Robert Fallon’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of education, international experience, and a willingness to embrace new challenges. From his formative years at Boston Latin School to his groundbreaking work in international banking and, later, involvement in cutting-edge scientific research, Fallon’s story is one of resilience, adaptability, and a relentless pursuit of knowledge.
His venture, Promontory Therapeutics, raised funding from top-tier investors like AdInvest, Trending Themes, Marketmap, and Startups by Alma Mater.
In this episode, you will learn:
- Early education at Boston Latin School provided a strong foundation and instilled a deep sense of gratitude and confidence to pursue higher education.
- Transformative experiences, including caddying at Hyannisport Club and teaching math and science in the Peace Corps in Samoa, significantly shaped a worldview and reinforced a belief in the power of opportunity.
- A career in international banking, particularly at Citibank and later at banks that became JP Morgan Chase, helped make significant contributions to the financial sector across the Asia-Pacific rim.
- Success in the banking sector was attributed to an approach of understanding cultural nuances and building strong relationships, which helped rule a field often dominated by Western transactional ideologies.
- Transition to academia, teaching courses in international banking at Columbia University. He later took on a leadership role at Korea Exchange Bank.
- Involvement with Ohio University’s research endeavors introduced him to the world of scientific research, particularly in the field of anti-cancer compounds. This collaboration ignited his interest in the intersection of science and business.
- Extensive research in targeting cancer cells led to the creation of Promontory Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotech company. Their small-molecule immunotherapy drug shows tremendous promise in cancer treatment, and they have successfully raised substantial funding for its development.
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About Robert Fallon:
Robert is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Promontory Therapeutics. He is a highly respected leader with decades of global transactional and strategic leadership.
Robert is the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Korea Exchange Bank, a large publicly traded company, and prior to that he ran all of Asia-Pacific for JP Morgan Chase.
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Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:
Alejandro Cremades: Alrighty Hello everyone and welcome to the deal maker show. So today. We have ah a really amazing founder. You know founder that had a really incredible um career and then all of a sudden he decided to venture into the entrepreneurial world. But we’re going to be learning a lot about raising money. Raising money you know, but more from be more than vcs from family offices and high net worth individuals. We’re going to be talking about how to really think you know through the potential success that one could achieve you know when starting a business and how to measure that as well as. Knowing you know how you’re doing as a manager or testing your management skills sort of speaking and then also why to do or to start a company and how to go about it so without further ado. Let’s welcome. Our guest do a roberter Fallon Welcome to the deal maker show.
Robert Fallon: Thank you Alejandro it’s a pleasure to be with you.
Alejandro Cremades: So originally you were born in Boston and raised in the city. So one give us a walk through memory lane robert how was life growing up.
Robert Fallon: Was I grew up in the city I took a subway and streetcars who to get to my high school Boston latin school I went there for 6 years it was a great school. It gave me a terrific classical education and I will be forever grateful. To what I learned there and they gave me the ah the confidence to go ahead. You know and go on into college which wasn’t necessarily an option for a lot of kids growing up in the city.
Alejandro Cremades: I hear you I mean obviously you were raised in a working class family. You learned the robes of figuring out. You know how to make money quite early. In fact, they being a caddy in the summer for for.
Robert Fallon: Yes I will.
Alejandro Cremades: For people there in cape cod and and even the presidentent Kennedy what’s around so how was that.
Robert Fallon: Well, if actually yes I was ah I spent a couple of summers at the Hyannas Port Club and they had a caddy camp. You stayed there and you basically caddied every day and you’d end up at the end of the summer with a couple of thousand dollars. Which was for me that was that was very good money in those days and I had the good fortune to be ah selected as one of the senior caddies to to basically caddy in the the loop of president Kennedy he played golf 3 times that one particular summer and I didn’t caddy his carry his bag. I carried the bag for pr salinger who was his press secretary at the time but it was a terrific experience and I remember standing there at the first tee here comes the president and he walks up and there’s 4 caddies all with a bag when he greeted each of us and he came to me and he said are you a democrat or a republican as I stammered and said. I I don’t know because I didn’t I was a kid. It was a caddy I was maybe 1314 I didn’t know the difference between the 2.
