An Introduction to Bioentrepreneurship

“I think the biggest innovations of the 21st century will be at the intersection of biology and technology. A new era is beginning, just like the digital one,” states Steve Jobs, founder of Apple. It refers to the process of creating value and establishing a business from Life Sciences. The Life Sciences sector remains today one of the most innovative and prone to research and development (R&D) both scientifically and technologically including: biomedical research (immunology, neuroscience, cancer etc), genome sequencing, bioinformatics (statistical treatments). 

Bioentreprises are mainly built upon 4 main domains: pharmaceuticals (for example drugs developed from microorganisms are increasing), agriculture (for example genetically modifying food crops to increase quality and decrease diseases), biofuels (for example bio based fuels for transportation or energy), food processing/additives (for example vanillin responsible for vanilla flavor can be produced from bacteria instead of being extracted from vanilla pods from Madagascar). 

In contrast to other industries, bio/biotech startups are subject to the highest regulations particularly in the food and clinical grades. They need to be safe for consumption and successfully pass clinical trials to be commercialized. There are 4 main stages of clinical stages: preclinical stages (conducted on animals prior to humans), phase I (up to 100 healthy volunteers), phase II (several hundred people with the disease/condition), phase III (300 to 3000 people with disease/condition) and phase IV (thousands of volunteers with the disease/condition). 

Often, bioentrepreneurs have a STEM related background and complement their business skills by enrolling in an entrepreneurship course (covered topics may include business development, marketing, investments, management). Your idea should be unique and address an identified problem within Life Sciences. As such, a market niche with little competitors and proposing a solution which can generate profit. Important points to bear in mind is your freedom of operation (FTO) and intellectual property (IP). 

Featured Courses

The CPD accredited courses are carefully crafted to help you gain in-depth knowledge on a topic of your interest.

To protect your idea, you may file a patent to prevent others from stealing your idea(s) and generating revenues from them. However, your developed idea may also use processes or components which have been developed by others and to which you may need to pay royalties to use them. If not you could be subject to legal liabilities and forced to pay substantial amounts. As such your freedom of operation may be more limited than you think, make sure you conduct a comprehensive patent analysis. Numerous are the examples of patenting wars between businesses and large pharmaceutical companies.