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Actelion: A Model for European Biotech

Executive Summary

Actelion reached profitability in record time by focusing from the start on the development and commercial end of the business. It in-licensed an unusually late-stage pipeline made up of compounds its founders helped develop, and built its own global sales and marketing infrastructure to maximize the value of its projects. Now Actelion plans to leverage growing profits to go back and nurture earlier stage research-a top-down biotech-building model that may prove inspirational to others.

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An analysis of a group of Big Pharma and big biotech spin-outs, which tend to raise more private money than their build-from-scratch bretheren, shows that while these firms are certainly heftier--and often considered better equiped to succeed in the public markets--their pre-money step-ups are in the end, nothing special.

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