Finding calm amongst the storm: Commercialisation in biotech

Just like a ship trying to navigate stormy waters, the biotechnology environment can be dangerous!
Biotechs looking to commercialise their ideas need to be able to respond to a rapidly changing environment that is influenced by globalisation, increased market competition, financial pressures and the advancement of new technologies. What do you need to do to not only find calm in the storm but to ensure that your product, service or process is a commercial success? In our experience, there are three key things you will need to consider.
1. You will need a map!
If you are in the early stages of commercialisation it is important to clearly identify the market for your product. When brainstorming ideas, be entrepreneurial and look broadly at markets that are available for your technology and focus on defining products and services that address a market need, rather than solely focusing on technology. Clearly identifying your target market and the potential demand for your technology at an early stage can help to drive your product development strategy, and ensure that the best value proposition is put forward to investors and the market.
2. Protect your competitive advantage
If you have the first mover advantage on a great new product or idea it is important that you keep clear water between you and your competition. Intellectual property often represents a significant proportion of an organisation’s value and therefore understanding its value is critical in monetising that value.
That value may change over time, as market conditions and the importance of the intellectual property change.
Commercially, it is a good idea to develop an intellectual property strategy to help you pursue future trends and gaps in the market strategically, and monitor competitors’ activities and predict their next move. This strategy should drive product development and minimise the risks involved in developing new products.
3. And don’t forget about funding
To convert an early stage “proof of concept” into a product or service for market it is almost inevitable that you will need someone else’s money, especially if you need regulatory approvals. If you are a small or medium sized biotech it is likely that you will need to explore various funding options to make your dream a reality.
Our advice: plan and collaborate. Structure your business so that it is investor-ready; implement a business plan with clear timeframes for when you will need capital. Establish strategic alliances with more established biotechs; find commercialisation partners who share your goals to provide support on top of existing channels of government funding.
While there are never any certainties as to what will be successful in the market, taking a broad view of the market, exploiting the full value of your intellectual property and positioning yourself to maximise interest from investors and the market can make a big difference in unlocking the true potential of your idea.

Written by Sarah Chia and Scott Hunt