Meet Innovator of the Week
CEO, Celdara Medical
Please provide your 30-second pitch about your company.
Celdara Medical was created to help drive early stage innovations and discoveries into medical clinics where they can help patients. We do that in a unique and effective, way. We partner with inventors and their institutions, providing the developmental, financial, and business acumen required to bridge discovery and profitability.
Photo taken at the White House when Jake Reder and Mike Fanger received the 2015 Tibbetts Award from Javier Saade, SBA Associate Administrator and Maria Contreras-Sweet, SBA Administrator.
Who or what was your best resource for starting your company?
My co-founder, Michael Fanger, is a lot of things to Celdara Medical, and to me personally. He’s one of a very few people who started more than one multi-billion dollar company and has been at the top of the academic game: Mike started Medarex and Celldex, and was Chair of Microbiology and Immunology at Dartmouth Medical School, now the Geisel School of Medicine. He’s a wonderful mentor, advisor, business partner, and friend. He’s also disturbingly good at predicting the future. There’s been a lot written about the relative merits of starting alone vs. co-founding. To me, after working so long with someone of Mike’s caliber, there’s no debate.
What was your biggest obstacle in starting your company and how did you overcome it?
Cash flow was the biggest challenge. Biotech is an odd sector for a startup, especially financially. Even with previous experience as an early stage venture capitalist, I’ve never been fully comfortable with a model funded exclusively by debt or equity. Neither is sustainable. Frankly, a focus on cash flow also results in a healthy operational discipline. Our first program involved the establishment of a diagnostic service and CLIA lab; a good deal of our research and development costs over the years have been offset by non-dilutive sources. The NHIRC (New Hampshire) and SBIR (Federal) Programs have both been very good to us, especially during those initial years.
What’s the best advice you have received?
Don’t worry about trends. If you’re solving an important problem that others aren’t and your data are solid, fashion takes care of itself. Note that this advice works in a lot of tech fields, but not everywhere!
What about the NH lifestyle appeals to you?
What doesn’t? The only time I’ve seen people less than thrilled with New Hampshire is if they don’t have things to do in the winter. My family loves the outdoors and we love the Northern New England way of life. We love the arts and culture that are largely unavailable in rural areas elsewhere in the world.
What does the future look like for your company?
Unlike my co-founder, I’m reticent to predict the future (joking!) but there are a few things we’re really excited about:
1) We will continue to drive additional therapies into the clinic.
2) We will continue to explore novel business and partnership models.
3) We will continue to call NH home!
Connect with Jake on LinkedIn!
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