Vol 58: Unveiling the Cracks: How VCs Expose and Strengthen Flawed Development Programs in CMC Drug Development

June 08, 2023The Pathfinder 30 Min Read

Venture capitalists (VCs) play a crucial role in pharmaceutical development, providing financial support and strategic guidance to drive innovation and accelerate progress. When considering investment opportunities, VCs closely evaluate the quality and effectiveness of a development program, particularly in the realm of Chemical, Manufacturing, and Control (CMC). A solid CMC development program mitigates risks, ensures regulatory compliance, and enhances scalability, market differentiation, and intellectual property protection. However, when VCs encounter holes or areas of concern in a development program, they embark on a journey of due diligence, negotiation, and collaborative problem-solving. This article will explore the various outcomes that can arise when VCs identify gaps in a development program and seek to fund and strengthen it. By delving into these scenarios, we can gain a deeper understanding of the considerations VCs undertake to make informed investment decisions and support the growth of pharmaceutical companies.


The VC Role in Accelerating CMC Drug Development


In the realm of drug development, CMC activities play a vital role in ensuring the safety, efficacy, and quality of pharmaceutical products. However, the road to successful CMC drug development can be long and arduous, requiring significant investments of time, resources, and expertise. This is where venture capitalists (VCs) step in, acting as catalysts in the drug development process. We will explore the lessons learned and highlight best practices that can pave the way for groundbreaking advancements in the pharmaceutical industry.

Funding the Future: Venture Capital and CMC Drug Development

Venture capitalists are pivotal in driving innovation by providing crucial financial support to pharmaceutical companies engaged in CMC drug development. Unlike traditional funding sources, VCs possess a high appetite for risk and are willing to invest in promising but unproven ventures. By injecting capital into CMC drug development, VCs enable researchers and scientists to bring their groundbreaking ideas to life.

Navigating the Regulatory Landscape: VC Expertise and Strategic Guidance

The regulatory landscape surrounding CMC drug development is complex and ever-evolving. VCs with deep industry knowledge can provide pharmaceutical companies invaluable guidance and strategic insights. Their expertise navigating regulatory requirements, compliance standards, and approval processes can expedite the development timeline significantly. VCs act as trusted partners, helping companies overcome regulatory hurdles and ensuring their CMC activities align with industry standards.

Accelerating Technological Advancements: VCs as Catalysts

The field of CMC drug development is constantly evolving, with emerging technologies revolutionizing how pharmaceuticals are designed, manufactured, and controlled. With their finger on the pulse of the latest scientific breakthroughs and technological advancements, VCs can identify promising innovations and facilitate their integration into the drug development. By investing in cutting-edge technologies, VCs can accelerate CMC drug development and foster a culture of innovation within the industry.

Lessons Learned from Past Failures: Risk Mitigation and Due Diligence

Venture capitalists understand that not all investments will yield the desired outcomes. However, failures can offer valuable lessons. VCs have learned to mitigate risks by conducting thorough due diligence and ensuring that companies they invest in have robust CMC strategies in place. By scrutinizing a company’s scientific, technical, and regulatory capabilities, VCs can make informed investment decisions that increase the likelihood of success.

Collaborative Networks and Knowledge Sharing: VCs as Connectors

VCs often have vast networks spanning the pharmaceutical industry, regulatory agencies, and scientific communities. Leveraging these networks can facilitate collaborations and knowledge sharing among various stakeholders. By bringing experts from different domains together, VCs can foster interdisciplinary collaborations that drive innovation and accelerate CMC drug development. Additionally, VCs can provide access to specialized expertise, manufacturing facilities, and global market opportunities, enabling companies to scale their operations more efficiently.

The role of venture capitalists in accelerating CMC drug development is instrumental in driving the pharmaceutical industry forward. Through their financial support, strategic guidance, and connections, VCs act as catalysts, propelling innovative ideas from conception to commercialization. VCs can further enhance their impact on CMC drug development by learning from past failures, embracing technological advancements, and fostering collaborative networks. As the pharmaceutical industry continues to evolve, the partnership between VCs and drug developers will play a crucial role in bringing life-saving medications to patients faster and more efficiently than ever before.


Reasons why VCs want to see a solid CMC Development program to Invest In


VCs are vested in seeing a solid CMC development program in pharmaceutical companies, however before they take the plunge. Here are some reasons why VCs prioritize a robust CMC program:

Risk Mitigation: VCs understand the inherent risks associated with drug development. A solid CMC development program reduces technical and regulatory risks by ensuring that the manufacturing process is well-defined, robust, and compliant with industry standards. This mitigates the chances of costly delays, product recalls, or regulatory setbacks, ultimately protecting the investment made by VCs.

Regulatory Compliance: Regulatory agencies, such as the FDA, have stringent requirements for drug approval. VCs recognize that a well-executed CMC program is crucial for meeting regulatory guidelines and obtaining necessary approvals. A strong program ensures that the manufacturing process consistently produces safe, efficacious, and high-quality drugs, addressing regulatory concerns and increasing the chances of successful product commercialization.

Market Differentiation: The pharmaceutical market is highly competitive, and differentiation is key to success. A solid CMC program demonstrates a company’s ability to develop and manufacture drugs efficiently and reliably. This can be a significant advantage in attracting potential partners or acquirers and securing a competitive edge in the market. VCs seek companies with unique selling propositions, and a strong CMC program can contribute to that differentiating factor.

