Equity Compensation Strategies for Today’s Biotech

Thursday, August 15 2013
8:00 am – 10:00 am

Location: MassBio, 300 Technology Square, 8th Floor, Cambridge, MA

The current landscape for emerging cash-strapped biotech companies is challenging and it has never been more important to have a talented internal and external team to help advance your compounds to the clinic and beyond.  However, with limited financial resources, how do you attract the best and brightest to join your team and be vested in its success?  Please join us for an insightful look at the current landscape of equity compensation instruments commonly used to incentivize employees and outsiders; the current views and trends on value sharing and keeping your team in the game as new financing rounds potentially dilute ownership; and a VC’s potentially sobering view on common equity and what entrepreneurs and team members need to know.


  • John Hession,  Partner, Venture Capital Financings & Emerging Companies Practice, Cooley LLP
  • Olivia Wakefield, Director, Executive Compensation Practice, Leader, Executive Compensation Life Sciences industry Team, Towers Watson
  • Caleb Winder, , Co Founder, Director, Excel Venture Management


  • Marc Cote, Chief Operating Officer, Accellient Partners, LLC, and Chief Financial Officer, Synchroneuron Inc.


This Forum is presented by the Human Resources and Entrepreneur's University Forum Working Groups.


Speaker Bios


Marc Cote is a Co-founder, Partner and the Chief Operating Officer of Accellient Partners a drug development consulting firm.  He is also the co-founder and the Chief Financial Officer of Synchroneuron Inc, a VC-backed clinical stage biotech company that is engaged in developing new therapies for tardive dyskinesia (TD) and other related movement disorders.

Prior to Accellient, he was the Chief Operating Officer of Aptuit’s global consulting practice.  Before that he was with Dunkin’ Brands where he held a variety of finance, accounting and shared services roles before leaving as Vice President of Finance and Shared Services.  Marc started his career in the Entrepreneurial Services Group at Ernst & Young in Boston where he spent 8 years servicing clients in venture capital, biotech, high-tech and consulting.

Marc is also a member of Boston Harbor Angels.

John Hession is a partner in the Venture Capital Financings and Emerging Companies practice groups and a member of Cooley’s Business department.  He was also former Managing Partner of the Boston office.  John represents emerging-growth companies, principally in the medical device, life sciences, software, telecommunications and electronic commerce fields, as well as angels and venture capital funds in the investment process in these sectors.  During his thirty-year career, John has participated in, structured and negotiated more than 300 venture and angel financings, 30 public offerings, more than 250 strategic alliances involving technology transfers and joint ventures, and 200+ acquisitions ranging in size from $1.0 million to $4.2 billion.

Olivia Wakefield is a Director in Towers Watson’s Executive Compensation practice and is the leader of the Executive Compensation Life Sciences industry team. As a member of the Boston consulting office, she provides counsel to Compensation Committees and Boards of Directors regarding executive, broad-based employee and outside Director compensation program design and market practice. Ms. Wakefield’s areas of specialization include developing total reward philosophies, linking financial and operating metrics to incentives, designing pay-for-performance scorecards, developing effective annual and long-term incentive reward programs, conducting salary management reviews, developing strategies for the management of equity pools, advising on employment contracts and severance programs and providing counsel on governance process and key considerations

Caleb Winder has nearly 20 years of operating, startup, and financing experience in life science and healthcare companies.  He plays an instrumental role in sourcing and structuring deals and works closely with portfolio companies to form strategic partnerships and to develop commercialization and marketing strategies.  He currently (or formerly) represents Excel as a Board Director or Observer at AvenutraHQ, ShapeUp, Saladax Biomedical, Cleveland Heartlab, and MedVentive (sold to McKesson).  

Prior to joining Excel, Caleb was a Principal at Biotechonomy, where he financed, and managed several entrepreneurial ventures, including Synthetic Genomics, where he was also the Director of Finance, BioTrove (sold to Life Technologies), Biocus (sold to Agilent Technologies), and Xcellerex (sold to GE). 

Prior to becoming a venture capitalist, Caleb was an award winning sales and marketing executive at medical device and diagnostics companies.  He received his M.B.A. from Babson College, magna cum laude, where he was a Babson Fellow in the Center for Technology Enterprise. He received a B.A. in Biology with a minor in Economics from Colby College.

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