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New Coalition Aims To Close The Opportunity Gap In Bioscience

Bioscience & Investor Inclusion Group (BIIG) founding members include Liftstream, New England Venture Capital Association, Third Rock Ventures, Biogen and BioDirector

Published 12-04-20

Submitted by Biogen

  • Coalition aims to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the life sciences venture capital industry and its associated portfolio companies
  • Members commit to developing solutions to increase participation among underrepresented groups and driving measurable change in the VC industry and among innovator companies

BOSTON, December 4, 2020 /CSRwire/ -- Liftstream, New England Venture Capital Association (NEVCA), Third Rock Ventures, Biogen Inc. (NASDAQ: BIIB) and BioDirector today announced Bioscience & Investor Inclusion Group (BIIG), a coalition created to address diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in the life sciences sector.

Funding for female founders hit its lowest quarterly total in three years1 and only 2.6 percent of total VC funding in 2020 went to Black and Latinx founders2. To address these gaps in the life sciences sector, BIIG brings together leaders with a range of industry perspectives including R&D, commercialization, human capital, venture investing and corporate governance.

“Diverse teams strengthen companies and spur innovation, yet minorities are historically underfunded as entrepreneurs and underrepresented in startup leadership. This is partly attributable to only 11 percent of venture investment partners being women and just 3 percent from racial and ethnic minorities,” says Jody Rose, President, NEVCA. “It is vital for the life sciences sector to become more inclusive and focus on solutions that accelerate change.”

BIIG was formed after an executive forum hosted by the organizations outlined critical practices for advancing the representation of women and minorities in the workplace. The participants are committed to change and will share proven practices to develop solutions for the entire sector.

“Inclusion can only be achieved in the life sciences sector if venture investors actively participate in changing the composition of their partnerships. BIIG will engage the investment community to create and deploy solutions that not only improve capital allocation to women and minorities but will make inclusion a strategic imperative as they exert influence upon the company-building process,” said Karl Simpson, CEO, Liftstream. “While there is positive intent, the complexity of the DE&I opportunities, compounded by the lack of diverse representation in designing solutions, inhibits real progress.”

Dedicated workstreams, served by a voluntary group of industry leaders, will seek to deliver solutions for target areas such as: people growth and retention, hiring and onboarding, and investor interactions.

“By shining the spotlight on this significant, unsustainable gap, the life sciences industry – already known for innovation – will broaden our understanding of the market and uncover even more ingenuity and opportunities to discover and develop potentially life changing therapies,” said Minita Shah-Mara, VP of Organization Effectiveness and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Biogen.

BIIG is open to individuals and companies interested in joining the founding members in the pursuit of a more diverse, equitable and inclusive industry. To learn about how to get involved, please visit: www.bioinclusion.org.

1. Pitchbook: Quarterly VC funding for female founders drops to three-year low: https://pitchbook.com/news/articles/vc-funding-female-founders-drops-low
2. 2020 Crunchbase Diversity Spotlight Report: https://about.crunchbase.com/2020-diversity-spotlight-report/

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At Biogen, our mission is clear: we are pioneers in neuroscience. Biogen discovers, develops and delivers worldwide innovative therapies for people living with serious neurological and neurodegenerative diseases as well as related therapeutic adjacencies. One of the world’s first global biotechnology companies, Biogen was founded in 1978 by Charles Weissmann, Heinz Schaller, Kenneth Murray and Nobel Prize winners Walter Gilbert and Phillip Sharp. Today Biogen has the leading portfolio of medicines to treat multiple sclerosis, has introduced the first approved treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, commercializes biosimilars of advanced biologics and is focused on advancing research programs in multiple sclerosis and neuroimmunology, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, neuromuscular disorders, movement disorders, ophthalmology, immunology, neurocognitive disorders, acute neurology and pain. We routinely post information that may be important to investors on our website at www.biogen.com. To learn more, please visit www.biogen.com and follow us on social media - Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube.

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