Making sense of funding support

21st Oct 2021

The importance of an experienced partner in securing funding for your programme.

Pharmaceutical development today is marked by ongoing innovation, specialised technologies, and complex chemistry. With rising innovation, however, has also come rising costs. In fact, when accounting for inflation, research and development (R&D) spending within the pharmaceutical industry was ten times more in 2019 than in the 1980s. Funding is limited and, for many organisations, securing the funds needed to navigate the already complex drug discovery and development process creates added challenges. The right outsourced partner can provide the guidance and expertise organisations need to secure critical funding in support of their molecules’ development.

In 2019, global pharmaceutical research and development spending reached $186 billion.

The rising complexity of therapeutics and the need for adequate funding.

Due to strategic changes within the pharmaceutical industry, many of today’s drugs are produced by smaller, specialised biotech companies. In fact, companies with annual revenue with annual revenues under $500 million are responsible for more than 70% of drugs in phase III clinical trials. Because many of these companies are just emerging and tend to be focused on a single molecule, it can be challenging for them to obtain the funding they need. This is especially true in a project’s earliest phases, when an organisation may not yet have sufficient data or results to appeal to investors. In such cases, it is imperative to have a partner who has experience supporting the project and any grant applications.

How can the right partner help you acquire the funding you need?

The funding application process can be complicated and time-consuming, particularly for smaller biotechnology organisations that may be seeking funding for the first time. While an outsourced partner can powerfully streamline the process, it is important to select the right one.

Here are four key considerations for organisations when seeking a partner to support their pursuit of funding:

Particularly for smaller start-ups, having an experienced partner can provide credibility to their grant and funding applications. An outsourced partner, however, provides more than just a name for a letter of support. Their experience in the preparation of proposals, letters of support and other documentation required to support grant or other funding applications can be invaluable to companies lacking this expertise in house.

Consistent and clear communication with the right outsourced partner is imperative to any organisation; however it can be even more important for organisations seeking funding for the first time. A partner should take the time to understand the goal of the fundraising and leverage their experience to ensure the highest chance of success. It is critical to ensure close alignment with the customer at all times, and work together collaboratively to overcome challenges in acquiring and utilising funding.

While an outsourced partner should do everything possible to help customers secure the funding they request, it should also be prepared in the event that a customer is granted less funding than required or anticipated. The right partner will help adapt project plans to align with the funding available, with a willingness to take on projects that may be smaller than expected based on available funds. An outsourced partner should aim to maximise customer success in every project, no matter how large or small.

While an outsourced partner should do everything possible to help customers secure the funding they require, they should also be prepared in the event that a customer is granted less funding than was originally requested. This ensures your partner not only has a strong understanding of the regulatory and funding environment, but is also capable of successfully supporting a project once funding is obtained. In addition, expertise in the full molecule lifecycle delivers compelling advantages with regard to efficiency, continuity and cost-effectiveness throughout a project’s entire duration.

Fast Facts

In 2020, biotechs raised $28.5 billion in investment across 1,073 deals.

In the US, the NIH allocates $41.7 billion to medical research funding each year.

Total estimated R&D costs for a new drug product can reach up to $2.8 billion.

In 2020, there were more than 360,000 clinical studies worldwide.

Proven partnership to support your molecule from funding to commercialisation.

At Sterling, we have supported a wide variety of customers and projects through the complex funding application process. By extensively reviewing project requirements, providing guidance, and preparing budgetary estimates and letters of support, we help our customers secure the funding they require to develop innovative therapeutics. As with all of our offerings, our support during the funding process is grounded in the principles of service, passion, and science.


We pride ourselves on being easy to do business with, removing layers of complexity, maximising flexibility and adaptability to your requirements, and doing what we say we will do, again and again.


We promise to treat your molecule as our own, drive progress by continually exploring new and emerging capabilities, and do the right thing for our people and planet.


We combine our expertise in complex and hazardous chemistry, our world-class facilities and our full-lifecycle capabilities to place scientific excellence at the core of every solution we deliver.

Are you ready to tap into the power of proximity with Sterling?

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