Alejandro Cremades: That’s pretty amazing now you ended up going to Ohio University and right after that you know you find yourself having a chat with the dean of harbor business school. You know you were looking at the and Nba program but they. It sounds like you know it took a different turn. So what happened there.
Robert Fallon: Well, yeah I was accepted to Harvard business school and I attended for two days and collected all of my cases and I remember sitting there looking to this pile of business cases to read and you know the the vietnam war was at its peak and I’d come off a kind of a campus as somewhat of a. Radical or a liberal and I thought my goodness you know I followed this path to apply to business school and get in and I should have been grateful because I had won a ah fellowship. Um, but um, I really didn’t have the fire that burned within me to to sort of tell me why I was there. Was there because that was the expectation you know of society. Um, and my parents I guess and my mentors at the university so went into the dean and said look I’m going to go in the peace corps could you accept me, you know, 2 years hence and to my surprise they were very supportive and they said yes. So I ended up going in the peace corps and going to samoa which is a wonderful experience. I was a math and science teacher at a Catholic Missionary you know boarding school up in the Bush. We had our own plantation and I taught math and science and I was there for 4 years I had to reapply to Harvard business school but I remember writing down on my. Banana crate. You know desk writing down an essay with a leaky bic pen. Um, you guys took me four years ago I can’t believe you did that because what I know now about myself and what I knew then is completely different and I explained you know why now I was ready to go to business school so they must have.
Robert Fallon: Liked what I had to say because they re-excepted B and I went back and and I was fortunate to get the same fellowship back again. The ah oh know, Ah, ah well I learned basically.
Alejandro Cremades: So it sounds like those 4 years were kind of life changing what? what did you discover about yourself.
Robert Fallon: That I could make change on a small scale because my kids that I taught you know in in several cases I taught the same kids my form 3 form 4 form 5 and mathematics and science and I saw them when they took the New Zealand school certificate examination because they followed the. So I’m all had been A New Zealand Protectorate after world war one and say so they still followed the school curriculum and I saw the evidence of kids that I taught actually exceeding and in in passing and um, like I just remember at 1 1 a particular young man named patello. Who who wasn’t a great student but and his after teaching for 3 years he passed his new zealand school certificate examination in mathematics now that was the equivalent of an old level in the english system and you had to pass at least 1 old level to graduate from school to get your school certificate. And he passed and so that year at the school graduation patello comes up and the kids of course have lava lavas and there’s lots of fine pigs and Mas and you know singing and whatnot is it’s got this big tall samoan chief with the headdress and the the big knife and I’m thinking uho who is this heavy. And this guy’s coming over to me speaking the most honorific samon light fa ti talelia laba la for yoga and I said oh and patello sidles over to me says sorry Mr Butta this is by butter right? He had to speak english at school once they were in beyond form. 3.
Robert Fallon: And so he is telling me this is my father and then the father he’s got tears in his eyes and he’s hugging me and he’s saying you’ve given my son a gift and I want to give you a gift his gift was he was the high tattooing Chief I half the country and tattoo was something that was created in somet tattoo is actually where it comes from. Some own word tata and so because of that I have my you can see it right here is my samon Talima. So This is the original samo done in and with you know, basically the tattooing combs and ketlenut soot you know and whatnot but it was for me. Ah.
Alejandro Cremades: Wow.
Robert Fallon: It was a gift from the country and the culture and I treasured it and I wore it proudly and and still do it was funny well later on when I was a banker in in Japan of course you know people in in Japan that get tattoos are yakuza and every once in a while I’d become friendly enough with a japanese that they’d say so none di all.
Alejandro Cremades: That’s amazing.
Robert Fallon: You know what’s what’s that all about and I’d be able to explain this story and it was really yeah, wonderful. So I took gift from samoa.
Alejandro Cremades: Now in you in your in in your case, you know once once you were um, you know, finishing with the experience there and going into into Harvard business school. You got the Nba and it sounds like a.
Alejandro Cremades: You kept going on the international you know side of things I guess you know first and foremost before diving into you know what? you learn you know from your experience in Citibank and and you know being in Asia as well. What got you so hooked.
