience to Begin Working with Life Sciences Corridor


Competitive Contract Recognized LHS’ Health and Science Connectedness


Boston, MA – January 16, 2018 —  LaVoieHealthScience (LHS), an integrated investor and public relations agency focused on advancing health and science innovations, today announced engagement with the Life Sciences Corridor, a partnership among five Greater Boston cities including Boston, Braintree, Cambridge, Quincy and Somerville. LHS will leverage content and optimize social media channels on behalf of Life Sciences Corridor to ensure visibility for the Corridor’s unique offering of talent, facilities and connections for life science companies.

The Life Sciences Corridor is an initiative launched by the mayors of the five Greater Boston communities to promote the robust life sciences sector along the MBTA red line. Nicknamed “the brain train,” the cluster represents more than 460 companies within the life science industry sector. With the goal of attracting business from outside the region as well as retaining businesses within the region, the Corridor also promotes cross collaboration among universities, institutions and businesses.

“As contributors to the health and life science ecosystem in the Greater Boston Area, LHS welcomes the opportunity to work with an initiative whose mission includes helping companies understand the advantages and offerings of companies in the Corridor,” said Donna L. LaVoie, President and CEO of LaVoieHealthScience. “We have been aligned with leaders in the life science sector since its infancy more than 15 years ago and we look forward to connecting with the various companies and helping grow this already flourishing industry.”

“For years, Cambridge has been planning for new major economic development opportunities, including the Volpe Center and Cambridge Crossing projects, and we are looking forward to continuing our collaboration with Boston, Quincy, Somerville, and Braintree to support the life sciences industry in Massachusetts,” said Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. “The partnership between the five cities of the Life Sciences Corridor is helping transform the regional economy by bolstering support for hundreds of life sciences companies.”

“Boston is home to a growing network of businesses, entrepreneurs, researchers, employees, and job seekers actively contributing to life saving technologies and innovation within the region’s life sciences cluster,” said John Barros, Chief of Economic Development in the City of Boston. “By collaborating with our neighboring cities, all connected by the Red Line of our transit system, we are leveraging shared resources to further position the Boston region as a global leader for the life sciences industry.”

“For anyone outside of Massachusetts seeking to grow their business, the Boston region has always been defined broadly, and this partnership will embrace that,” said Braintree Mayor Sullivan.

“It’s an opportunity that benefits everyone involved,” said Quincy Mayor Koch. “This partnership will capture the immediate impacts on business development and institutional growth.”

“It’s great to see these five cities working with a local agency that specializes in the life science field,” said Somerville Mayor Curtatone. “They understand not only the local ecosystem, but also how to target outside, national audiences to drive growth.”

About LaVoieHealthScience

LaVoieHealthScience partners with leading health and science brands to build value for their companies, attract capital and reach key stakeholders through integrated communications and marketing. The firm provides strategic communications, investor relations and public relations to build recognition and increase sales and value for health science innovations. The agency has received 29 awards over the past seven years in recognition of the work it has done for its health and science industry-leading clients, and is ranked among the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies for the fourth year. LaVoieHealthScience represents other life science leaders such as Ampio Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Fusion Pharmaceuticals, Iota BioSciences, Landos Biopharma, LEO Science Hub, NewLink Genetics, Newron Pharmaceuticals, Oncocyte, Origenis, Savara, Xontogeny LLC and other emerging health and science companies. Follow LHS on Twitter at @LaVoieGroup.

Media Contact:
Beth Kurth
Vice President, Investor Relations
617-374-8800 x106


How to Channel Video Success

LaVoieHealthScience: How to Channel Video Success

Lights, camera, video! More and more life science companies are offering videos because video allows viewers to literally see what your company is all about. Strategic communications for health and life science innovators means having a message that is both differentiated and approachable. This is true across collateral – website copy, press releases, Fact Sheets, etc.; and also across media – written, spoken and visual. As such, a video allows for easy access and engrossing delivery.

Creating a biotech public relations video may seem daunting, but with a few basics in hand you’re well on your way.

1. Lighting Matters, But Background Matters More

Lighting is important, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. Beginner videographers need to pay more attention to the background. Is there a messy desk in the frame? What about that window in the background? Video favors a spare setting, and windows often cause people and objects to reflect off the glass, making for an awkward video.

