CCA Pitch Day: The Evolution, Part 3

In Parts 1 & 2 of this blog series, we learned about what Pitch Day is and how we prepare for it. In Part 3, we are focusing on how Pitch Day has evolved over the years. With 10 cycles of proposals and subsequent pitches, there is a lot of experience to draw from and improvements to note for enhancing the overall process! The most notable enhancements have resulted from instituting office hours and a structured diligence process.

“Office hours” are held with clinical, technical, and market subject matter experts (SMEs) – perhaps the most valuable addition to the CCA pitch cycle. These sessions enable proposal teams and UPMC team members to get to know each other and share constructive feedback. SME input can be analyzed and integrated into a pitch deck prior to Pitch Day and project plans can be adapted to leverage UPMC technical assets (anonymized data sets, personnel, real-world test environments, etc.) that proposal teams may not have been aware of.

The due diligence process that we use today is an iterative Q&A process, much different from a typical academic grant proposal review. This is usually the first exposure proposal teams have to an investor-like due diligence process. The CCA and UPMC Enterprises teams work to identify gaps in the project plan and/or commercial translation path by tapping Pitt and UPMC experts for input – performing additional market/regulatory/IP analysis, and more. This part of the process allows for setting realistic expectations with investigators while collaboratively working towards a favorable funding decision.

Most recently, and for the first time, a CCA Pitch Day was held virtually with all attendees joining online, listening to presenters, and asking questions of the team to clarify any open items. The audience also completed an online form to share written feedback about each pitch. The event was a success and did not include pesky tech issues!

CCA Senior Program Manager, Kathrin Gassei, works with a variety of researchers that come to the Center for commercial translation support and says, “Research teams applying for PHDA funding have very different experience levels of pitching to external investors. Our goal is to meet each team where they are and help them to tell their story in a way that opens doors for future conversations. After all, Pitch Day is only the beginning of the commercial translation journey.”

Looking Ahead

Pitch Day is a culmination of a lot of research and teamwork. From scientific research to market research and business intel – each team builds a large repository of knowledge to feel well prepared and confident to answer any question from the audience.

We hope you enjoyed learning about Pitch Day through this series. If you are interested in applying and participating in Pitch Day as a proposal team or a subject matter expert, please send us a note here!

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