The UK is a different place from the US in terms of its business culture and how easy it is to obtain money to fund companies. The US is much more dynamic and clearly much more successful in biotech. That can be seen by the existence of large independent biotech companies in the US and the constant willingness to look for and adopt appropriate models to solve the problems encountered in the different parts of the biotech sector.
The list below is based on personal observations of how the UK biotech sector could be improved.
- More ambition in attracting money into biotech, including consideration of non-traditional sources of funding. That means thinking about how to present the technology to investors who are not able to easily understand it. Investors know that investing in biotech is very risky. However VC’s do operate in this area and they are well placed to develop ways of quantifying and mitigating risk.
- Being up to speed on trends and fashions that will affect the sector, and trying to position oneself to take advantage. For example knowing how big pharma is investing in biotech and becoming capable of working with them.
- Leaving IP to the experts. Patents are very important in giving value to a company. Patent attorney advice is expensive, but needs to be sought at an early stage. It is good to place oneself in the position of knowing what one needs to know about IP and having some awareness of what future filings look like.
- Participating passionately in the biotech and finance community. Being open to all the different activities that will assist one’s commercial goals, including government lobbying,and forming alliances.
- Knowing about the different research models to adopt, and what will and will not work. Do not assume any part of the organisation has considered all options before investigating that fact.
- The UK seems to need an effective way of publicising biotech inventions which are available to commercialise. Perhaps a central database of some sort.
- Identifying and taking advantage of all the available information. Most things have been done before, and if so someone, usually in the US, will have written about them on the internet. US experiences are not necessarily directly relevant, but they will provide a starting point for what needs to be thought about.
- Develop a very positive culture about solving the many problems that will be encountered.