Lessons from the St. Louis Cardinals and ‘Building Biotechs to Last’

Xconomy San Francisco — 

When I hit the couch tonight to watch Game 6 of the World Series, I won’t be rooting for anyone. I will just be another baseball fan hoping for a great game between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals.

But I have been thinking about not just baseball, but organizational strategy lately, and these two teams offer a study in contrasts that business people can appreciate. The Boston Red Sox are the big market/big budget team that bounced back from a meltdown season a year ago to put together a cohesive American League championship team. It’s a great story, sure.

But what’s even more interesting to me is the model of the Cardinals. They have passionate and loyal fans, but it’s not a big media market with megabucks to throw around. No matter how many great players they lose to free agency or injury, they keep finding and developing low-priced young stars like Michael Wacha, Trevor Rosenthal, and Carlos Martinez who shine during crunch time.

Like them or not, the Cardinals are an organization that’s built for sustainable excellence. It’s easy to say and hard to do. I think that’s a model that many biotech entrepreneurs can relate to. Some people are trying to position their companies for one run at a World Series title (the big acquisition). Some strive to set an ongoing standard of excellence that could produce multiple championships (several profitable products that help patients).

One other great thing about baseball—it provides lots of breaks in the action. So, between innings tonight, instead of looking at comments on Twitter, I’d encourage you to pop open your laptop and buy one of the last Early Bird discount tickets for “Building Biotechs to Last.” It’s the next big Xconomy biotech event, set for the afternoon of Dec. 9 at Genentech Hall on the UCSF Mission Bay campus. Those early discounts expire at midnight tonight.

We have an awesome lineup of speakers who will be ready to share some of their thinking into how they’ve tried to build companies that can live through the inevitable ups and downs, and consistently perform at the top of their fields.

Here’s who you can expect to hear from in SF on Dec. 9.

Kim Popovits, CEO, Genomic Health

Stanley Crooke, CEO, Isis Pharmaceuticals

Bryan Roberts, partner, Venrock Associates

Paul Hastings, CEO, OncoMed Pharmaceuticals

Adelene Perkins, CEO, Infinity Pharmaceuticals

Bob More, senior advisor, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Chris Garabedian, CEO, Sarepta Therapeutics

Bonnie Anderson, CEO, Veracyte

Unfortunately, JJ Bienaime of BioMarin Pharmaceuticals had a scheduling conflict and won’t be able to make it at this event on Dec. 9, but I expect to have a few more updates on what you can expect in the weeks ahead. So block off the afternoon of Dec. 9 on your calendar, get your tickets now, and join us for one of the more interesting and important public conversations of the year in biotechnology.