The ability to build a BioTech always starts with amazing science, a strong intellectual property, a unique point of differentiation, and a team that can deliver on a promise. The best place to start is by determining an unmet medical need that your technology can solve.

How to Start Your BioTech Startup With Your Idea

Although your invention is designed to help people, the profit motive has to remain in the back of your head at all times during the following steps. At this point, you’ve already created something, or you’re close to finishing your invention.

The BioTech industry changes quickly, so you don’t have to hire employees who perfectly fit a position. If someone is flexible, adaptable, and willing to grow, they’re perfect for BioTech.

It’s also important to empower your team with the tools needed to collaborate and communicate effectively. In a cloud-powered era, accessing the best tools and solutions which are both cost-effective and scalable is easier than ever.

From all-purpose platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom to industry-specific solutions like Cobra ELN which are oriented around lab work and BioTech project management, employees in all positions will appreciate the assets you offer them. If you want to attract the top talent, this could very well be a necessity, rather than just a nice-to-have feature for your fledgling firm. Now, it’s time to talk business. 

Intellectual Property Evaluation (Non-University)

An Intellectual Property (IP) refers to patents, trademarks, or copyrights granted for a creation that is novel, useful, and non-obvious. In pharmaceuticals or biopharma industries, IP can refer to technology such as a medical device, a biological discovery, or a synthesis of a drug.

A patent gives you exclusive rights to prevent others from using, making, selling, or importing your invention without your prior consent. In BioTech, completing this step is important, but for the patent to go through, the claim must be meaningful to the product, not the method.

Your patent has to be relevant to commercial interest, aka it needs to be something sellable and marketable. Academic claims are required when making a patent but aren’t the focal point.

University Tech Transfer Offices (University)

If your IP was created in a university lab, you must speak with a Technology Transfer Office (TTO). A TTO manages the commercial activities for academic research within a university and typically brings technology from the university to the market before it can be sold. 

Before consulting a TTO, you must review your formal template agreement that discusses what happens when an IP is generated. Most universities will review if the IP is considered a commercial opportunity, which requires preliminary vitro data and vivo animal data.

After the initial assessment, the university will create a patent application and ask their academic experts and consultants questions regarding commercialization. They’ll also discuss your cut. Most IPs belong to the university and divide revenue amongst the inventors.

With that said, inventors can get more out of the deal by negotiating. Universities tend to have a close relationship with their founding scientists and will co-invest with a venture fund.

After universities agree to commercialize your product, the TTO will help de-risk it and make it investable. They’ll also introduce you to venture capitalists and commercial partners.

Create an Invention Journal

Investors will ask you about the history of the technology, how you gathered your data, who helped with the project, and your competitors because that determines you know your industry. Works cited, and copies of your discovery research reports will back up your claims.

To avoid destroying your inventions value up-front, make sure you:

  • Keep detailed records of your inventions.
  • Own your IP before going to the industrial research stage.
  • Create a disclosure with a confidentiality agreement.
  • Review and adhere to material transfer and confidential disclosure agreements.
  • Review your patent before publishing scientific data.
  • License your invention instead of offering it for sale.

If you don’t know a thing about your invention or patent law, investors will see that as a red flag and refuse to help your startup. For this reason, consider investing in a patent attorney.

Finding a Patent Attorney

Scientists make a good point for why their invention is helpful in their market, but they aren’t great at structuring a company or putting their corporate presence in front of the people that fund them. A good patent attorney can structure a business plan and evidence for their patent.

Patent attorneys can also explain why investing in your product or service is safe and solve the ownership issue. Once your invention starts making money, some of your constituents will claim that they contributed to it, which could land you in legal hot water if this isn’t sorted.

From Small Discovery Research to Industry Research 

Industry research is more rigorous and disciplined than initial discovery research. You likely conducted research on your invention, but small companies can only offer poor-quality data. But, now that you’re prepping your invention to sell, it’s time for the big leagues. 

To receive appropriate data, you need to understand your value proposition or what you’re providing to the client/customer. Ask yourself these questions to create data and validation:

  • What market am I selling to?
  • What is my competition doing?
  • How will my invention impact the market?
  • What are my regulatory hurdles and milestones?
  • How much will it cost to create a commercial product?

For your data to be usable, it has to be reproducible by a high-quality lab and have some sort of Vivo efficacy if your model is disease-relevant. You also have to have some knowledge of clinical outcomes and endpoints to determine your trials costs, lengths, and stopping points.

Clinical Trials and Analysis

To articulate to investors your invention is safe to sell, you need three things: a technical and commercial assessment and a target product profile. Here’s why:

  • A technical assessment evaluates the program’s technical progress measured against planned performance, requiring you to identify and monitor design-related risks.
  • A commercial assessment evaluates key drivers, market uncertainties, internalized market dynamics, market potential, potential revenue, and competitors. 
  • A target product profile defines vital factors for a new pharmaceutical invention, including the target patient population, clinical differentiation, dosing, format, delivery method, Standard of Care, efficacy vs. trial endpoints, and a safety or side-effect profile.

By filling these assessments out through clinical trials, you’re one step closer to finding second-round investors. However, there’s a possibility that your invention won’t produce positive results the first time or through subsequent tests. If this happens, you may have to start again.

What if I Receive Negative Results?

Although small businesses have a lot to lose when a negative result appears, it’s essential to accept this reality and adjust if possible. Early feedback that an invention isn’t feasible, either clinically or commercially, allows you to kill the program before it reaches the public eye.

It’s important to do everything you can to fail early at this stage because your reputation and human lives are at stake. One failed product won’t always spell the end to your company, especially if you have substantial backing and an experienced team who’s willing to try again.

What Do Investors Want?

Angel investors, venture capitalists, and industry partners flock to scientific fields because of their money-making potential. When launching a BioTech company, attracting investors is incredibly important. Loans and bootstrapping are typically not enough to fund these projects.

The whole reason why this article takes an in-depth dive on how to best impress investors is that it’s nearly impossible to start a BioTech company without them. 

With a well-executed IP, a management team, and a patent lawyer, you’ll easily fund your company in its early stages. Investors are looking for scientifically-backed products that hit new targets, create creative clinical strategies, and produce robust drug packages.

But, investors are ultimately looking for cooperative teams with an unbreakable dynamic. They want to know that you’ll pull through rough spots and near-death experiences that all startups face. While you don’t have to be the CEO of your company, someone has to be the leader.

How to Build a Team

At this point, you’ve patented your product, gone through clinical trials, and attracted investors. 

Now, you have to hire experienced people and develop a strategy. There are several positions you need to cover on your team including, but not limited to:

  • IP Manager: To manage, supervise, and develop your IP portfolio.
  • CMO/Regulatory Person: For analysis, strategy, and operational support.
  • Commercial Lawyer: For negotiating your investment agreements.
  • Advisory Board: To serve as an objective voice for your projects.
  • Business Development Partner: To introduce you to new strategic partners

Above all, don’t forget to bring on the fun, passionate people who want to make a difference. 

With most BioTech companies, their three key motivators are having fun, changing the world, and making money, so yours are likely similar. Science is all about discovery, and you need a creative team to hit your company’s goals and keep moving towards the next promising project.