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Attributes of Successful Scientific Founders

Attributes of Successful Scientific Founders

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Attributes of Successful Scientific Founders

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  1. Attributes of Successful Scientific Founders UNC OTD April 29, 2010

  2. Overview • Passion for the science • Big idea vs clever idea • Outside funding $10 million up • Potential revenues $200 million up • Exceptional talented individuals • Many differences • Always interesting, usually fun

  3. Tenured Professors / Entrepreneurs Commonalities • Work system to their advantage • Lab, University, across organizations • Good results from people • Believe in mission • Effectively communicate, persuade • Always have an angle/plan

  4. Big Idea Scientific FounderProfessional Characteristics • Tenured • Credibility • acknowledged leader • Academic pedigree • links to fame • Far reaching concept • ambition to see work commercialized • want to start a company

  5. Personal Characteristics • Creative • Objective? – Not Objective? • “true believers” • Honest in looking at the data • Difficult? • Vision • See global perspective • Instinct on commercialization • Willing to not make every decision • Recognize where others have better judgment/expertise

  6. Company / Founder Relationship “Recognize that a shift from basic research to translation research to preclinical and clinical studies is less and less creative and free wheeling and more and more regimented and following prescribed steps.”Ryszard Kole, Ph.D.Professor, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Founder of Ercole Biotech, Inc, Senior Vice President, AVI BioPharma

  7. Ryszard Kole, Ph.D.founder of Ercole Biotech, Inc • Recognize that the goal of the company is NOT to prove that the founder's idea is right but to make a product. ….requires input from people with diverse expertise, ….means that the founder will have less input & control …..that the ultimate outcome may be determined by factors (unmet medical need, IP, competition, market, funds etc) that have very little to do with founder's science. • This does not mean giving up on science, but it is crucial to recognize these factors to maximize chances for success.

  8. Company / Founders lab Conflicts • Conflicts of Interest? • Believe lab/company success benefits both • Commitment of time

  9. Money? • Accumulate personal wealth? • Not a primary motivating factor • Additional funding for lab? • A result, not a reason • Once money in the company • Allocation is sensitive • Economic objectives priority

  10. Risk • Easier for Tenured • Comfortable with risk • Believe in technology • Typically other people’s $ is at risk

  11. Co-founder perspective • Is idea big enough & broad to make company? • Is scientist credible? • Track record, pedigree • Is scientist “presentable” • take to Lilly, Sand Hill Road, Palo Alto • Fit • Personal • Add by each party

  12. In the ActOnce the company starts • Catch on very quickly • Start out green, soon • Really like it • Recognition • organization built around their ideas • Pace of activities • Impact • Competitiveness • Pitching their ideas