1. Not taking care of ones data. Often a start-up or early stage company will have a bare minimum of personnel. The most common thing I have seen is storing biological and chemical data in flat files like spreadsheets or SDfiles. This makes them impossible to search, difficult to make sure everyone in your organization has access to the most current data, and prone to corruption and loss. Start-up scientist from an academic background often don’t know about integrated cheminformatic and high throughput screening data management systems. Scientists from a big pharma background usually associate these systems with expensive, cumbersome commercial systems, or even more cumbersome and expensive custom built systems.
The truth is flexible, easy to use, and cost effective systems exist that can solve all one data management issues. I recommend CDD Vault™ to my clients. It is a private hosted solution, using a familiar web interface, removing all of the overhead in setting up a database. Do yourself a favor, and check it out. You will simplify your life and eliminate the hassles of managing your data.
2. Doing without, when you can’t afford a full time hire. Time and time again, I’ve seen: Companies founded by biologists do without chemistry support, Companies founded by chemists outsource their biology, and Companies with both do without specialist input like computational chemistry, chem- or bioinformatics, DMPK-Tox, or preclinical research. It is easy to hire experts and affordable costs and keep them on call by negotiating a contract that guarantees them a minimum revenue to have them there when you need them. Victrix provides these types of arrangements all the time. I know other consultants do as well. If you need any of this kind of support, but can’t afford to a full time hire, we can help you find the expert you need with our extensive range of contacts.
3. Not having your outsourcing professionally managed. I’ve had significant experience in locating, negotiating and managing chemical and biological service outsourcing. I also make significant use of virtual assistants. If you need a project outsourced, or are interested in making use of virtual assistants to streamline your operations, schedule a free evaluation. We are running a 50% off special during the month of March. Our $10K outsourcing management fee is now $5K, and when your project is finished, you will be professionally trained to take over yourself on managing your project.
4. Bringing your big pharma baggage with you to a start-up. I’ve seen small companies saddled with the bureaucracy of a multinational company by well-meaning scientists who try to recreate the system they left behind at a large pharmaceutical company in their new smaller digs. All this does is make, what should be a productive, nimble small company as unproductive as a sclerotic giant. It’s natural to try to create the familiar in new circumstances, but often in creating a familiar cocoon we bring all the problems of the past with us. Remember you aren’t at a mega-company where 100’s of people need to sign off on new or changed projects, don’t complicate the simple. Do what needs to be done, even if it violates some rule you were taught at your previous big company.
5. Not keeping your eyes on the prize. Despite the fact that we would all like to have infinite time and resource to find the perfect drug, the issue is no one is interested in you until you have de-risked your compound through Phase II. This is the sad truth, but everyone should be focused on this goal and be working toward it.