Out of Covid: An Effective Investor Relations Strategy
Jill Steier, a seasoned finance professional with Investment Banking, Consulting and Investor Relations experience, shares tips for maintaining strong investor relations.
Coinciding with current global events, the biotech industry has experienced extreme volatility and uncertainty, with trial delays, regulatory and commercial delays, manufacturing and supply chain disruptions as well as cancelled medical meetings. However, the one situation that hasn’t changed is the need to raise financing in order to keep programs running and fund new innovation. That said, maintaining an effective Investor Relations strategy throughout this pandemic has been challenging, requiring creativity to stay connected to key stakeholders.
Here are some best practices to follow to stay connected with current investors, prospective investors, patient groups, clinical site directors, and employees during these ever changing times and how to re-shape your Investor Relations program.
- Provide visibility through frequent updates. Proactively detailing the impact current market conditions are having on your business, where your pressure points are and your vision for the future is so important during times of uncharted uncertainty. Providing updates through press releases and enhancing the IR section of your website are ways to stay visible and attract new investors. Direct correspondence from the CEO is another easy way to convey the culture your company is cultivating and provides a great opportunity to re-set expectations on your business while exemplifying the leadership capabilities of the management team.
- Leverage new communication venues. With restrictions for in-person meetings and reduced travel, companies have been forced to use innovative ways to stay engaged with their key stakeholders. Video calls have been the new norm for communicating with employees, clinical trial sites, shareholders and prospective investors. In order to be most effective and keep your audience engaged during these calls, it’s important to have a clear agenda and helpful to use a brief powerpoint presentation relevant to the discussion. Other ways to stay visible and provide broader access is to participate in podcasts, such as STAT news or the Timmerman Report, for the biotech industry, conducting virtual roadshows, and through various forms of social media. Given that most investor conferences and medical meetings have gone virtual, we are all missing out on opportunities for face-to-face interactions, but it’s important to stay connected in this new virtual reality.
- Implement a strong Investor Relations strategy to engage with investors. Whether putting on a virtual R&D Day to discuss data readouts or commercial launch plans or having virtual roadshows for an IPO or other financing, its critical to use the right platform that will be able to handle the audience you expect, can verify security features before the meeting, and enables Q&A, if necessary. While nothing replaces the benefits of in person interactions for forming relationships, virtual meetings have the benefit of making access available to a broader audience. Whether currently in capital raising mode or just seeking to attract new investors, a strong Investor Relations team will engage with investors, provide consistent messaging and a strategic point-of-view of the business, and free up management’s time to deal with other aspects of their business.
Despite broader market influences and volatility, the biotech markets continue to outperform broader indexes and have continued to attract significant investor interest. We are experiencing a robust market for biotech product development and seeing new collaborations being formed among pharma, biotech, academia and the government. That said, this is an exciting time for the biotech industry and so important to stay actively engaged with investors so they can stay informed and ready to invest when factors permit.
Jill Steier provides strategic investor relations and corporate communications counsel to public and private emerging life science companies with the goal of increasing shareholder value and corporate visibility. She has advised over 60 biotechnology companies across a number of therapeutic categories on how to effectively communicate their clinical development plans, business strategy and financial profile to investors, partners, advocacy groups and boards of directors. Additionally, she has deep relationships with healthcare investors, equity research analysts and investment bankers on Wall Street.
Before focusing on Investor Relations, Jill spent most of her career in consulting and investment banking and is passionate about working with early stage life science companies helping them navigate the process of interacting with investors, raising financing and forming collaborative relationships.
Jill holds a bachelor’s in business administration in economics from Emory University and attended the London School of Economics with a focus on International Finance.