An increasing number of start-up companies are setting out to seize the attractive business opportunities offered by pharmaceutical research and biotechnology in particular. Yet, the road to success is long, expensive and highly uncertain. The case takes a look at the development and strategies of AC Immune SA, a biotech start-up performing research into Alzheimer’s cures. Following a successful B-financing round, the company’s management identified three strategic tasks to take the venture further: (1) Master the transition from a research to a development organization, given the existing resource constraints. (2) Build a value-optimized product portfolio while keeping options open. (3) Adjust partner or licensing strategies to the latest financial situation to allow for maximum value creation.While discussing the case and how best to tackle the three identified challenges, students will specifically learn about the success factors of leading a small venture through the stormy and uncertain terrain outlined in the case.
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