2. Smartphones are Fine for Starters

Something as simple as a smartphone will work for a classic home-video look. If you want to upgrade your audience’s viewing experience, you’ll need to upgrade to a real video camera. Of course, the person behind the camera should have steady hands, or plan to use a tripod.

3. The Buzz You Don’t Want

When reviewing your video, you may notice a light buzzing noise in the background, also called white noise. Whether it’s wind blowing into the microphone or too much background noise, bad audio can ruin a good video. If your camera has a headphone jack, plug in and do some sound checks. Make sure you can clearly hear what you want your audience to hear, and film in a quiet space to ease the intensity of white noise.

4. Keep it Short

People want to watch videos, but they have short attention spans. Your video must start strong to keep your audience from skipping to the next item on their ‘to do’ list.

5. Edit to Your Audience

If you’re shooting a one-take video, be prepared to shoot more than one time until you get it right. If you’re not shooting in one take, allow sufficient time for editing. Think carefully about the audience – who are you trying to attract, what is message you want them to remember? Rarely will someone watch a 5-minute plus video all the way through if they don’t know what it’s about. Keep it short precise to the message you’re trying to get across.

6. Upload and distribute through social networks

Once you’re satisfied with your piece, export the video and upload it onto YouTube. You can’t expect the world to fall in love with your video if you just let it sit there; so, tweet out the link to all your Twitter followers, post the video on your Facebook page, and email it out to anyone who you know would be interested (no spamming!).

Videos are a guarantee that through social media distribution, people beyond your current base will hear about your business and actually see what your company is all about. Plus, your audience will appreciate you switching things up (and, hopefully, entertaining them!). Once you understand a few basics, you can produce a great-looking video on your own.

Top Ten Tips to Optimize #JPM18

Top Ten Tips to Optimize #JPM18

Check out the tips below and for even more information, check out Big3Bio’s Guide to JPM Week.

1)   The time is now.  It’s not too early to start outreach to those with whom you want to meet, and it’s never too late to stop. While some will fill their calendars early, others know to leave some slots for late-breaking requests (see tip 10)

2)    Extend your Reach.  Target 20% new names.  Not sure how you’ll find them?  Use the resources of a third party, be it a high-tech platform or a high-touch agency.

3)    Refresh your pitch. Some things never change, but others should. Make sure your message and positioning clearly articulate your current vision and opportunity. Need help? Refer to LHS Immersion™.

4)    Divide and conquer.  Don’t do every meeting with every co-worker. Branch off to different meetings and events to ensure full value for your time in San Francisco.

5)      Disconnect and conquer.   Try turning off your phone.  Really.  This will force you to focus on the people in front of you.

6)    Know Your Audience.   It’s tempting to tell your audience everything you possibly can about your product, platform or service. Don’t.  Fifteen slides are plenty.  Check out The LHS Fifteen-Slide Presentation™ for insight.

7)    Don’t go too green.  It’s easy to forego hard copy collateral however a hand-out can support the real-time conversation, while ensuring an imprint beyond the meeting itself.  Paper or pixels?  Both please.

8)    Consider an Infographic. Pictures are really worth 1,000 words, so there is no need to overwhelm your counterparty with text. Use infographics to depict your companies story in a creative and informative manner.

9)    Have (most of) a plan. Things get changed and rescheduled quickly in San Francisco; leave some holes in your calendar for impromptu meetings and on-the-spot networking. You may miss an at-hand opportunity if your scheduled is overbooked.

10)   Follow up.  Schedule time after you’re back in the office to follow up with the contacts you made in San Francisco.  Nothing is easier than getting jammed back into your day-to-day work; ensure you’ve penciled in time to debrief.

First-time attendee or long-time alum, at LaVoieHealthScience we help our clients optimize business opportunities.  Click, call or email to learn more.   crusso@lavoiehealthscience.com


LaVoieHealthScience Continues to Add to Public Company Client Roster

LaVoieHealthScience Continues to Add to Public Company Client Roster

Integrity Applications and Savara Pharmaceuticals Join LHS Portfolio of PR/IR Clients

Boston, MA – November 9, 2017 — LaVoieHealthScience (LHS), an integrated investor and public relations agency focused on advancing health and science innovations, today announced two additional public company clients, Integrity Applications and Savara Pharmaceuticals. These clients join a prestigious group of innovative health and science companies that are represented by LHS for their investor and/or public relations solutions.