Robert Fallon: So.
Alejandro Cremades: Into traveling. How did you develop that interest and and why so.
Robert Fallon: Um, after my first year was married my wife was a peace corps volunteer with me and when we finished our our service. Actually we we both extended you know, longer terms and we taught in 2 peace corps training programs. You know the newer volunteers so we made a little bit of money. Because we didn’t have any money before and we set off and travel basically through Southeast Asia and then through South Asia and and India and Nepal and and um it was just it was wonderful to be young like that and traveling and you know because we we didn’t have much we didn’t need much. Right? We had basically like a little bag with light some clothes and flip-flops and whatnot and it was just wonderful, but it gave me perspective on the world and when I did get back to go to Harvard business school I I decided that you know what? I I think I want to do something. I don’t mind the business world but I really want to be international and so one of the schools that was interviewing at my ah at at Harvard was was Citibank and Citibank at that time was sort of the the cock of the walk in terms of international banks Walter Riston was driving it and the firm was was sort of. Everywhere and I had seen Citibank branches in Suva Fiji and Panang Malaysia and Singapore and I just said well you know I’ve got to go talk to this so I I went to the interview and in the interview.
Robert Fallon: And then these are very competitive processes. So I went in a little bit nervous and the fellow I sat down next and we had a twinkle in his eye. He said tell me a bunch of peace corps service I said oh wonderful of course now I’m off and running and we had this wonderful conversation that went for about 45 minutes he says well that’s great. Thank you very much and I said well we didn’t talk about. He says. Don’t worry says you’re in he says I spent you know 3 years in the peace corps in Bahia in Brazil he says you’ll be invited down for the super saturday interviews in in New York he says and you’re going to be in I can tell you right now and that was it so New York
Alejandro Cremades: Wow now in in your case when you went there to ah Hong Kong you rose very quickly through the ranks and you ended up getting quite a ah bit of responsibility there I’m becoming senior. What do you think propelled, you know that a rapid rise. You know through the ranks.
Robert Fallon: Well number one the the business was was growing. You know, dramatically by leaps and bounds and um, you know I soon migrated from basically the Hong Kong business basically into Apco The Asia Pacific Capital Corporation which is a regional merchant bank that Citibank and fujibank jointly owned. And so now I had Asia as my as my whole sphere of of operations whether it was Indonesia or Australia or Thailand we were doing transactions all over the the sort of the pacific rim and there just weren’t a lot of people and so therefore you got recognized the business was good. And I just keep getting promoted so I had no interest in you know going anywhere else but just sort of ride this wave and I enjoyed living in ah in Hong Kong it was a great regional base to be in I tried my best to ah to study Cantonese and um, that helped too at least in terms of being integrated into the the local scene. But um I had tremendous ah opportunity to to learn and discover more about the various cultures and whatnot and myself and had a whole whole litany of you know transactions that I’d done that I was quite proud of so it’s a portrait.
Alejandro Cremades: Now when it comes to when it comes to business. You know doing business in Asia how is it different from doing business in the Us.
Robert Fallon: Well, it’s ah it’s it’s more relationship focused and you have to understand that there a difference asia just isn’t one monolith. Um there is a difference in dealing with japanese as opposed to dealing with chinese there’s a difference about dealing in Indonesia. With boomy puttras both a chinese businessman and you you develop kind of a six sense about how to navigate through this. But 1 thing you you don’t want to do is you don’t want to be sort of ah the arrogant american that comes in is kind of a know it allll and tries to tell the local guys. This is how you have to do it. This is the way we do it on wall street et cetera that was never going to work and i. I would see you know people come out, you know from investment bank would send a guy out for 2 years and essentially he all the you know these people would would they would get frustrated because they wouldn’t take the time to understand the local cultural norms and they had a difficult time being successful because. Business just didn’t come to them because of their name or their reputation. They weren’t prepared to sort of open their eyes and and try to do it on on the basis of what the the locals you know all looking for.
