Some successful biotechs look to build an ‘end-to-end’ entity from R&D to commercialisation, bringing their product(s) to market themselves. For other biotech companies most of their attention remains on their R&D profile. Among those which are R&D focused, some take a ‘diversify approach’, expanding the number of assets significantly across multiple therapeutic areas and relying heavily on revenue generated through collaboration deals to progress assets past pre-clinical and Phase 1 stages. Drugs are often set to be co-commercialised with a partner. Others generate value in a similar vein but via a more ‘focused approach’, driving R&D forward with limited investment in diversification while creating optionality for a potential launch or out-licensing deals.
Five key dimensions to succeed in the scaling journey
Clearly, as research shows, there is no single winning blueprint for maturing successfully, and blueprints alone cannot provide success. Instead, our experience and research suggests that biotechs that mature successfully are those where the management team makes strategic and measured choices spanning across five dimensions:
1) the breath of assets or trials to develop
2) the prioritisation of markets
3) the extent of use of partnerships or collaborations
4) the balancing of scientific considerations with market access
5) the timeline to pursue.
By balancing these dimensions (figure 6) biotech companies are in a position to build the right capabilities and teams, galvanize the organisation and implement their chosen route to scale successfully.
It is not sufficient to just plan and implement a route to maturity; a biotech company's management team must routinely reassess their position and decide when a change in path is needed. A clear understanding of the choices to be made across dimensions and a blueprint matching the company’s profile and ambitions makes it possible to navigate the scaling journey successfully.