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Starting a Company Requires Time, Timing, and Temperament

With the explosion of biotechnology and an ever-increasing emphasis on technology transfer from the basic-research laboratory to industry, more and more life scientists are examining the potential economic benefits of their work. Some choose merely to license their patents, but others decide to establish for-profit ventures. Scientists who are also entrepreneurs warn that starting a company is a serious undertaking. It takes a dedicated person with the right temperament who's willing to put in

Robert Finn
With the explosion of biotechnology and an ever-increasing emphasis on technology transfer from the basic-research laboratory to industry, more and more life scientists are examining the potential economic benefits of their work. Some choose merely to license their patents, but others decide to establish for-profit ventures. Scientists who are also entrepreneurs warn that starting a company is a serious undertaking. It takes a dedicated person with the right temperament who's willing to put in a great deal of time and effort. And all that effort might come to naught if the scientist misjudges the market for his product, or if investors--who do not always act rationally--decide that certain industry segments are temporarily out of favor.

According to Sandy Weinberg, professor of entrepreneurship at Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa., it's critically important for more scientists to enter the business arena. "Right now science decisions are being made by businesspeople, [but] from...

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