Alejandro Cremades: Now 1 of the areas here that I think was probably incredible because you were also able to experience the downturn or the I think like the the crumbling of a company that was with Drexel Burnham there you actually worked in and you got to know. Mike Milken but the firm ended up you know into problems and and filing for bankruptcy. You know a firm with amazing talent. How how how how did that happen I mean what did you learn, especially from from being in a in a situation of uncertainty like that.
Robert Fallon: Well, um I was in Japan and running the investment banking business for citigroup in Japan which was quite prolific and Drexel reached out to me and and said look we you know we want to talk to you. We have great expansion plans for Asia and we’ve got kind of a nice resume. So I flew back in one of my trips and and ended up you know going down to Chery Hill New Jersey is it right? and Mike Milken was there we met it is typical for for him at five o’clock in the morning as soon as the hotel coffee shop was open and we talked for several hours. And he just was fascinated by everything that was going on in Asia the amount of money that was Japan at this stage was in their big bubble and whatnot and he was convinced that they had to have a footprint and so it was kind of a nice ah congruence and I I admired him tremendously he was he was immensely brilliant. And insightful but asked a ton of questions was always you know eager to learn and I was so disappointed because the business that we set up in Japan and in Asia was actually going going very very well and um, we were kind of insulated from the problems that occurred you know in New York and I I thought it was somewhat unfair because a lot of the white shoe firms. You know, basically saw drexel as an existential threat because of the amount of business that they were doing and they didn’t need to sort of get a left and a right on the tombstone they did it all on their own and there was a sort of a gang mentality when.
Robert Fallon: You know milken was being sort of brought up on on charges if there was insider trading or somebody didn’t file a 13 d or whatever and it was unfortunate that he was ah forced out of the firm and of course without without Michael Milken leading it the firm then ultimately struggled for the next two years and and it’s its cited filed for bankruptcy and it was stacked absolutely stacked with talent many of whom have gone on to you know, very very successful careers. You know whether it’s in jefferys or Kenny Molas ah firms like that. Um.
Alejandro Cremades: Now now for you after after this experience you know you went to um, basically like banker trust you that that ultimately became Jpmorgan and then and then once you.
Robert Fallon: Bankers’s trust didn’t become Jpmorgan Banker’s trust I went to bankus’ trust for not not quite 2 years but I didn’t really see that bankers’ trust had much to offer in terms of you know a a footprint for really developing business in asia they were more interested in selling derivatives. And at that time I was basically being lured to join you know Manny Hanney um Don Layightton who ultimately became the vice chair at Jpmorgan Chase um was in charge of international and said you’re going to come back and meet mcgillicuddy and. I did and and the rest is history i. Love those guys was a great bank. They ended up merging with chemical. Um I ended up running Manny Hanny and then manhanny chemical in in in Japan. Then it had expanded to Asia and then we merged with chase I ended up running all of asiapacific for What was then chase so many handy chemical chase and then we merged with the with J P Morgan um so it was.
Alejandro Cremades: So and there there there you go now now in this case, you know right? after this, you decided to step down and go to Columbia business school. Obviously you did a a few things in between during your stint that day columbia. But it sounds like Columbia was the pivotal moment that pushed you into the entrepreneurial world. So how did that? How did that come about what was that incubation process and how did you you know, landed on.
Robert Fallon: Oh I yeah I came back? Yeah I came back and and there had been you yet 1 more merger and I found because I’d run all of Asia I was a customer to running my own. Fief as it were and um I got back to New York with the Connor office and park avenue and I wasn’t fulfilled and I found a lot of infighting because with all of these mergers. There’s only so many people that can climb to the top of the pyramid. So I opted to basically ah you know step out in 2002 and start teaching. At Columbia because I’d done some guests lecturing there and I was quite happy doing that but I was doing it I did it for one semester and then immediately I was being asked to go um, be head hunted and join as the Ceo the chairman and Ceo of Korea Exchange Bank Korea’s largest international bank. Which had fallen on hard times because of capital problems not because of you know the the fact that they had poor staff or poor. Ah you know client base quite the contrary. They just they had a capital inadequacy problem because of a lot of bad loans that eroded their capital. And I had worked with Keb in my career I knew the talent that it had so I basically said okay I’ll do this nobody else was offering me a $100000000000 bank to run and so I told my wife we’re going to go back to Asia she kind of looked at me and said well okay, but i.
