The Underlying Scientific Issues Making Biotech Startups Fail

Biotech startups rely heavily on the science behind their products. There are a series of common scientific challenges that may initially be overlooked but can determine the success or failure of a young startup.

Recently, a colleague drew my attention to a report about the top reasons a startup company might fail. After postmortems were carried out, failure was usually found to be due to an unwanted product, a lack of cash, and not having the right team, in that order.

Prior to joining Sean O Sullivan Ventures (SOSV) and its startup accelerator RebelBio, I had spent 15 years as a scientist, working both on the lab bench and at the business interface of other biotech startups. During that time, I became familiar with a set of problems often only recognized from the scientist’s perspective that seemed to arise in most companies to varying degrees.

So when I shared the report with a number of former colleagues and other scientists from the broader community, we came to the conclusion that the factors outlined by the report are indeed correct,

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