We asked life science entrepreneurs for advice on how to prepare for success as an entrepreneur.
Question: What advice would you give to someone in the life sciences who wishes to prepare to create a biotechnology startup?
A male biomedical and pharma entrepreneur responded
- Early in your career ecome a world expert in a field in which you have identified a severe, unmet medical or scientific need.
- Work at a biotech startup or an academic lab that has spun out a business or two. This is where you will find mentors. A female life scientist who completed a few years as a researcher at a startup confirmed, “Working in a startup is one of the best ways to learn how to launch a startup of your own.”
- Volunteer to help your mentor review and write SBIR/STTR grants.
- Accompany your mentor to meetings with venture companies where he or she makes pitches in front of potential investors.
A female biotechnology early entrepreneur working on her Phase II SBIR proposal responded
- Energy and enthusiasm are key.
- Form strong partnerships. They will help you move from one technology readiness level to the next.
A male biomedical technology early entrepreneur working on his Phase II SBIR proposal said.
- Have a high tolerance for failure; view it as a learning experience. He had three submissions not funded before his first SBIR was funded. Continue to apply; be persistent.
- Have many relationships to maximize opportunities for resources, learning, and collaboration. Engage advice from experienced peers and agency representatives.
Consolidated advice from multiple webinars for biotch entrepreneurs includes.
- Get a business coach.
- Write a one-year plan and set goals for each quarter.
- Having a highly eclectic background helps. Try to learn many aspects of the biotech industry.
- For women, connect with groups that support women entrepreneurs, in the sciences, or as leaders. Example: WeCanRise, a community with the goal of lifting up and accelerating women in leadership positions.
A female biotech general manager for Takeda UK and Ireland, Şeyda Atadan Memiş, said
Success in the life sciences is driven by “understanding the challenges and needs of patients, having a good relationship with stakeholders, and building a good reputation with people and society” (Pharmaphorum, 2022).