Six Things to Think About When Starting a Life Sciences or Biotech Company
There are many reasons why an individual might be motivated to start their own life sciences or biotech company. Perhaps they worked for one and, seeing where it was going wrong, want to make a better job of it. Maybe they have had a career in academic research and now want to put their experience to practical use. Or it’s possible that some illness or condition has had an effect on them or a loved one, inspiring them to contribute to the discovery of new treatments.
Successfully launch your Life Sciences startup or Biotech Company
Whatever your reasons for entering this industry, there are some important considerations to address if you are to launch your life sciences startup successfully and maintain a healthy growth curve through the crucial scaleup journey. Here are six of the most urgent ones.
1. Identify a Need
The life sciences and biotech industries are highly competitive and require significant funding. It’s essential that you identify a need that has so far not been met with your life sciences startup or biotech startup. Not only does this give you a better chance of finding a market, but it will also help you to secure the venture capital you’ll need to see you through the lengthy development, testing and accreditation process.
In addition to finding an unfilled gap, you need to investigate why it remains unfilled. Have previous attempts failed, and if so, why? Do alternative answers already exist? It’s important not only to find a problem but also to be confident about finding its solution.
2. Secure Your Intellectual Property for your life sciences startup
Patents are essential in life sciences and biotech industries as the foundation of your revenue. This remains the case however large the company and is especially true of early stage European biotech companies, whose patents represent another important attraction to venture capital investors.
If you believe you’ve come up with a genuine innovation, whether a drug, a technique or a device, you need to protect it against copying and theft. But before you can do this, you need to be certain that it’s genuinely new and that nothing else exists which could invalidate the uniqueness of your claim. There is a section on the UK government website which allows you to search patent registries. If necessary, you could seek legal advice.
3. Be Sure of the Science
The single most important thing investors will want to know is that your operation and your ideas are founded on solid, verifiable science. It’s extremely helpful to obtain peer review of your work because this is precisely the kind of validation that will open the door to grants, funding and industry partnerships. The more eminent the colleagues who review your plans, the more persuasive the results will be.
4. Understand the Regulatory Regime
Every business operating in healthcare needs to comply with strict legal requirements. In 2022 much of the existing provision is being revised and this will affect the use of data, clinical trials and the application of AI tools and medical devices. AI, in particular, is the subject of a new strategy, which will remove the blanket approach to AI regulation and introduce a sector-specific set of policies. Data protection law may also undergo changes in order to simplify what the government calls ‘complex, dispersed and layered’ provisions and bring clarity to the question as to how data can be used in scientific research. We can also expect to see a new regulatory regime for clinical trials to encourage efficiency in research and development.
Regulation of the healthcare industry is in a state of transition, so it would be wise for any life sciences or biotech startup to be familiar with the regime that exists as well as the proposals for change.
5. Choose the Right Life Sciences or Biotech Startup Business Model
As soon as you make the move into business, you’re exchanging academic freedoms for the disciplines of a ‘for-profit’ organisation. Naturally, your vision is to improve the health and well-being of the whole of society or specific sectors but you have to make money by doing it. Most of the time, the products from life sciences businesses are paid for by insurance companies. They might end up in the NHS, but that won’t be your initial target market.
The problem with the insurance process is that it takes time and money, especially if you’re trading internationally. This can make your cashflow vulnerable. An alternative is to sell your innovation to a large pharmaceutical or diagnostic company which has the resources to disseminate the product. A third option is to enter into a co-development deal, which is another way of spreading the load.
6. Interrogate the Market
It may not be enough simply to identify the unmet need we’ve discussed. You need to prove that your solution is something people will use. Here it’s useful to distinguish customers from end-users. Your customers are those bodies to whom you intend to sell your products and the end-users are the patients or individuals who will derive the physical benefit. Customers may understand the value of what you’re doing, but they need to be convinced that the general public will be receptive.
You can gather helpful intelligence on this by talking to doctors and other medical practitioners to find out what their ideal treatment might look like. It’s also worth speaking with patients, although your ability to do this will be relatively limited. Nevertheless, even a small sample of interviewees can provide valuable insights into the likelihood of a significant takeup. The relative popularity of, say, injections, inhalers and slow-release capsules will help you design a delivery method that will meet the best response.
Need help establishing your life sciences or biotech company? Get in touch with ScaleX Consulting for expert business and life sciences recruitment advice that’ll will serve your company for years to come.
If you found this insight regarding biotech startups and life sciences start up interesting, we recommend reading 7 Ways to Maximise your Biotech Startup Recruitment Strategy (scalexconsulting.com)