The Secrets of a Successful PhD Entrepreneur

You have successfully finished your PhD program, and you want to start your own company because you think you have a great idea that can be transformed into a business. What do you do?

Just do it!

That’s what Steve Issacman would recommend. And that’s what he did himself.

Inspired by his uncle, Issacman started his own company right after he finished his PhD program in 2008. With a few creative ideas, some careful planning, and an incredible drive and determination, his company was profitable the first year. Today, the company is thriving with multimillion-dollar funding from the NIH and other places, and a few of his products are in clinical development stage.

How did he do it?

Here is Issacman’s story, and advices.

The Entrepreneurial PhD Who Is Set to Address Unmet Medical Needs

7 Commonalities among Successful Industry Scientists

The Road to Success - Words on Arrow Going Up

I love stories, people’s stories. As a trained scientist, I especially enjoy reading stories about other scientists. When reading their stories, I am interested to find out how they got into the field, how they managed to get where they are today, and the key factors that have contributed to their success.

Recently I had a chance to interview and write profile articles on dozens of well-established scientists working in the chemical industry, and I found out that they share the following commonalities.

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Ready, Set, Go, and Keep Going!

Perseverance pays off. The message stuck with me when I was writing this month’s profile article on Wendy Young for the American Chemical Society.

Young, vice president of discovery chemistry at Genentech, has a stellar career that makes many people envy.  As a graduate student, she was part of the discovery team that invented Alimta®, one of the most effective chemotherapy drugs for the treatment of lung cancer. As a research scientist and project team leader at her first biotech job, she helped discover and move multiple candidates into clinical trials for oncology and thrombotic indications. As a vice president of discovery chemistry at Genentech, her team has significantly contributed to the discovery of more than 17 clinical candidates.

Drug discovery and development, however, is not for the fainthearted. As Young said in the profile article, “There are a lot of failures before you hit on success.” And “You have to be willing to keep getting up after being knocked over.”

To succeed in the field of drug discovery and development, Young believes persistence is a must. I believe the same is true with any profession, scientific and medical writing as well.

Continue reading “Ready, Set, Go, and Keep Going!”