From Novel Biotechnology Platform to Globally Competitive Cancer Company: Proacta Inc.

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CASE STUDY. Proacta Inc., a private New Zealand-based biotechnology start-up focused on developing novel cancer therapeutics, faced a critical decision in 2004.

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Proacta Inc., a private New Zealand-based biotechnology start-up focused on developing novel cancer therapeutics, faced a critical decision in 2004. Preclinical experiments of the company’s lead compound, PR-104, had produced promising results in prostate cancer and other solid tumours models, suggesting a potential path for clinical development towards commercial approval. The company was started by its scientific founders and had secured initial venture capital financing that opened up the potential to advance the technology to human clinical trials, which would require significant additional capital. In urgent need of additional funding to advance into human clinical trials, Proacta’s CEO visited 35 venture capital companies and alliance partners internationally. This decision-based case focuses on whether Proacta should raise more funds within New Zealand alone, syndicate a venture capital round with international investors, or seek a trade sale of the company.

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