Robert Fallon: But she was very game. We went back and it turned out to be a wonderful 5 years the first 2 were were tough because you know the the Korean Unions can be very very difficult and they saw me as as basically ah you know Darth Vader I was the first foreigner to be. The chair of a korean public company and like they were always trying to somehow you know, humiliate me or antagonize me in some way and break into my office shave their head you know and I’ll take pictures and put it on the internet whatnot because I was trying to restructure the bank and there had to be some restructuring people had to be let go. So it was ah an interesting experience. I had a lot of bullseyes on my back. But ultimately we prevailed and I believe it or not you know by 5 years I actually became quite good friends with the you know Kim Ji Sun who was head of the kebunion at that time.
Alejandro Cremades: Okay.
Robert Fallon: Who was very grateful to me when I was leaving to give me this wonderful gift of a isun shin a model a balsam model of isun shin’s turtleship that defeated the japanese armada back in 5096 you have to understand korean history and japanese history. But it it resonated with me and that was a great experience.
Alejandro Cremades: So then.
Robert Fallon: 1 of the things that I had to do though was I had to give my Agm as as a chair of a korean company in Korean so that was another tour to force so I had to basically be able to sort of at least mime enough Korean that I was credible in terms of giving a speech in it.
Alejandro Cremades: Wow.
Robert Fallon: And so even today I can stand there and say papuin ko de do you? Okay chumruke yuov. So come tell me you know about welcoming everybody and thank you for your taking time for your business schedule to listen to me but it was it was very much sort of rote learning because I I learned enough japanese and I realized the japanese and korean grammar were identical. And koreans a phonetic language. You can actually read it. So once I became proficient at reading it I could sort of sight read it and once I had enough of an ear tone I could actually kind of sound like I knew what I was talking about even though I couldn’t really understand when people would be talking to me. So um, that was quite a learning experience. But a little language goes a long way in any culture and if you’re willing to make mistakes and try people will always forgive. You.
Alejandro Cremades: A hundred percent so then at what point you know that’s promontory therapetics coming to the picture.
Robert Fallon: Well, um I I finished came back in 2008 from Korea and started teaching at Columbia International banking value at risk and enjoyed it very much. And did that but somewhere along the way because I was a trustee of the Ohio University Foundation one of these quarterly meetings you know of trustee meetings. You know they’re always showcasing something at the quarterly meeting. You know whether it’s the math department or the medical school and it was. Dr. Withindra Bose who was ahead of research talking about this new class of compounds that he had synthesized and why they were great and they were going to be a terrific anti-cancer compound and he’s got a national academy of science paper and I remember sitting in the front and and saying hey that’s pretty interesting. You know I’m sort of ah an amateur scientist I always like science. And so I talked with him afterwards and he he said you, you’ve really listened that’s great I’ll send you my pdf presentation I’ll send you my national Academy Of Science paper you can get a copy of my patent and. You know it seemed like every quarterly meeting after that we’d somehow meet up Dr Bose and I and have a conversation and next thing you know I’m going through the Edison Biotechnology Institute at the university looking at mouse models of which I really didn’t have much background but you know I mean if you’re willing to be open-minded and listen.
Robert Fallon: Um, and there’s a lot available in the inside you can kind of learn things and so the more I saw his passion and the more I tried to understand what he had done the more I said you know this this deserves a real commercial shot. So I marched into the president rod mcdavis and said rod you know this Dr Bose is a. Compounds that he’s invented I mean you got you got to give this a commercial shot but you got to get this out into into the commercial opportunity and he sort of looked at me. He said well, you’re a finance guy. Um you wanted to tell me what we should do right? We’re not Johns Hopkins went on mit we don’t have this big. Tech transfer a sausage machine would just put in the machine and out the door. It goes and I said all right, all right? Give me 6 months I’ll come back and I’ll tell you that you know what? what? I’ll do and um I really set out to do that and I thought to be honest I spoke with an ocologist I spoke with vc guys I spoke with the people in the in the. Biotech ecosystem in Boston and I was convinced that I was going to sort of come back to the president in six months and say you know I did this I did that but it’s not going to work for the following reasons. Thank you very much and I would have extinguished my responsibility but. Try as I may I couldn’t find the the sort of the chink in the armor and I kept scratching man saying now wait a minute wait a minute I haven’t come across some you know, unique, you know, Ah Miracle Drug so what am I missing where is this thing going to fall apart. is it going to be pricing is it going to be offtarget toxicity is this a you know but blah blah.
