Lunch & Learn - Tips from the Trenches: Demystifying today’s top legal and finance challenges for biotech start-ups

February 26, 2019

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LabCentral 700

Location: Playroom
Time: 11:30 AM-1:00 PM


For scientific founders and their early-stage teams, corporate focus and resources are overwhelmingly devoted to proof of concept and R&D. These bootstrapping teams understandably invest little in G&A until absolutely necessary. However, certain aspects of building a corporate foundation require upfront attention, lest they cost more to establish or “fix” down the road. What are the key legal and finance challenges founders should understand at the outset to put their company in the best position to succeed later? Attendees can expect to learn the following:  

  • The importance of getting organized and incorporated early: key accounting/tax and legal considerations 
  • How to protect and strengthen your core intellectual property assets at the beginning of the company’s life and beyond 
  • Establishing reliable financial controls that can scale with your company  
  • How to think about equity grants to academic founders, employees, consultants, advisors and board members 
  • Ways to control your IP when the scientific founders continue to work at their university/institution 
  • Fundamental tools for financial management; the cap table and the budget 
  • How to “tell your story” – defining yourself in the commercial space (e.g., relative to potential competitors and their IP) 


  • Tim Ehrlich, Partner, Partner, Gunderson Dettmer 
    Expertise: Business formation and entity selection, deal structuring, equity and debt financing transactions, general corporate and governance matters, and bet-the-company strategic collaborations for early-stage life science companies.  
  • Stephen DiPalma, Managing Director, Danforth Advisors 
    Expertise: Accounting and finance support/strategy for early-stage life science companies, including putting systems in place, capital raising, financial reporting, valuations, strategic CFO advisory and BOD/investor relations.   
  • Brenda Herschbach Jarrell, Partner, Choate, Hall & Stewart
    Expertise: Intellectual property, including portfolio development and competitive positioning; IP counsel relevant to collaborations, strategic partnerships, and other commercial transactions and/or disputes.   


John Hallinan, Chief Business Officer, MassBio

Prelim Agenda:  

  • 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM Check-in and lunch
  • 12:00 – 12:50 PM Panel discussion 
  • 12:50 – 1:00 PM Q&A and concluding remarks