Factors to Consider When Choosing a Life Science Partner

Selecting the right life science partner is a critical decision for any biotech company. A successful partnership can help drive research and development efforts and lead to the successful commercialization of products. Crossing both the scientific and business side, here are some important factors to consider when choosing your next life science partner.

Intellectual Property

One of the first things that you will naturally look and even be aware of beforehand is the potential partner’s pipeline and its associated IP portfolio. Look at the strength of their portfolio and try to get a grasp on their current strategy for managing and protecting their IP to serve as a basis for your own partnership.

When reviewing the IP portfolio, it’s important to examine aspects such as the validity and enforceability of its IP rights as well as assessing that they are free of any third-party claims. Failing to conduct thorough due diligence of any IP may lead to your organization incurring significant costs and a collapsed partnership.

Financial Stability

Any partnership agreement should of course have the necessary financial resources to back it. Assess the other party’s financial strength and take a look at their willingness to invest and their track record of financial stability. Other important financial factors that can give you an indication of their financial stability include their revenue, profit growth, debt levels and funding sources.

The importance of analyzing their financial stability is even more crucial depending on your role in the agreement. Milestone payments and royalties being paid to you can provide a great form of revenue and so failure to receive them in the event of the partner organization’s funding streams being hampered could prove costly for your company.


The partner should have a high level of expertise in your chosen therapeutic area in terms of both scientific and, depending on the case, manufacturing capacities. If, for example, you are a biotech start-up looking to partner with a big pharma who are seeking to expand into your therapeutic area, look at the team behind the project and see what individual experience they offer in that particular field.

Regulatory Compliance

Lastly, a strong point to consider when choosing your next life science partner is that they possess a strong track record of complying with the relevant regulations and standards. This serves as a vital risk mitigation measure and can of course ensure the safety of the collaboration’s eventual product. This, in turn, can prevent any legal and financial consequences further down the line.

On top of all this, it is crucial that the other organization is a cultural fit and share similar values that will carry for the length of the partnership, particularly when the alliance is between a big pharma and a biotech start-up. The collaboration and communication streams should be well-defined with ideally a single employee that can serve as the contact person for each company and take care of the day-to-day tasks like admin work and information requests.