Robert Fallon: And the more I I get into this the more it was kind of like ah you know, sort of ah just a very organic light blossoming in my own interest that you know this is an interesting little. Molecule here this this class of molecules and there was 1 particular one which was the stereoantomer that we’re developing called pt 1 one 2 and I said this is this got to be hot and I I need to look at more of this and so next thing you know I’m putting some money up and doing a ah patent freedom to operate search and. And trying to figure out. You know what? I’m going to do and I was finished my teaching at Columbia and I was down in the the deli and I was talking to who is now my my my dear colleague and and friend and co-founder Matthew price at that time. He had graduated a few years earlier but he was working in a small boutique you know biotech investment bank. Ah, and um, we were talking about the industry and I sort of looked at some of his data and I said well look at this data and I pulled out some of this icfifty data from. Dr. Bose had given me and he said well what did you get that and I said well I’m kind of thinking about doing something here and he said no kidding. He said you’re kind of a finance guy and you’re going to do this and I said well I don’t know but it’s just I’m thinking about it and he said look I’m single I’m I’m very entrepreneurial.
Robert Fallon: If you’re going to do something like this. He said talk to me I’d like to do something like this too and it was very much very organic and 3 hours later the napkins are all over the place and the crumbs and the coffee cups. We kind of said. Well all right? Let’s take it to the next step we never ever you know did this thing where you you know. Plant the flag dare to be great. You know soar with the Eagles. We’re gonna we’re gonna build this. You know, ah this this huge success but it was very cautious step by step. Let’s put a little money in. Let’s investigate this all right? Let’s buy rent a little bit of space and might. Matthew you sit there and I want to do this I want to do that I kept teaching and I taught for another two years up until 2012 when now we had licensed in the the entire phos platinum suite of compounds from a honey university and we were hellbent to get to the Fda. To submit our I and d application I and d is your investigational new drug approval that is the first approval you get from the Fda that enables you to go forward and actually administer your drug to humans and there’s a whole series of protocols behind it in 3 years of work that you have to do preclinically tox toxicology studies chemistry manufacturing et cetera that has to be done to support your I and d application. So I learned a great deal. Um in doing that. But once we had the I and d now it was incumbent upon us to go out and raise money.
Alejandro Cremades: And I guess and I guess before going into into the racing money because I think there’s going to be very interesting just for the people that are listening to really get it. What are you guys doing at Promontory therapeutics.
Robert Fallon: And.
Robert Fallon: We are developing a novel small molecule immunotherapy that is immunogenic and Osteoropic now what do I mean by that immunogenic means this drug is is selective and is towards cancer cells. And will kill cancer cells in a very unique way. It’s not a standard chemotherapy. It is immunogenic. So what it does is it kills cell in a unique way that basically caused the cancer cells to release signalling proteins that are picked up by dendratic cells that alert the immune system. And then you get this amplification of the adaptive and the innate immune system that basically then takes over because chemotherapy you dose chemotherapy when you take the chemotherapy away the disease comes back. So it interdics the progression of disease but it never cures it immuno and immunogenic. Compound if you get lucky will not only you know stabilize and and stop the disease progression but will then recruit the immune system to take over and fight it. You know for a much longer duration and what we’ve seen in our clinical trials and we saw this early on in phase one we had. Some patients you know with with small cell lung cancer extensive stage. So this is the most pernicious kind of lung cancer. You can get and he’s this is a phase one trial so you’re doing dose escalation. We gave this guy ah enough of a dose.
