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Joint ventures between USA and CE from the perspective of American entrepreneurs – Emerson Smith and Bradford Goodwin

Publish date: 2014-04-07

Many European life science enterprises are looking for cooperation opportunities with partners from other side of Atlantic Ocean. One way of establishing such cooperations is creating joint venture between partners from Central Europe (CE) and USA. Two American entrepreneurs – Bradford Goodwin (CEO of CharlestonPharma) and Emerson Smith (President of Metromark Market Research) – share their thoughts about similar initiatives.

Tags: business , joint ventures , cooperation , biobusiness , USA , Bradford Goodwin , Emerson Smith

This is a second part of this publication, focusing on cooperation between CE and USA from American perspective. The first part described this experience from European point of view. It can be found here:

Joint ventures between USA and CE from the perspective of European entrepreneur – Paweł Przewięźlikowski


Both Bradford Goodwin and Emerson Smith will give their presentations on this topic during BioForum 2014 – an event gathering life science society from Central Europe and other regions. More information about this event is presented on its official website:


Bradford Goodwin
Emerson Smith

What can both sides of joint venture get from this partnership?

Emerson Smith: There are many opportunities for CE biotech companies in the US. Central European biotech companies already have access to major US biotech/pharma companies that have facilities and offices in Central and Western Europe. CE company owners, managers, and scientists can meet and talk with European representatives of US companies about opportunities and needs of the CE and US.

US companies and investors are willing to consider purchase of biotech companies or patents in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and other CE countries. Central European companies are doing business with US companies, engaging in trade or scientific exchange on an academic and business development level. Relationships with US research universities can be useful. Some CE companies may choose to apply for and participate in US and state-government-funded and foundation-funded research.

Learning and knowledge is a two-way street. Europeans can learn from the Americans and Americans can, without doubt, learn from Europeans. After all, it was European scientists who came to America who provided the foundation for the sciences in the United States.


What are the possible forms of partnerships between CE and US enterprises?

Bradford Goodwin: Partnerships can take many forms. I’ll focus on four:

  • license of a commercial biotech product owned by a US-based biotech company to a CE biotech company for commercialization in Central European countries,

  • license of a commercial biotech product owned by the CE partner to the US partner for commercialization in the US,

  • participation in the development of a biotech product owned by the US partner, and

  • supply the active pharmaceutical product or finished product to a US-based biotech company for sales throughout the world.

With regard to the first type of partnership, most US-based biotech companies do not have the strategic intent to commercialize their products outside of the US, Western Europe and parts of Asia. Thus a Central European biotech company may offer a US-based biotech company a valuable partner with local knowledge and capability to commercialize these products. In this type of partnership, the Central European partner adds a medically valuable product to its product line in Central Europe and obtains compensation for commercializing the product. The US-based biotech company benefits by obtaining a portion of the economics on the sales of these product in Central Europe.

Central European biotech companies also develop innovative biotech products and some may not have the resources to commercialize these products in the US. Licensing US commercialization rights to a US-based biotech company may provide the Central European company with additional resources (which may include capital, knowledge, and/or facilities) directed to bringing these products to market and commercializing the products as well as additional visibility in the US for the CE company. Many US-based biotech companies are actively seeking US rights to products originating in Europe and Asia, so this would be a natural extension of their current activities. The US company would benefit from broadening their product portfolio and maybe even shortening the time to market for their first product.

In my visit to Warsaw in September of last year for the Biotech Trade Mission, I learned several Central European biotech companies are performing contract research for major pharmaceutical companies. I am told the cost of research is substantial lower in Central Europe than in the US or Western Europe; as an example the wages for Ph.D scientists are substantially lower in Central Europe. I visited several Polish biotech companies and was impressed by their facilities, staffing and reported capabilities. This suggests an opportunity for Central European biotech companies to extend this type of relationship to US-based biotech companies. Central European companies would benefit from expanding this line of business and gaining exposure to similar companies in the US. US-based companies would gain from lower cost but high quality research and development performed by culturally similar companies.

Lastly, after visiting a very impressive recombinant human insulin factory outside Warsaw, it became clear to me that certain Central European biotech companies have the capability to produce advanced biotech products for worldwide sales on their own or on behalf of US-based biotech companies. While contract manufacturing for a US-based biotech company is financially attractive as a stand alone collaboration, it also has the potential to be leveraged into the Central European biotech company obtaining commercialization rights to these products in territories outside the strategic intent of the originating company. Many US-based biotech companies do not have the strategic intent to manufacture their own products, so finding a high quality third party manufacturer is priority for them.


What are you going to focus on during your presentation on BioForum 2014?

Emerson Smith: My presentation will focus on how to build relationships with US companies, investors, economic development agencies in each state, academics and scientists in order to create successful joint ventures in the US.


Bradford Goodwin: Here is an outline of what I’m currently planning on focusing on for BioFourm 2014:

  • What are the main types of CE/US commercial partnerships?

  • What can a CE can gain from a partnership with an American partner?

  • What can the American partner gain from such a partnership?

  • How can these CE/US partnerships be encouraged? What are the obstacles?


by Tomasz Domagała


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