Below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about our unique program. If you don’t see the answer to your question, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
PharmStars is a global accelerator for digital health startups seeking pharma (including biotech) clients or partners. Our program offers tailored education and personalized mentoring to startups with the aim of achieving greater success when engaging with pharma. Our pharma members enjoy priority access to our select group of promising, groomed digital health startups that align with their digital health strategies.
Startups apply online to participate in a cohort focused around a theme of interest to our pharma members. Ten startups are selected participate in PharmaUTM, our 10-week educational and mentoring program that culminates with a private, members-only Showcase Event. Our groomed startups present their refined pitches to pharma members and may have one-on-one meetings with members at the Showcase Event.
The PharmStars curriculum is currently focused on US-based pharma companies. Participating startups, however, can be based anywhere.
PharmaU is PharmStars’ educational program, developed and led by the PharmStars team. PharmaU consists of three parts:
1) a structured, comprehensive curriculum to teach startups what they need to know about pharma;
2) individualized coaching and mentoring for startups on how to successfully engage pharma; and
3) a series of workshops and seminars for pharma members, known as “Executive Ed,” on how to implement digital health programs and partnerships.
Our classes are interactive and focus on the most important pharma industry topics, including: pharma’s internal structure and functions, pharma business models, regulatory drivers, pharma-startup deal structures, and current industry trends. The curriculum is taught by PharmStars' expert faculty and occasional external speakers. There is ample opportunity for peer-to-peer sharing and discussion. Our curriculum is both educational and fun.
The Spring 2022 PharmaU program will begin with a mandatory, in-person launch event on March 21 and 22. This live event provides an opportunity for participants to meet the PharmStars team, their cohort peers, and to learn important details about the program. We will dive into the PharmaU curriculum and mentoring at this meeting as well.
The launch event will begin at 3 p.m. ET on March 21 and conclude by 5 p.m. ET on March 22. The event will be held in Boston, MA. Applicants should reserve time on their calendar to accommodate both travel and meeting times. Information on nearby accommodations will be shared with the applicants accepted into the cohort.
PharmStars requires in-person attendance at both the launch event and the Showcase Event. Exceptions will be made only in special circumstances such as illness, travel restrictions associated with Covid-19, or other forces of nature.
Classes and optional workshops will be held virtually on Mondays and Thursdays 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET weekly from March 28 to May 26, 2022.
Classes are 2-4 hours per week which includes hearing our pharma champions talk about their companies’ needs in our exclusive pharma member panels and fireside chats. Some activities and workshops are optional.
Startups will select mutually agreeable meeting times with the PharmStars staff for mentoring sessions. We expect each startup will have at least three meetings over the course of the program.
PharmaU classes and mentoring will be held virtually. Startups based anywhere in the world can participate.
Each participating startup is expected to send two representatives from their senior leadership to PharmaU. These representatives must have decision-making authority to represent the startup when engaging in conversations with prospective pharma clients. Ideally, the representatives should be the startup’s CEO and another senior leader. To gain the full value from our accelerator, representatives are expected to participate in the entire 10-week program, attending classes and mentoring meetings.
We have an extensive curriculum that builds on itself. Because our curriculum is cumulative, startup representatives are expected to attend all PharmaU classes.
Participants are expected to make every effort to attend all classes. Since there will be two representatives from each startup, we expect you to coordinate with your company’s other representative to catch up if you miss any material. Under special circumstances, classes may be recorded and made available.
Our expert PharmStars staff (not an ad hoc mentor network) provides each startup with individualized guidance on enhancing their business case and preparing to engage with pharma. Mentoring will cover defining value proposition and business models, successful pitch preparation, personalized deal structures, and more.
Each cohort culminates with the private Showcase Event. All startups will pitch to an audience of PharmStars pharma members. Private, one-on-one meetings between startups and pharma members will occur at the Showcase Event. It is a unique and powerful way to turbo charge business development opportunities.
The Showcase Event will be live provided there is no public health emergency that precludes a meeting of this kind. A virtual option may be made available if a startup is prohibited from travel for some reason.
The Showcase Event will be followed by a four-week promotional “blackout” period. During this time, startups and pharma members will have the unique opportunity to meet and negotiate with each other. Startups, pharma members, and PharmStars will refrain from using social media or other methods to publicize the identities of the participating startups from the beginning of the program until the blackout period is over.
We are accepting digital health startups that want to engage pharma as clients or partners, would benefit from priority access to our pharma members, and recognize the importance of an enhanced understanding of pharma. Digital health startups that are interested in receiving coaching to create clearer value propositions and better pitches to engage pharma are ideal candidates.
