Biotechnology is one of the world’s leading producers of health innovations and revenue. In 2020, U.S. biotech companies were funded a
total of $99.4 billion and U.S. and European firms were valued at 11 billion USD.
With the industry being capable of so much in terms of healthcare revolution and profit, biotech and biopharmaceuticals should strongly consider bringing in medical doctors to work as consultants in niche product development.
As a medical doctor and a leader in biotech consulting, I know that the best biotech ideas are those that are propelled by a mixture of passion, intelligence, and collaboration. Here’s how medical doctors can help product development for biotech companies and biopharmaceuticals.
How to Start this Budding Relationship
Whether you are a medical doctor or in the biotech industry, joining forces can go a long way in creating successful business relationships and allowing your biological innovations to flourish for the future of healthcare. There are two sides to every coin, as we know, so understanding these relationships is first and foremost really important.
Biotechnology companies range from emerging technologies like AI, CRISPR, 3D printing ligaments, and VR training for medical professionals. Much of the industry is dominated by biopharma, understandably, but there is plenty of room for other innovations for use in hospitals, physical therapy clinics, neurotherapies, and surgeries. Of course, medical doctors most notably have a niche in what they can service, but it may surprise you how you can
lend your knowledge.
An orthopedic surgeon might think that they could only contribute to innovative tech in surgeries, techniques, or modalities, but they can also contribute to new biopharma medicines for recovery, emerging technologies for prosthetics, and genetically personalized surgery.
The Value Proposition of Medical Doctors in Product Development
The realization of the medical doctor’s value proposition is important because as a doctor, you have to know how to connect with established biotech firms and startups. If you head to the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference with nothing but enthusiasm, you’ll likely meet a great group of people but you may be hard-pressed to form a fruitful relationship.
While biotech firms and entrepreneurs regularly attend conferences like J.P. Morgan, they most likely already have a niche, an idea of what they want to work on, and a realization of their broader goals. It’s most important for you to realize how you can contribute to these firms so that you can properly educate yourself on the companies that attend these conferences and then be able to sell your services, experience, and knowledge.
Likewise, businesses and account managers should also educate themselves on the ways that medical doctors could contribute to the production of their next technology, service, or drug. Doctors come with a wealth of knowledge and it’s virtually untapped in the private sector.
Doctors are designed to help people, and when given the opportunity, they will provide as much information and experience as they can. This is an absolute wealth of information that can provide education to your product development team, improve the product, ensure that the product touches on your audience’s pain points, and modify the product to better fit the market need.
10 Ways Doctors Can Help Biotech Firm Innovation
Medical doctors understand the pain points. Half the time, the pain points are that of their patients. And other times, doctors know what can be done and simply want these products to be made for use in their clinics.
How doctors can help will of course depend on the niche of the product. However, they should be consulted at every step of the product development process.
Here’s how to integrate medical doctors (researchers and clinicians) in the product development process:
1. Idea Generation and Conception
No matter what biotech niche your company is in, coming up with ideas is primary to your overall business success. It takes millions to billions of dollars to fully develop a product, so you need it to be successful. Coming up with a good idea is the hardest part, and fully fleshing out that concept so you know that it will work is critical to success.
Medical doctors can absolutely play a large role in this stage. They have the ideas that companies need because they are working with your target demographics every day. And they understand the pain points. Not only that, but they can also properly position your next idea or concept to fill the capabilities of the company and increase business partnership potentials.
2. Market Research
Once you have a good idea, you have to hit the ground running in market research. This aspect will determine the likelihood of success with your product, including the niche target markets that it will hit.
Your medical doctor partner is well equipped to support you here because they can direct you not only to the right areas of the market but to consumers and other business-to-business (B2B) development companies.
With a medical doctor on your side, you can basically cut market research in half, saving your company a lot of money.
3. Business Plan Development
Depending on your stage of the funding process, you may need to come up with a business plan. With the knowledge provided by the medical doctor, you can have a rich and dense business plan that would impress your target audiences, whether that is investors, shareholders, or business partners, letting them know that your product is viable and likely to succeed.
This will lend a hand in acquiring funding, allowing you and your company to create the best product with more funding than you could get without a medical doctor by your side.
Medical doctors might come with their own funding, or have business partners, advisers, and other angel investors in their back pocket. This is because they navigate towards like-minded people to help and support each other’s ideas; not only will these people be able to lend a hand financially but they may be able to help with aspects of the product development itself. They may also be able to pitch your good idea to interested parties, securing grant money or academic research funding on your behalf.
Regardless of how it happens, your great biotech idea will need funding and doctors are well equipped to help.
5. Design and Production
Once you’re in the design phase, you definitely want an expert on hand. In fact, they can help you go from vision to execution, turning your biotech idea into a reality.
Doctors can go in or connect with manufacturers to ensure that the research and technology are up to par. If there are updates in the field, they will have the means and resources to provide these updates, ensuring that your product hits the market need.
Depending on the type of product, your doctors may be able to assist in the actual design of the product too!
Prototyping is necessary for most physical products, and your doctors can help you create your first few prototypes. They can then inspect the prototypes and work closely with those manufacturers on basic changes that they know need to be made. This will help your company to avoid time spent in beta testing, especially when the doctors know that the product isn’t quite right.
7. Beta Testing
If your product prototype is fully developed, then you’re ready to beta test that! This will mean that the product is in the hands of consumers, other B2B businesses who will use the product, and is being tested for its actual purpose. They can be on-site to facilitate this process, helping to explain how the product works and to show consumers its value.
Depending on your type of biotech product, beta testing can be time-consuming and expensive. You want a doctor on your side so that you can cut to the chase and make it worth your while.
8. Consumer Feedback
Your consumers will have feedback once they first get their hands on your product. You’ll want an expert doctor on hand to help facilitate this feedback. They can help with translation (from consumer need to product parameters) and they might also be able to test this product with their own consumers.
Most of the time, the doctors are wanting your product to be developed. Allowing them to contribute at this stage will create a fruitful partnership!
9. Product Improvement
Throughout the entire lifecycle of the product, it will need to go through some improvements. Whether that is still at the beginning or as the technology updates, you can always bring your doctor partner on as a consultant. They will be able to look at your product and alert you to obvious and not-so-obvious improvements so that they are made before your consumers bring this to light.
Medical doctors with the knowledge, passion, and experience in your field will keep you ahead of your competition!
10. Marketing and Distribution
Of course, marketing and sales are key to your product’s success. You definitely want a doctor on hand to help you out here as they will likely want to use your product and then they will be easily able to promote that product to their colleagues and partners.
Your doctors are knowledgeable and respected in many social circles, including on social media platforms. Take advantage of this with a successful marketing relationship!
Your next big idea can save lives, drastically improve surgical procedures, or allow someone to walk when they never thought they would walk again! This is why you need a clinical champion by your side.
Work with me, Dr. Vonda Wright, to help bring your ideation to execution. I’ve worked regularly with entrepreneurs to build innovation into the fabric of work environments and in the digital, biotech, fitness, and femtech industries.