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Westwicke Blog

The Westwicke Blog is designed to deliver information and insights into the ever-changing world of investor relations and the capital markets, with a specific focus on the healthcare industry.

What Makes Biotech Investor Relations Unique?

Posted on June 15th, 2016. Posted by

Biotech IR

The goal of exemplary investor relations at any publicly listed company should be the achievement of a fair market valuation. However, for those working in an IR function for a biotech firm, it’s important to understand that how the market values your company will be quite different from how it values any other.

While companies in every other industry are valued based on their expected profitability compared with cash flows and other potential investments, biotechs are typically expected to lose money in the short- and medium-term, attaining profitability only a long time into the future. And that future is subject to a substantial amount of risk.

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Best Practices for Providing Investors With Guidance

Posted on June 8th, 2016. Posted by

Investors Guidance

Providing investors with guidance is a key component of any IR program. It is a company’s main avenue to set expectations. Management credibility, an important factor in a company’s valuation, is significantly driven by delivering on these expectations.

When providing guidance, we recommend that you keep these important themes in mind:

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Eight New Ideas for Broadening Your Investor Base

Posted on June 1st, 2016. Posted by

Investor Base

Maintaining a vibrant and compelling shareholder base is one of your management team’s most important responsibilities. Your current major investors need to feel that you know them and are available to them when necessary. Yet you must also be thinking constantly about attracting new investors to your company.

Companies ask us frequently for ideas on how they can broaden their investor base, so I polled our team for some of their best responses.

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Earnings Calls: The 4 Most Common Mistakes

Posted on May 18th, 2016. Posted by

Earnings Calls Mistakes

Thousands of public companies have just released their quarterly earnings and held those dreaded earnings calls — far more dreaded for those whose numbers missed estimates. While they’re not much fun for anyone, it can’t be overstated how important earnings calls are for your reputation as a leader and for the prospects for your stock.

The call is your chance to communicate your story to the world, to put your perspective formally into the public record. And it’s your investors’ and analysts’ chance to seek clues about your future prospects. In short, the call is something you just can’t afford to mess up.

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The Four Essential Elements of the Optimized IR Website

Posted on May 11th, 2016. Posted by

Optimize IR Website

Your company’s investor relations website is one of your most important tools for communicating with existing shareholders and attracting new ones. Yet too often the IR website is neglected, with outdated or irrelevant information, multiple versions of the same document, and obsolete design.

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The Perfect Earnings Call: Your 5-Week Prep Plan

Posted on May 4th, 2016. Posted by

Earnings Call Prep

Over the last 20 years, I have listened to hundreds of earnings calls. As a sell-side analyst, they were a routine and not-much-fun part of the job. Four times a year, you lock yourself in your office and listen to call after call of management teams highlighting their achievements or trying to sugar coat the not-so-positive news.

Most of the calls were pretty standard, and came off as well thought-out and comprehensive. But every so often you would hear that call where the sell-side analysts are unforgiving in their questions and the tone is so negative you almost feel badly for the management team. In my role here at Westwicke Partners, I’ve learned what really goes on behind the scenes to make those effective earnings calls appear effortless: a lot of hard work and practice starting about a month ahead of time. Who would have ever thought?

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Buy-Side Perspectives: Should You Meet With Hedge Funds?

Posted on April 20th, 2016. Posted by

Meet with Hedge Funds

In the world of small-cap healthcare, we have observed that the class of asset managers who are collectively referred to as “hedge funds” are often viewed negatively by executive management teams, particularly those that are new to the public markets.

This tendency is understandable in light of the fact that hedge funds, as a whole, most often attract media attention when they’ve disclosed a sizable position in a company with activist intentions (“corporate raiders”), or when they’ve come under the scrutiny of regulators. These high-profile examples distort the public perception of hedge funds overall.

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The IPO Window May Be Reopening: 5 Things to Do Now

Posted on April 13th, 2016. Posted by

IPO Window

So you thought you were on the fast track to go public. You selected underwriters, increased investor outreach, prepared the organization, and probably attended a few conferences. But suddenly the markets turned, volatility came back, and the IPO window closed!

This is exactly the scenario that many companies have been facing this year. The NASDAQ Index is down 1.6% and the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index is down 20.8% year to date — not exactly ideal conditions to take your company public. However, sentiment has been improving recently, and the Volatility Index is at lower levels. The IPO window may indeed reopen soon, and if your goal is to go public when it does, we encourage you to use this time proactively.

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Investor Conferences: A Strategic Guide for Public Companies

Posted on April 6th, 2016. Posted by

Investor Conferences

It would be great if you could attend every investor conference you’re invited to. After all, they’re an excellent way to tell your story, deepen your relationships with analysts who cover you, begin new relationships with analysts who don’t yet cover you, and ultimately target and attract new investors.

But it’s impossible for any public company to go to all of them. There are more than 100 Wall Street conferences in healthcare alone, and many more focused on growth-oriented companies of any industry.

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How to Write Your Annual Letter to Shareholders

Posted on March 16th, 2016. Posted by

Annual Letter to Shareholders

Warren Buffet makes news each year for his letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders. By employing his uniquely wry and contrarian style and by covering many topics that have little direct bearing on Berkshire’s results or prospects, Buffet has taken one of the staple obligations of a public company CEO, and turned it into something much larger — a kind of State of the Union from the desk of one of our most important business leaders.

It’s impressive. And as you get ready to release your own annual letter, you may be tempted to take a page from the Buffett playbook and offer your shareholders a bit of your own wit and wisdom.

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