Robert Fallon: That he started to respond find 6 cycles later. You know we we stopped the dosing because we had all of the safety data and this guy never had another systemic therapy and here we are now it’s almost four going on. It’ll be close to five years later this guy is still alive gone back to driving his truck. And just think that well that was a great drug right? And so when you have this kind of ah an epiphany it really it. It told me that you know god good old Dr Bose I mean he he knew what he was talking about and so that then um was. And an inspiration that you know we’re we’re we’re on the right track here because we could have easily had fallen on a face. The drug was too toxic or it just didn’t provide any efficacy and then we had along the way some other instances of these these responses that were just unusual in terms of their success. And yet. Yeah, we’d find if we went to talk to some of the Vc firms some of these guys are just predisposed to be cynical. They just say well. Yeah, but that’s a one off that could be an idiopathic response which is a very easy thing to say. But what it shows is a lack of intellectual curiosity and an ability to actually you know see what’s going on and so what we found is that in terms of fundraising we were able to attract high net worth investors and family offices much more these days. The family offices.
Robert Fallon: And the reason being is because 2 things number 1 um the capital is is is more patient and more thoughtful in terms of understanding what they’re about and they really they’re relationship oriented and they don’t invest easily but when they do that. It’s very very you know, um. I’d say patient capital because they encourage you don’t take shortcuts. Don’t try to push the company to an Ipo too soon. You know, get the the clinical data etc. So as we were developing our capital base this tended to resonate and the second thing that was advantageous was. We’re in cancer now. We’re developing early signs that the drug is is actually quite interesting and we would get responses from investors that would say you know I can give this money to my university but I’m going to give it to you not because I think you know you’re going to be a huge success I know this is a risky proposition and. Drug development. You know is a low probability of success but because it makes me feel good that I’m giving it to you because I think you guys will be very you know, professional in the way you manage it and I hope that you will be successful because then I will feel like I’ve done something and then they sometimes open up. It’s cancer. There’s a relative. There’s a story. It’s just they have a desire to want to do something and you know we’re not an e-cigarette company. It’s much easier for people to say I like what these guys are up to so the relationship side of it was important and the fact that the mission that we were on was also important and that resonates much more.
Robert Fallon: With individual investors and high net worth investors and family offices than it does with the vc guys I’m not disparaging the Vc guys at all I know that industry very very well but they are motivated because they have to generate an irr for their fund so they’ve got you know institutional money. And the institutional money is looking for. You know? Plus alpha they want to return that they can get disproportionates to what they can get just investing in in in the stock market and you get that in biotech if you guess guess well so they’re driven by get the company public. You know.
Alejandro Cremades: And it.
Robert Fallon: Get liquidity, try to get my return try to get my RR whereas that’s not the case you know with the ah the investor base that we have and we’ve been very fortunate because of that we’ve raised $74000000 to date and we’ve just just launching.
Alejandro Cremades: And how much capital have you guys raised today. Robert.
Robert Fallon: A another private round for 20000000
Alejandro Cremades: Now on the capital racing side of it. You know, finding those high nets I mean there’s probably like a bunch of people listening now that are like oh my God you know Venture Capital firms. They very public. You know who is who you know who is investing in what family offices and high networks. They’re very private. In fact, they even hire people to make sure that they’re not appearing on search and stuff like that. So What is a good way for finding out or or getting acquainted with some of those family offices and perhaps you know, being able to get money from them.
Robert Fallon: Um, I would yeah, you’re right, there is no you know family office dot com that you basically get a list of all of the family offices. It really is it’s it’s a relationship business and you have to be introduced by a trusted interlocutor and what we found is once we had. 1 family office invariably if we were doing another capital round and say you know would you be interested to meet somebody I’ve co-invested with and that has helped us plus there are some family offices that we have that are very sophisticated in the health the health life science investment sphere and so. They have also relationships with other people and they tended to introduce us around as well. So um, yeah, it takes it takes ah, it’s more effort because it’s not as easy. You have to hunt around. But if you are if you if you’re prepared to sort of develop the relationship. Um, it can be in the long run immensely ah supportive for you particularly take it you know during covid when our clinical trial enrollment basically was was in molasses because we had clinical sites like the mayo clinic say we’re putting the brakes on phase one and 2 trial. You know enrollment because we simply don’t have the staff that can handle it. We have too many outages doctors are out. You know, clinical trial coordinators are out schedulers are out and so we just found that our enrollment started to slip well beyond our expectations. But you know here we are. We’re burning cash right.