Startups eligible for the program should have a prototype or product developed which they are ready to offer to pharma.
That is great! If you want more pharma clients, PharmStars can turbo charge your startup’s pharma business development activities. PharmStars provides the unique opportunity to pitch and meet with our pharma members at our Showcase Event. Our startups and members have both reported that their first meetings with each other have been much more successful than other traditional first meetings. Furthermore, PharmaU will help you better understand how pharma works and how to be a better partner.
This PharmStars’ cohort will focus on startups with digital innovations for neurological disease that improve any aspects of neurological disease management including the patient journey, drug development, and caregiver burden. This theme spans multiple neurological conditions (including but not limited to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, pain, depression, etc.) and presents many opportunities including:
We will choose digital health startups to join the accelerator based on:
Startups that participate in PharmStars can benefit in numerous ways. Through PharmaU, participants will learn about the pharma ecosystem and how to successfully navigate pharma organizations. Startups will also receive personalized mentoring to assist them in preparing and articulating a value proposition that resonates with pharma. Startups will meet our pharma members during the Showcase Event and may be invited to one-on-one meetings with them. Startups will also have the opportunity to be part of a community with other pharma-focused startups.
Startups will gain tremendous insight into the functioning of pharma companies over the course of PharmaU, which may influence their plans for how to best engage pharma. As a result of personalized mentoring, startups may pivot their business model and/or value proposition. Startups get only one chance to make a good first impression with pharma. It is in the best interest of participating startups to wait to initiate any new contacts with pharma until they have completed the accelerator. Startups enrolled in PharmStars are discouraged from seeking new pharma business engagements from the time of acceptance into PharmStars until the conclusion of the blackout period (four weeks after the Showcase Event).
In the Spring of 2022, there will be a cohort of 10 startups that will participate in our 10-week PharmaU program. In the Fall of 2022, there will be a second cohort of 10 startups with a new theme.
The application for the program is available under the “Apply” tab. Applications will be accepted from January 3 to February 4, 2022.
Yes, you must be at least 18 years old to participate in PharmStars.
There is a no fee to apply. Startups accepted into the first cohort will pay a fee of $ 2,500, which is a small fraction of the actual cost and value of the program.
Yes, while PharmStars can be of tremendous assistance to startups with no experience engaging with pharma, startups that have had some measure of success engaging pharma as customers have also found the program to be extremely valuable. The opportunity to pitch and meet with our members will accelerate any startup’s pharma pipeline.
Yes. Accelerators have different focuses and offer different benefits. PharmStars is the only accelerator for digital health startups focused on understanding the pharma industry and learning how pharma “thinks.” Our expert staff has extensive pharma experience and will assist startups in refining their value proposition and crafting a pitch that resonates with pharma.
Acceptances will be communicated by email on or around March 8, 2022. Startups must respond within 3 days to accept or decline the opportunity to join PharmStars. If no response is received within 3 days, the invitation will be extended to another applicant.
Yes. If an applicant is not selected, the startup may apply for future cohorts. In addition, as part of the application process, a startup may indicate whether it would like us to keep its application on file for consideration during future application cycles.
Yes, the application needs to be completed online in one sitting. Sorry! However, we recommend downloading a copy of the application from the application tab of this website, working on the application offline, and then pasting your answers into the application.
Each pharma member designates a champion to liaise between their firm and PharmStars' startups, including at the Showcase Event. The champions are director-level or higher with strong internal relationships, demonstrated interest and comfort in working with startups, and familiarity with their firm’s digital health needs and strategy.
Yes, our pharma members have input into the selection of our cohort themes.
No, members are not involved in selection. In fact, participating startups’ identities will be kept confidential from members until the startups have finished PharmaU and are fully ready to engage. Members will meet startups at the Showcase Event.
The “Executive Ed” portion of PharmaU provides optional, proprietary educational seminars and workshops on key topics for our pharma member liaisons.
No, PharmStars does not take any equity from startups nor do we take a percent of any deals that are done.
No, PharmStars will not be involved in the negotiations between members and startups. Our role is to select, educate, and prepare startups to have constructive conversations with pharma. The rest is up to each startup.
No, startups are required to keep PharmaU curriculum and materials confidential.
Startups must keep their selection and participation in PharmStars confidential throughout the program until the conclusion of the blackout period, which ends four weeks after the Showcase Event. Exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis for fundraising purposes. Once the blackout period ends you are welcome to publicize your participation in PharmStars.
No, startups and members are not allowed to share confidential information in the application or at any time during the program.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For any technical difficulties with the online application, please contact email@example.com.