These terms govern the PharmStarsTM accelerator. Please read them carefully before applying to participate.
1. Program Overview
PharmStars is the pharma-focused accelerator for digital health startups. Applications are now being accepted and 10 startups will be selected for the Fall 2022 cohort. Each startup in the cohort participates in PharmaU(TM), a 10-week educational and mentoring program led by PharmStars staff and select experts. After the initial in-person launch event in Boston, MA, all PharmaU classes and mentoring 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 is expected to take place in person in Boston, MA. Further 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 comprehensive, structured curriculum to teach startups what they need to know about pharma;
- individualized coaching and mentoring for startups on how to successfully engage pharma; and
- a series of workshops and seminars for pharma members, known as “Executive Ed,” about successfully implementing digital health programs and partnerships.
Classes are interactive and focus on important pharma topics, including: the internal structure and functions of pharma, pharma business models, regulatory drivers, pharma-startup deal structures, and current industry trends. The curriculum is taught by the PharmStars expert staff and occasional external speakers. There are ample opportunities for peer-to-peer sharing and discussion. 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 ready to be offered to pharma.
Theme for Fall 2022 Cohort:
The increasing need for real-world evidence (RWE) within the pharma industry offers tremendous opportunity for innovation. The theme of this cohort is “Innovations in Real-World Evidence,“ encompassing digital health solutions that innovate, improve, or enhance methodologies for real-world evidence generation, capture, and use by pharma firms. Areas of interest include:
- Novel collection and application of RWE
- RWE endpoint design
- RWE generation and data sources
- Data capture & remote monitoring
- RWE data analysis
Digital health startups with a product or service related to our theme are invited to apply.
- Fit: Offers a promising innovation in the theme 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 with and without pharma clients are welcome to apply. PharmStars is of value even to startups that have had some measure of success in previously engaging pharma as clients and customers.
- Startups that have participated in other accelerators are welcome to apply.
4. Pharma Members
PharmStars is supported by its “pharma members” - forward-thinking pharma companies that have committed to assist our startups. Our pharma members have helped define our theme, 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 commit 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, and sometimes 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 interests them. Immediately following the Showcase Event there will be a 4-week “blackout period.” During that time PharmStars 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 limit initiation of new contacts with pharma until they have completed the accelerator. To take full advantage of our accelerator’s offerings, startups are strongly discouraged from starting 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 16, 2022.
- Applications will not be returned to the applicant after submission.
- Applicants selected to participate will be notified by email on or around August 18, 2022. They will have three days to confirm their intent to participate. 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 introductions or deals between its startups and pharma members. The only cost to startups selected to participate is tuition of $4,500 payable before the program begins, covering participation by two representatives.
Each startup is expected to send two representatives to PharmaU. Representatives must be full-time employees with 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.
- Launch Event: Startups are expected to attend the in-person cohort launch event on September 7-8, 2022 in Boston, MA. Exceptions will be made for special circumstances.
- Showcase Event: Startups are expected to present at this members-only event.
- Member Meetings: Startups are expected to participate in one-on-one meetings requested by pharma members at the Showcase Event.
- Classes will be held virtually Mondays and Thursdays from 12:00-1:30 p.m. ET, from September 12 to November 3, 2022. Each week, 45 minutes of class will be optional. In addition, there will be several asynchronous video classes that participants can watch at their convenience.
- 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 both during and after the program.
8. Timeline for the Fall 2022 Cohort
- Applications due: July 16, 2022 (11:59 p.m. ET)
- Acceptance notifications: on or around August 18, 2022
- Participation commitments due: three days after notification of acceptance
- In-person launch event: September 7 - 8, 2022
- PharmaU: September 12 - November 3, 2022
- Showcase Event: date TBD (expected to take place between November 7-10, 2022)
- 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 (four 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 email@example.com.
- For other matters, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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