Robert Fallon: And you’ve got to get your enrollment up to get your clinical data.
Alejandro Cremades: So now let’s say you were to go to sleep tonight and you wake up in a world where the vision of the company is fully realized what does that world look like.
Robert Fallon: Ah, the vision of our company being fully realized. Um it would either be um, a successful, a successful strategic collaboration. Probably an acquisition by big pharma somebody that has the muscle and the capital and the regulatory heft. Bring this drug that we have ah to basically improve patient care throughout the world. We have assiduously basically developed our our ip you know our intellectual property patent portfolio internationally because of this our drug is a small molecule so it’s it’s not. You know it’s not cell therapy. It’s not gene therapy. So it’s not might hampered by the the sort of the ah the disadvantages that those modalities have of cost and quality. We’re a small molecule we can manufacture our drug. Um, it only needs to be refrigerated. It has a shelf life of of 2 years and counting so it can be deployed like to treat cancer patients in China and Indonesia in West Africa in Eurasia right in South Asia and this is my goal. This is my my dream. I don’t think we’ve got the muscle to do that on our own so we have to then have a large farmerarma collaborator and I know you know, given enough time because we’ve already had enough conversations. So they’re saying you know Rowan you’ve got mature phase two data. We have to have a serious conversation because what we see so far we like.
Robert Fallon: And you know they’re cautious. They’re they’re risk averse. Um, but you know we’re we’re quite hopeful that um you know we’re going to complete this phase two next year in the prostate cancer trial that we’re doing the data looks very good so far knock on wood and we know we have something which is a winner. We have to get it financed into phase 3 so that’s going to require. Ah, series b that’s when we’ll need to do the the substantial institutional investor around because now you’re talking one hundred hundred and twenty five million dollars series b but we all have solid phase two data and we ah actually’ve had enough dialogue with institutional investors that say yeah, you come back and we’re going to. Scale your capital. That’s the phrase they use which is good.
Alejandro Cremades: That that sounds amazing scale your capital I love that now. Robert if you were to go into a time machine and you go back in time to that moment where you were perhaps ah team. You know, wondering whether or not to take this thing on you know after the presentation at Ohio University and let’s say you had the opportunity of having a sit down with your younger self and you could give that younger self one piece of advice before. You know, pulling the trigger and and and going at it with the company. What would that be and why given what you know now.
Robert Fallon: And that’s a good question. Alejandro I mean I think the converse of that question is what have I learned you know from this particular path and it is that you know you have to be prepared for uncertainties and and hurdles along the way. Um, this has been twelve years that we’ve been doing this I thought initially starting out would be about 6 to get our our drug approved or to get the company acquired so I clearly misjudge that we didn’t anticipate covid we didn’t anticipate. You know the fact that the biotech valuations in 2021 would peak. There’d be a lot of companies struggling you know trading at negative enterprise values. All of those are headwinds. But at the end of the day we’re encouraged because the the data that we we have generated sustains us. It shows us that we have something that works that deserves and commercial opportunity. And by George you know we’re going to get there I mean I’m not going to stop until we have got this company successfully? yeah, launched either as ah as its own pharma company. You know as a public company raising money day and day out or will ultimately be acquired and that’s the more likely case because. That’s a faster path to get our drug distributed. You know internationally.
Alejandro Cremades: I Love that so rubber for the people that are listening that will have to reach out and say hi. What is the best way for them to do so.
Robert Fallon: Um, our fallon at promontorytx.com here
Alejandro Cremades: Amazing. Well hey you see enough you see enough. So Robert thank you so much for being on the deal maker show. It has been an honor to have you with us today.
Robert Fallon: Thank you very much alejandro. It’s a pleasure to talk to you as well and I’ll continue to listen to your podcasts. They’re always very very informative.
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