Integrity Applications (OTCMKTS: IGAP), founded in 2001 and is focused on the design, development, and commercialization of non-invasive glucose monitoring technologies for people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. The company has developed GlucoTrack®, a proprietary non-invasive glucose monitoring device designed to obtain glucose level measurements in about a minute without the pain, incremental cost, difficulty, or discomfort of conventional invasive finger stick devices.

Savara Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SVRA), went public through a reverse merger with Mast Therapeutics in 2017. Based in West Lake Hills, TX, Savara is an emerging pharmaceutical development company focused on advancing a pipeline of novel inhalation therapies for the treatment of patients with rare pulmonary conditions. Savara has three investigational products in various stages of clinical development: Molgradex, the first inhaled product being developed for the treatment of patients with Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis and Nontuberculous Mycobacterial (NTM) Lung Infection; AeroVanc, an inhaled dry powder form of vancomycin to treat Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) lung infection in cystic fibrosis patients; and Aironite, which is inhaled via nebulizer to treat heart failure patients with preserved ejection fraction. Savara has an affiliate company based in Hørsholm, Denmark.

“Our integrated public and investor relations offerings, building on our team’s expertise is validated by these new client wins,” said Donna L. LaVoie, President & CEO of LaVoieHealthScience. “Each client has very specific business objectives in which our industry-tested strategic communications programs are being implemented. Aligning with true innovators in the health and science field is our passion.”

About LaVoieHealthScience
LaVoieHealthScience partners with leading health and science brands to build value for their companies, attract capital and reach key stakeholders through integrated communications and marketing. The firm provides strategic communications, investor relations and public relations to build recognition and increase sales and value for health science innovations. The agency has received 29 awards over the past seven years in recognition of the work it has done for its health and science industry-leading clients, and is ranked among the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies for the fourth year. In addition to clients listed above, LaVoieHealthScience represents leaders such as Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Fusion Pharmaceuticals, Iota BioSciences, Landos Biopharma, LEO Science Hub, NewLink Genetics, Newron Pharmaceuticals, Origenis, Xontogeny LLC and other emerging health and science companies.


Media Contact:
Ryan Donovan
617-374-8800 x102

Multi-Party Communications

Multi-Party Communications: Four Keys for Success

As life science companies continue the trend toward partnerships, communications challenges can multiply.  Partnerships help companies to enter new markets, continue niche research and introduce innovations sooner. But even though they are joining forces, each company will have a unique, and sometimes competing, set of communications and business goals.

While it’s easy to default to the needs of the larger company, strategic communications entails finding ways to balance the needs of all parties.  A solid communications strategy conveys a clear and consistent message to stakeholders of all companies in the partnership, and also paves the way for patients, advocacy groups, media and investors to learn more.

The following are four key issues to consider for multi-party communications:

  • Audience Identification: Ensure that both companies clearly establish the key stakeholders for their news, as well as the appropriate digital, print and broadcast media.
  • Consistent Messaging: While the key messages should be tailored to each company’s audience, the underlying theme must be determined up-front and in conjunction with both parties, to ensure there are no surprises in how each are represented to various stakeholder audiences.
  • Internal Communications: Coordinating among internal parties is key.  The science, strategy and financials must be in internal alignment.  Therefore the process for developing expectations and timelines goes a long way toward ensuring a smooth liftoff.
  • External/Social Media Communications: Develop specialized pitches whenever possible. While based on similar underlying message, the outreach should be tailorable to the varying kinds of media outlets each company seeks to attract.  Identify and train key spokespeople in advance so they are at-the-ready for media outreach.  Consider videos and/or podcasts that may be uploaded to social media, and monitor discussion across both companies’ social channels.

The idea of coordinating communications between partners can be daunting.  But with the right preparation and forethought, it can be an exciting time for a strategic communications program to cultivate trust with each company, and deliver results that meet the needs of all parties.

An in-depth version of this article was featured in O’Dwyer’s October 2017 Healthcare & Medical PR Magazine.

ABCs of 13F Filings

Adding, Balancing and Comparing Insights

As we near 45 days post quarter-end, it’s time to prepare for 13F filings, the stock ownership reports filed by institutional investors. While it is easy enough to access 13F data, the challenge is how to add value by combining market intelligence, company insight and competitor understanding into your 13F analyses. Here are our ABCs for adding, balancing and comparing 13F insights.

