In 2006, Shawn Blackburn and Jaimie Cook, database programmers, made a decision to launch their own company that would help pharmaceutical and biotech companies identify and overcome inefficiencies in their computer systems. As seasoned contractors, they worked on the service side within data collection and reporting software. Once in the systems, they were able to identify a client’s needs and provide customized solutions for more reliable data and reporting.
As owners of Y PRIME, they imagined an experience where clients’ systems went live on-time and on-budget and they created software to let clients realize this experience. The mission of Y PRIME became: solve the challenges to proactive management of technology used during the clinical-trial process. And, Y PRIME could do just that! Y PRIME harnesses information to help clients effectively plan and manage clinical trials. In essence, Y PRIME creates innovative and visual understanding of the sensitive ecosystem of clinical trials.
Shawn and Jaimie knew that Y PRIME had a much-needed and valuable service that could address the data collection and analysis needs of biopharma and biosciences companies. What they didn’t know was how to acquire the requisite resources to establish and grow Y PRIME into a viable entity. They decided to locate the company in southeastern Pennsylvania, where they grew up and went to school. They leased 3,000 square feet of office space in Great Valley Corporate Center – and launched Y PRIME.
Where can you go to obtain the business development resources required to grow a company? What kinds of employees and other assets do you need? Where do you find partners who can help you succeed? Searching for the answers to these and many other questions, Shawn and Jaimie were advised to contact Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC).
Using CCEDC Services
The CCEDC suggested that Y PRIME, since it was a small startup less than 8 years old, should consider enrolling in the Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) program, the precursor to the current Ideas x Innovation Network (i2n), the dynamic “incubator without walls” CCEDC initiative to assist emerging companies just like Y PRIME.
Y PRIME had the innovations, expertise, consultative experience, unique software, and, most importantly, the will and desire to succeed. i2n (Ideas x Innovation Network), a CCEDC initiative, supports emerging growth businesses by leveraging the assets of business partners and academic institutions (more than 25 different entities) and diagnostically provides a network of physical and virtual resources that are extremely useful to emerging growth, innovative startups. Those resources include assistance with facilitation of technology transfer and product commercialization, links to industry-specific programs, and support for real estate, training, financing, mentoring, legal and human services, and accounting. i2n then, as a business partner, worked with Y PRIME to access and utilize requisite resources including getting grants and tax credits that eased Y PRIME’s financial burdens.
The assistance provided by-and-through i2n enabled Y PRIME to grow its staff to 50 professionals and interns and receive the right training and consultation to keep the company on the cutting edge of clinical-trials technology.
Since 2006, Y PRIME has developed an impressive portfolio of customers including Merck, Teva, Shire, Allergan, Bayer Schering Pharma and other industry giants. Its new-found growth and stability has been essential in attracting new investors. In six short years, Y PRIME realized $5.5 million in revenues and has expectations of doubling that in 2013. It increased staff by 100%; created 55 new jobs in 2013; and, expects to create an additional 100 new jobs through 2016. This expansion will require up to 13,000 square feet over the next 3 years.
As frequent presenters at networking events, Y PRIME has boosted its community profile even further, personifying and exemplifying the entrepreneurial success story. As active members in the biotech industry, Y PRIME is a member of PA Bio and Pennsylvania Alliance for Capital and Technology (PACT). It also works with Downingtown STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Academy to nurture future innovators in the field. Most importantly, Y PRIME recognizes the value of giving back to the community in order to assure the quality of life for which Chester County is renowned.