These terms govern the PharmStarsTM accelerator. Please read them carefully before applying to participate.
1. Program Overview
PharmStars is the first and only pharma-focused accelerator for digital health startups. Startups can now apply and 10 will be selected for the 2021 cohort. Each cohort participates in PharmaUTM, a 10-week educational and mentoring program led by PharmStars staff and select experts. For the 2021 cohort, all PharmaU classes and mentoring will occur virtually. Any startup, no matter where it is located, may apply.
PharmaU culminates with a private Showcase Event where startups pitch to PharmStars’ pharma members. Additionally, one-on-one meetings between startups and pharma members will be arranged at the Showcase Event. The Showcase Event may be live or virtual. Details will be shared with the cohort participants in advance of the event.
PharmaU is PharmStars’ proprietary educational program, developed and led by PharmStars professional staff. PharmaU has three components:
- a structured curriculum to teach startups what they need to know about pharma
- individualized coaching and mentoring for startups on how to successfully engage pharma
- a series of workshops and seminars for pharma members, known as “Executive Ed,” about successfully implementing digital health programs and partnerships.
Classes and interactive sessions focus on the most important topics related to the pharma industry, including: the internal structure and functions of pharma, the pharma business model, regulatory drivers, pharma-startup deal structures, and current industry trends. The curriculum is taught by the PharmStars expert staff and occasional external speakers. There will be ample opportunities for peer-to-peer sharing and discussion. For the first cohort, all classes and mentoring meetings will be held virtually.
3. The Selection Process
PharmStars is designed to support digital health startups that:
- want to engage pharma as clients, customers, or partners;
- would benefit from priority access to our pharma members; and
- recognize the importance of an enhanced understanding of pharma.
The ideal startup candidate would:
- be interested in receiving mentoring and coaching to create clearer value propositions and better pitches to engage pharma; and
- have a prototype or product that is ready to be offered to pharma.
Priority Focus for the 2021 Cohort:
All digital health startups with innovative pharma solutions are welcome to apply. However, priority for this cohort will be given to startups with innovative digital health solutions that enhance and improve clinical trials. Examples include technology that increases the speed and efficiency of clinical trials through improved (i) recruitment and retention, (ii) data collection and management (including remote monitoring), and (iii) adherence. Future cohorts will likely have other thematic priorities.
- Fit: Offers a promising innovation in the priority focus area.
- Product Stage: Has a developed product or viable prototype that can be immediately adopted by pharma.
- Need: Has not yet broadly and successfully engaged with pharma and would benefit from the education and coaching that PharmStars offers.
- All applicants must be 18 years or older.
- Startups that have participated in other accelerators are welcome to apply.
- Startups that already have pharma clients are welcome to apply. However, PharmStars is of greatest value to startups that are trying to learn how to successfully engage pharma clients as customers.
4. Pharma Members
PharmStars is supported by a group of “pharma members”—forward-thinking pharma companies that have committed to assist our startups. Our pharma members have helped define our priority focus, reflecting the types of startups with whom they wish to partner. However, startups are selected entirely by PharmStars staff.
Each pharma member has designated a liaison (Champion), at the director-level or higher, with strong internal relationships and a passion for working with startups. The Champion serves as the connection between their company and PharmStars startups. Champions have committed to attend the Showcase Event, meet one-on-one with startups, and assist in connecting startups that interest their firm with the appropriate contacts.
5. Startups Engagement with Pharma
PharmaU is designed to educate and empower digital health startups. The knowledge and mentoring offered through PharmaU will equip startups to refine, enhance, or pivot their business models. Graduating startups will be well-positioned to successfully engage with pharma.
To enable startups to fully prepare for their initial meetings and to increase the probability of a successful “initial meeting” with pharma members, contact between startups and members will be restricted to PharmStars-moderated engagements while PharmaU is in session.
During and after the Showcase Event, pharma members may engage with any startups that interest them. Immediately following the Showcase Event there will be a 3-week “blackout period.” During that time pharma members will have the opportunity to meet and negotiate with graduating startups. Public announcements of startups’ participation in PharmStars will be made after the blackout period.
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, startups may pivot their business model and/or description of their value proposition. It is, therefore, in the best interest of participating startups to wait to initiate any new contacts with pharma until they have completed the accelerator. To take full advantage of our accelerator’s offerings, startups are strongly discouraged from new pharma business engagements from the time of acceptance into PharmStars until the conclusion of the blackout period.
6. Application Process
- Applications must be completed in one sitting, as they cannot be saved in draft form. However, a downloadable copy of the application is available.
- Applications must be complete and submitted prior to 11:59 p.m. ET on July 21, 2021.
- Applications will not be returned to the applicant after submission.
- Startups may opt to have their application kept on file for consideration for future cohorts.
- Applicants selected to participate will be notified by email on or around August 23, 2021. They will have three days to confirm. Otherwise, the invitation will be extended to another applicant.
7. Startup Participation terms
PharmStars does not require any equity from startups or make any claim to their IP. PharmStars does not charge a broker fee for deals between startups and pharma members. The only cost to startups selected for the first cohort is a nominal fee of $1,000.
Each startup is expected to send two representatives to PharmaU who have decision-making authority when engaging with prospective pharma clients. Ideally, this is the startup’s CEO and one other member of the senior leadership team. All representatives must be at least 18 years old.
- PharmaU: Because our curriculum is tightly integrated, startup representatives are required to attend all PharmaU classes and personalized mentoring meetings.
- Showcase Event: Startups are required to present at this members-only event.
- Member Meetings: Startups are expected to participate in meetings requested by pharma members at the Showcase Event.
- Classes will be held virtually Monday and Thursdays from 1:00-3:00 p.m. ET, from September 1 to November 10, 2021.
- Startups will select mutually agreeable meeting times with PharmStars staff for mentoring meetings (minimum of three mentoring meetings during the program).
- If selected, a startup must confirm participation within three business days.
- Startups are expected to provide feedback on the program at the conclusion.
8. Timeline for the 2021 Cohort
- Applications due: July 21, 2021 (11:59 p.m. ET)
- Acceptance notifications: on or after August 23, 2021
- Participation commitments due: three days after notification of acceptance
- PharmaU: September 1 to November 10, 2021
- Showcase Event: date and format TBD (expected to occur sometime between November 10 and December 10, 2021)
- Startups are required to keep PharmaU curriculum and materials confidential.
- Startups are expected to share only non-confidential information with PharmStars.
- Startups must keep their selection and participation in PharmStars confidential until the conclusion of the blackout period (three weeks after the Showcase Event). Exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis for fundraising purposes.
- Startups’ identities will be kept confidential from pharma members during the program to allow startups time to prepare their pitches and ready themselves for meetings at the Showcase Event.
10. Use of Name
- PharmStars has the right to publicize names of all participating startups.
- PharmStars has the right to use startups’ names and/or logos on the PharmStars website and in promotional materials.
11. Contacting PharmStars
- For problems with the website or application, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For other matters, please email email@example.com.