Add insight gleaned from market intelligence activities

One of the keys to adding value with market intelligence is to ensure you’ve been capturing investor interactions throughout the quarter.  These notes, ideally one or two sentences about the investor and three to five bullets on topics that were covered, can then be tied to changes in ownership. Perhaps someone with whom you met in January is now initiating a position in the September 13F filing period. Or a position is being trimmed and from the investor database you see the portfolio manager has moved to another firm.  Tying on-the-ground insights with on-line data provides important nuances that add value to the company’s future investor relations activities.

Balance news events

The reasons underlying every investment vary – with decisions driven by a blend of quantitative financial performance and investment thesis, and qualitative announcements and news.  Make sure you pull all the releases from the past quarter and conduct a thorough, unbiased assessment on the impact of these announcements on the investment community.  Understand investors’ perception on the company’s recent news and you’ll have a better idea about what’s happening behind the numbers.

Compare competitive position changes

There are hidden gems in every corner of the 13 filings.  This includes buying and selling of your peer companies’ stock.  Perhaps a shareholder has trimmed a position in your company, and has also trimmed positions in your peers.  Or conversely, has a shareholder trimmed a position in your company but doubled down on a peer?  This type of comparative analysis allows for a 360° view of stock ownership and can be used to target the next generation of shareholder as new investors of competitor companies can be added to your target outreach list.

In sum, by adding insights, balancing news events and comparing peer’s positions, 13F data can move beyond a simple ownership review with added value for ongoing IR activities.

Coordinating Messages When Companies Join Forces

Click the image to read more.

By Donna LaVoie

Life science companies, including big and small pharma, biotech and health technology, continue the trend toward partnerships to research, develop and/or commercialize their innovations, allowing companies to enter new markets, continue niche disease research and development and introduce innovations sooner. Adding to the mix are accelerators and venture firms launching new companies into the health science and technology ecosystem.

Even though they are joining forces, and likely have the same end-goal, each of these companies will have a unique, and sometimes competing, set of communications and business goals. They also may have different priorities on stakeholder mix. While it’s easy to default to the needs of the larger company, strategic communications entails finding ways to balance the needs of all parties in the transaction.

Read more at O’Dwyer’s.

Nothing Succeeds Like… Moderation?

Five Fundamentals on Moderating a Panel

Speaking gigs are a true sign of success. You have been recognized as a key opinion leader in your field and you have been asked to share your knowledge and insight. But what about moderating a panel? This too is an acknowledgement of industry leadership. As such, it is a role for which you should be well prepared to ensure the audience benefits from the combined expertise and experience of the moderator and the panelists. Here are 5 fundamentals for moderating excellence.

Know your panelists: Know your panelists individually and as a group. Don’t just scan through their LinkedIn page – understand what their company does, what their job entails and past experience in the field. Conduct an introductory call with the panelists to pressure test topics and ensure there is a good mix of opinions and insights.

Don’t ask the same question of each panelist: The audience does not want to sit through panelists regurgitating information about the same question. Use your research to help generate questions for specific panelists. Some panelists will have drug development expertise and others will have insights into commercialization. Some will be in markets or indications that overlap, and others will not. Target these overlaps and differences to optimize the questions you ask.

Be an active listener: Take notes. Revisit the most important topics that created great conversation and debate. As a moderator, you can bring another perspective by using a third-party reference. For example, “That’s an interesting point Speaker B just made. However, there’s another school of thought that was covered recently in the media. Speaker A, can you comment?” Of course, as an active listener you can also reinforce a point. “That’s an interesting point Speaker B just made and one that was covered recently in the media. Speaker A, can you comment?” Active listening allows you to engage the audience by challenging some points of view and reinforcing others.

Be a mindful timekeeper: Timekeeping is an important task for the moderator. It is your role to lead an engaging conversation within a pre-specified amount of time. Make sure to save some time at the end for audience questions, but not so much that the onus is on them to keep the session going. And don’t hold the audience hostage beyond the allotted time. Your role is to alert the panelists and the audience as the clock winds down. Be prepared to say, “We have time for one more question.”

Have a closing statement: Having alerted the room that the session is coming to an end, make sure you’ve saved a few minutes for closing remarks. Use the notes that you have taken throughout to leave the audience with 3 – 5 takeaways from the panel discussion. A strong close will ensure the audience leaves with an appreciation for the knowledge and expertise not only of the panelists, but also the moderator.