Reinventing Life Science Startups

Steve Blank (@sgblank) is the guy who told business schools to do away with business plans and start teaching aspiring entrepreneurs by having them try their hands at launching a startup and conducting research with potential customers. His teaching method, known as the Lean LaunchPad, it’s being taught in engineering and business schools at Stanford, Berkeley and Columbia Universities among others.

The latest group to show interest in Blank’s approach to entrepreneurship is scientists. Last October, Blank and a team of world class veteran investors taught the Lean LaunchPad to researchers and clinicians at University of California San Francisco to help them move efficiently their technology from an academic lab or clinic into the commercial world. The class was segmented into four cohorts: therapeutics, diagnostics, devices and digital health.

You can get a feel of the course by looking at the first two weeks of lectures, covering value proposition and customer segment, here.

You can also watch a summary of the differences found between the different cohorts in the following video:

Finally, these are the lessons learned by Steve Blank after his first immersion in Life Sciences.

  • Each of these Life Science domains has a unique business model
  • Commercialization of therapeutics, diagnostics, devices and digital health all require the Principal Investigators / founders outside their building talking to customers, partners, regulators
  • Only the Principal Investigators / founders have the authority and insight to pivot when their hypotheses are incorrect
  • The Lean Startup process and the Lean LaunchPad class can save years in commercialization in these domains
  • This can be taught
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