Common Pitfalls

By Sam Hall and Alastair J.J. Wood
Illustrations by Tomasz Walenta

Common Pitfalls

Concept and gestation:

  • Scientific founders can sometimes forget that they are running a business and not a lab. It is important to use the seed capital to drive the enterprise, and not just the science, forward.
  • Conversely, it is possible to rush a compound from discovery into the next phase - preclinical and expensive IND- (investigative new drug) enabling studies - without adequate understanding of the basic biology underlying the putative action of the compound, thus increasing the risk of an early failure.


  • Inadequate management of dilution.
  • Inattention to the need for skilled business leadership in addition to gifted scientific skills.
  • A rush into a premature licensing transaction with a legacy pharmaceutical company, resulting in loss of control of the compound and an inadequate financial return.


  • Designing and running clinical trials based on...

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Sam Hall is an Associate and Alastair Wood is Managing Director at Symphony Capital New York, NY.


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