Matthew Murphy is a PhD candidate in the Stem Cell Biology program at the NYU Langone Medical Center. His research focuses on understanding how beta-catenin, a key protein commonly hyperactivated in colorectal cancer, regulates growth and survival of cancer cells. He is interested in the intersection of science and business, taking problem solving skills and medical expertise from academia and applying them to industry. As a leader of the NYU Biotech Association, Matthew helps the students and postdocs of the NYU community learn about and prepare for career opportunities outside of academia.

In the latest edition of the NYU BioVenture Speaker Series, Dr. Michael Ritchie, Director of Business Development at Champions Oncology, Inc., shared his insights into modeling and shaping markets with a group of eager students and postdocs.

Early on, Dr. Ritchie emphasized the changing landscape of the pharmaceutical industry, noting that the role of pharmaceutical companies is trending increasingly towards funding clinical trials, while most of the real innovation is happening in startup companies and academic labs.

Over the course of the talk, several important lessons became clear:

  • If you have a product or idea that you think has value, it is important to determine whether there is enough of a market to be profitable before you think about moving towards commercialization.
  • Identifying a target market for a drug means not only determining how many people are suffering from the targeted disease, but also how many of those people are seeking treatment, and how many of those people can be expected to seek your
  • The market for a drug can be dynamic. In some cases, particularly with orphan diseases, it can be important to shape the market by creating awareness and educating the public.
  • Understanding your target market and the value of your product are important not only to get investors interested, but also to make sure you get a fair deal once they are.

“Your project means the world to you,” Dr. Ritchie told the audience at the Langone Medical Center. “Maybe you can’t put a value on the time you’ve put in, but the people who are going to invest in you need to know what they will get out of it.”

Dr. Ritchie also shared some of his personal experiences as he transitioned from the lab bench to the business side of research. After receiving his Ph.D from Temple, he spent time as a postdoc at Harvard Medical School and worked as an Oncology Scientist at Pfizer before taking his current role at Champions.

The NYU BioVenture Speaker Series provides a foundation in business knowledge for venture creation. The series is co-sponsored by the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute and the NYU B