Create a Scientific Competitive Advantage

We invest into your research effort because you have (or will hold) intellectual property to an exciting technology or research than can potentially spawn multiple blockbuster+ products. This is a scientific competitive advantage, and we want to know how you intend to maintain and enhance this advantage, perhaps over decades. Ten years from now, when today’s breakthrough becomes common knowledge, where do you intend to have moved to maintain your advantage?

We’re not interested in published papers: we’re interested in blockbuster products. Your mandate is to become recognized as the industry leader in this research area through results in the marketplace (and word-of-mouth). This means no one can do better than you at leveraging the next breakthrough in this scientific area. You team is the first to recognize the breakthrough no matter where its origin, and the best of the best seek you out when they think they have a breakthrough. You’re known to be the best at translating breakthroughs in this science area into commercial success.

We are best at the science and we simultaneously pursue dozens of potential commercial products based on this science. Individuals stay together for a dozen or more years working on multiple products that repeatedly leverage the same scientific expertise and the same professional relationships. This is very tactical. Day to day work can be on any of dozens of commercial products, and can change from day to day as new evidence emerges.

We envision 150 - 200 professionals, with a full complement of skills from research, commercial and commercialization+ functions. All feel their membership+: sharing of insights and seeking opportunities to work together happens daily and at a tactical level. This is small enough for everyone to get to know each other: it is big enough to develop a scientific competitive advantage thereby attracting the talent needed to achieve the commercial goals.

Man with no Medical Training Cures Cancer in His Basement Illustrative Headline

We provide a home for investigation of potentially disruptive technologies. For example, today cancer drugs work by delivering toxic substances (i.e., platinum) to tumor cells. Working in his basement and using his wife’s pie tin as a parabolic reflector, Stan Kanzius discovered he could heat up small metal particles in the body by bombarding them with radio waves. If he could deliver metal particles (i.e., gold nano-particles) to tumors then he could heat them up and cook the cancer cells. The delivery mechanism to the tumor could be similar to that used in many of today’s cancer drugs, but instead we deliver innocuous gold nano-particles and heat them up with a full-body radio-wave bombardment (which is otherwise harmless to normal tissues). How different this is from today’s conception of drug development!

Being the best in a research area is the basis for a technology-push that spawns multiple blockbuster products. In the pharmaceutical industry, you select a technology or scientific area common to all cells, and then investigate blockbuster potential across multiple tissues and diseases. In the materials sciences you select a material with unique properties that can span multiple applications in technology and machinery. In the movie industry, you specialize in specific technologies (e.g., rotoscoping) that allow you to explore potential in several genre of film, and perhaps in other multimedia outlets. Being the best, means you are continually improving the research and technology, opening up even more markets for derivative products.

Being the best in a research area is the basis for a customer-pull that spawns multiple blockbuster products. Our customers have unmet needs, and we match our technology and research skills against those needs. The patent, our intellectual property, covers both the technology and the unique application of the technology (e.g., method patents). This is a synergy between our intimate understanding of customer needs, and the marriage of those needs with our technological capabilities. Since we’re the best in a technology, we’re the best at understanding how that technology can adapt to meet specific customer needs.

Crucial to our decision to invest in a technology is a demonstration of how that technology can be commercialized. Being the best in a research area means we best understand how this research fits or can be adapted into a potential commercialization stream. Having research or technology that is dramatic at the molecular level gives little insight as to how this research or technology will scale up to commercial volumes and profit margins. We assume there will be a thousand obstacles and we show how we can address the better part of those obstacles.

Our investment into a research effort is therefore an investment into the scientific and commercial potential of the effort. We want to maintain a scientific competitive advantage, but only as it relates to blockbuster potential. This is not science for the science’s sake. Our definition of scientific competitive advantage is commercially-derived, but it is not exclusive of a purely scientific estimation of that advantage. Our philosophy of the scientific pursuit is that it should work toward building an understanding of “big picture” issues – which by our industrial definition of World Class R&D are blockbuster products.

Home Page June 2010