A startup generally begins with a small group of individuals developing a service or product that can be scaled up rapidly as work progresses on their new project. Startups are often risky ventures, and the majority of them – as many as 90% – fail.
One way to mitigate the risk of failure is the commonly adopted strategy known as a “lean startup” where a product is released quickly, tested by consumers, then adjusted based on these consumers’ feedback. This often goes through multiple iterations during the product’s development lifecycle. Lean startups generally seek funding from venture capitalists and limit their core team to the initial developers themselves, with departmental roles that would be found in larger companies outsourced to specialist providers.
Biotech startups face even greater risks, due to the lack of ability to adopt the multiple iterations approach to product development as outlined above. It would be dangerous, unethical, and likely illegal to develop a new pharmaceutical product, market it to customers, and make changes to the product based on customer feedback.
Despite these risks, there are huge potential rewards to be gained from a successful biotech startup. According to Forbes, in the first two months of 2018, more money was invested in biotech companies than in all of any year prior to 2014. It is not uncommon for teams of 5 to 20 individuals to receive $20–$100 million in funding to accelerate the pace of their research and development. If a biotech startup is looking to expand its team, it needs to consider what employees to hire in terms of researchers versus support service staff, and the skill sets required among the team members.
Life science startups often include the postdoctoral researchers who were closely involved in developing the product or technology that the startup wishes to develop further and take to market. It makes sense to have these skilled people at the center of developing the concepts and science behind the product. In keeping with the notion of a lean startup, when this is possible for a biotech startup, there are a number of services that are not core to a team’s research and can be effectively outsourced. This will keep the startup’s overhead costs to a minimum and provide cost-effective solutions to many of the more commonly encountered needs.
Outsource Services for Biotech Startups
Specialized biotech incubator facilities, also referred to as biotech clusters, can provide laboratory space, office space, and high-end equipment for the implementation of new biotech projects. These sites often have highly talented, highly specialized scientists available who may be able to divide their time between more than one startup project. The chances of success are generally higher for a biotech startup that bases itself in an established biotech cluster due to the opportunities for collaboration with academic centers, medical facilities, and other biotech companies. Comprehensive research and development platforms are available that give small biotech startups the opportunity to work with important players in the field, including research institutions and clinical research organizations.
The most valuable asset of any biotech startup, other than its core team members, is its Intellectual Property (IP). A specialist legal team is essential to ensure that all rights and ownership of IP are retained within the company. This can be achieved by outsourcing this role to an external provider of legal services, which removes the need for an expensive, full-time in-house legal team. These legal service providers would also be able to assist with issues around company registration requirements and contractual arrangements for employees, investors, and other business partners.
Accounting and human resources (HR) are additional services that may be outsourced. There are increasing numbers of individuals and companies who provide these types of services online, and who are specialized in the field of startups. The role of personal assistant can also be outsourced, with many virtual assistants offering their services through professional platforms like LinkedIn, Upwork and others.
In most instances, there is not a need for a biotech startup to have an in-house marketing or public relations (PR) department. Specialist companies can provide these services.
Information and Communication Technology services (ICT) can also be readily outsourced, which removes the need for an in-house team of network or hardware experts. There are a number of companies who are specialized in providing ICT services to biotech companies.
There may be other startups working on similar products or technologies, so it is important to keep your team focused on the most value-added tasks in order to streamline and automate as many of the routine monitoring tasks in a laboratory as possible.
Automate Monitoring Tasks
XiltriX, a laboratory monitoring solution, provides a comprehensive solution to the automation of routine monitoring tasks. Any number of sensors, instruments, and equipment can be monitored, with measurements collected from these assets in real-time by the XiltriX system.
Data is collected and securely stored in the XiltriX cloud-based storage system. Notifications and alarms of potential problems, deviations, or failures with equipment or laboratory facilities are sent when needed to relevant facility and laboratory staff. The system monitors all parameters all the time to ensure everything is running smoothly and staff are free to focus on their science and get a good night’s sleep when they are away from the lab. If anything were to go wrong, organization’s are notified immediately to take timely and appropriate action. XiltriX acts as a safety net that provides your biotech startup with protective layers against any potentially damaging equipment failures or process errors. This aids in ensuring the success of your newly funded biotech startup.
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