Updated: May 11, 2021
Biotech innovation is expensive and rarely do individual innovators get to go through product development without outside help. Bringing on a strategic partner is a popular way of raising funds for biotech startups to raise funds. Different partners come with different vested interests. Some will be there for philanthropic purposes, for example, NGOs like the Bill and Melinda Foundation who are known to fund promising medical solutions to global problems. Some partners are in it for the monetary promise of innovation. As an innovator, you will need a partner for;
Product development in medicine is expensive and capital intensive. You will need several million to come up with a working product, which may then be approved or rejected by the authorities. A partner with the financial resources smoothens the process ensuring the product is developed in optimal conditions, which raises chances of success.
Intellectual and technological resources
Partnering to combine intellectual and tech resources are common in biotech where trade secrets are tightly controlled. You may need access to some formulae or proprietary software whose owner is uncomfortable in allowing access. This necessitates combined efforts as each side works on its side of product development.
Medical products are highly regulated, requiring lots of paperwork, licenses, and other legal approvals. This could tie up product development in red tape for years, delaying opportunities to deliver the product when needed. This is truer in a foreign jurisdiction. Sometimes it is necessary to take on a partner who can cut through these hurdles.
It is not uncommon for some brands to lock markets, especially in developing countries. Product trials may require access to such markets which is easier by bringing on a partner who can enable access to such markets.
It is important to have an exit strategy when entering a partnership. A comprehensive legal agreement should define the scope of the partnership including responsibilities of, and benefits to each partner. This is crucial to guard your innovation.
As an innovator, you will likely need help to overcome one of these barriers and hurdles. You should not be shy to take on partners who can help get the product to market. The most important thing is giving a partner a good reason to come in, drawing up the partnership with your eyes wide open, and having an exit strategy when the usefulness of the partnership is done.
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