Scalability and Manufacturing Efficiency: A robust CMC program lays the foundation for efficient and scalable manufacturing processes. VCs understand the importance of scalability, as it allows companies to meet increasing market demands and optimize cost-effectiveness. By investing in companies with a solid CMC program, VCs can be confident in the scalability of the manufacturing operations, leading to potential cost savings and improved profitability.

Intellectual Property Protection: A well-designed CMC program often includes intellectual property (IP) protection strategies. This involves safeguarding proprietary formulations, manufacturing methods, and other trade secrets. VCs recognize that a strong IP portfolio enhances a company’s competitive advantage and can be a valuable asset during licensing or partnership negotiations. A solid CMC program demonstrates a company’s commitment to protecting its IP, making it an attractive investment opportunity for VCs.

Faster Time to Market: Speed to market is crucial in the pharmaceutical industry. A well-executed CMC program can significantly reduce the development timeline, enabling companies to bring their products to market faster. VCs appreciate companies that can demonstrate efficiency in their CMC activities, as it not only accelerates revenue generation but also reduces the risk of competitors entering the market during lengthy development periods.


What happens when VCs find Gaping Holes in a Development program and are looking to fund it?


When VCs find holes or areas of concern in a development program they are considering funding; several potential scenarios can unfold. Here are a few possible outcomes:

Request for Additional Information: VCs may request more detailed information about the specific areas of concern or the overall development program. They may ask for clarification, data, or evidence to address the identified gaps. This allows them to better understand the challenges and assess whether they can be adequately resolved.

Due Diligence Process: VCs typically conduct thorough due diligence before making an investment decision. If they identify weaknesses or uncertainties in the development program, they may extend the due diligence process to gain more insights. This could involve engaging external experts, conducting additional analyses, or seeking independent assessments of the program’s viability and potential solutions.

Conditional Funding or Milestone-Based Investment: VCs may propose conditional funding or milestone-based investment arrangements. Instead of providing full funding upfront, they may offer to invest in stages or increments, contingent upon the achievement of predefined milestones. This approach allows VCs to monitor progress closely and ensure that the identified issues are adequately addressed before committing additional resources.

Negotiation and Restructuring: VCs may engage in negotiations with the company to address the identified holes in the development program. This could involve restructuring certain aspects of the program, such as refining the manufacturing strategy, improving quality control measures, or strengthening the regulatory compliance framework. Through negotiations, VCs and the company can work together to find solutions and create a more compelling investment proposition.

Collaborative Problem-Solving: VCs often bring industry expertise and networks to the table. If they find holes in the development program, they may offer their insights, guidance, or even connect the company with external resources to help address the identified gaps. This collaborative approach allows the VC and the company to work together in resolving the issues and strengthening the program.

Decision to Not Invest: In some cases, if the holes in the development program are significant or if the risks outweigh the potential rewards, VCs may decide not to invest in the program. They may determine that the identified weaknesses are too substantial to be effectively addressed or that the overall investment proposition does not align with their risk appetite or investment thesis.

It’s important to note that each VC and investment situation is unique, and the specific actions taken will depend on the severity and nature of the identified holes in the development program and the VCs’ risk tolerance, expertise, and investment strategy. Ultimately, VCs aim to make informed investment decisions and ensure that the development program has the potential to succeed and generate a return on investment.




Venture capitalists (VCs) are critical in accelerating CMC drug development by providing financial support, strategic guidance, and industry connections. They prioritize companies with solid CMC development programs due to their numerous benefits. A robust CMC program helps mitigate risks, ensure regulatory compliance, differentiate products in the market, enhance scalability and manufacturing efficiency, protect intellectual property, and expedite time to market. When VCs identify gaps or weaknesses in a development program, they engage in various actions such as requesting more information, conducting thorough due diligence, proposing conditional funding or milestone-based investment, negotiating program restructuring, and offering collaborative problem-solving. However, in some cases, VCs may choose not to invest if the identified holes are insurmountable or the risks outweigh the rewards. The ultimate goal of VCs is to support promising development programs that demonstrate the potential for success, thereby driving innovation and advancing the pharmaceutical industry.




By embracing these guidelines, companies can enhance their understanding of critical quality attributes, implement effective risk management strategies, establish robust quality systems, and manage post-approval changes in a harmonized manner. Staying informed about regulatory changes, engaging in early interactions with regulatory authorities, and leveraging regulatory expertise and partnerships are also crucial elements of a successful CMC regulatory strategy. Ultimately, by adopting a proactive and globally-minded approach, pharmaceutical companies can navigate the complexities of CMC regulations, ensure compliance, and achieve market access in various regions worldwide.

Upcoming Event

Oct 22


October 22-25, 2023 

Orlando, FL, USA

Orange County Convention Center

The Pathfinder

The latest in biotech for your ears

The VirtualPharm Podcast is an audio series that covers topics related to compliance and regulatory affairs in the Lifesciences industry. Each episode, hosted by an expert in the topic with decades of experience, offers listeners detailed insight into the changing regulatory environment.

Subscribe to the Pathfinder

    Lets discuss your product