Align Summit: Pairing ambitious science with funding partners

Apr 02, 2024

By Jason Cordeiro, Chief Operating & Innovation Officer, MassBio

Yellow background with blue text reading Align Summit with insights from McKinsey & Co. and Locust Walk, April 25, 2024, Register.

Two years ago—when storm clouds could be seen on the biotech horizon—MassBio convened a group of industry partners to discuss supporting the innovation ecosystem in Massachusetts, especially early-stage companies, through a difficult funding environment. During that meeting, two themes emerged:

  • There are funders, including non-traditional, looking to invest in early-stage biotech startups.
  • There is a gap in how to get them involved with local companies.

At the same time, it’s well known that for all the great science that is attracting money and advancing through the pipeline, there is more that isn’t even getting seen, let alone funded.

As a convener, MassBio took this information and ran with it, finding a willing thought partner in McKinsey & Co. and crafting an event—Align Summit—that puts the people behind the ambitious science in the same room as the funders looking to cut a check, along with other strategic partners. This year, we’ve added Locust Walk, a global investment bank that integrates corporate development strategy and execution with ​capital raising for innovative life science companies, as a partner.

For 2024, Align will focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) in drug discovery and development. We’ve assembled industry experts and insiders to provide valuable insights and perspectives on the current state of biotech funding; how to best leverage, pursue, and integrate AI/ML capabilities into a business; navigating innovations and limitations of AI in drug discovery; and moving from hype to reality with GenAI in the life sciences.

And then there are the pitches. We’ve tapped into our partners’ best-in-class depth of knowledge of early-stage startups to present a curated lineup of 50+ innovative seed and Series A companies from both the AI/ML sector and pure-play biotech. The transformative therapies in development by the featured startups will range from next-generation gene therapies and novel drug delivery methods to AI- and ML-based drug discovery and digital therapeutics.

Massachusetts became a biopharma powerhouse through the density of our early-stage companies. One way we keep our leadership position is to ensure that despite a difficult funding environment that they can access funders who will support their next chapter. Funders may be acting more cautiously and looking for more data than three years ago, but they’re looking beyond current market conditions to back emerging companies with promising research. MassBio’s Align Summit will look to connect these two pieces to advance therapies and technologies for patients.

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