Periodically, BioCentury works with companies to produce Clear Route profiles. The goal is to explore in some depth a company's thinking about its strategy and key success factors.

Investors, who have access to a wide range of growth companies, are essentially "lazy." This simply means that given the size of the investment universe, they are more attracted to companies whose stories are readily understood, the timelines concrete and the earnings models conventional. In this broader context, biotech is a complex investment story with murky timelines and fabricated earnings models.

BioCentury therefore believes that the challenge for biotech management is to attract the attention of investors by showing them a "Clear Route to ROI" despite the lack of conventional investment markers.

Easier said than done, of course. But as a starting point, BioCentury suggests that each company must use its presentations and other communications vehicles to establish a real investment thesis and to open the door to further discussions with investors.

The Clear Route profiles provide examples of how companies are working to meet these challenges. This week's profile is in two sections. The first section - the profile itself - is the result of reviewing material supplied by the company, plus interviews with key executives. The second section discusses the kinds of questions BioCentury thinks investors might ask if the company had presented them with the same information.

Companies participating in the Clear Route profiles must have a certain confidence in their stories. In this context, we appreciate the candor and cooperation provided by CEO William Hagstrom of UroCor.

Like most popular ideas, disease management has become a cliche almost before it could become a concept. The way it's practiced by most large pharmaceutical companies, however, disease management is little more than an effort by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to induce customers to buy a basket of products chosen by the companies rather than the buyers.

UroCor Inc. is taking a different tack, basing its strategy on providing a full range of vertically integrated services for clinical urologists in what has been an underserved market. The company, which is profitable, is using its UroDiagnostics division to build a client base, act as a marketing channel, and fund the development of its three other business groups: UroSciences, UroTherapeutics and Urological Disease Data Institute.

Business strategy

UroCor's mission is to pursue diagnostic, therapeutic and information capabilities for cancer and other complex urological diseases. This includes capabilities to detect, diagnose, prognose, select appropriate therapy, monitor treatment effect and determine disease eradication or recurrence.