Predictable Failure (and How to Avoid It) for Early-Stage Life Science Companies

Life science founders are technical experts in their fields, but frequently fail to understand the needs of the stakeholders who will determine their path to market. This gap sends investors running, and all but ensures immediate or eventual company failure.

Once aware of this gap in knowledge, many are:  

  • Overwhelmed by the complexity of the stakeholder ecosystem;
  • Resistant to doing the work required to close their knowledge gap;
  • Unfamiliar with the resources available to them in order to do so;
  • Unaware of the “unknown unknowns” and therefore fail to conduct their investigation in a comprehensive and organized way; and
  • Unable to assimilate collected information into a strategic plan.

These problems are preventable if only founders follow a robust, methodical process that allows them to discover to understand the needs and motivations of each stakeholder in their stakeholder ecosystem and develop a plan to close this gap. Doing so significantly de-risks their business model, while providing them with a framework from which to create an evidence-based product development plan.

In this whitepaper, Dr. Lucia Mokres breaks down the six major stakeholder categories relevant to most life science companies and shares key strategies for closing the knowledge gap between founders and their market success.


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Company team

Dr. Lucia Mokres

Founder and Principal, Araneae Biotech Consulting

Dr. Lucia Mokres is a Life Science Consultant based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She specializes in coaching early-stage companies through Stakeholder Ecosystem DiscoverySM, allowing them to gain traction and develop an investable technology and business model. She also loves rolling up her sleeves to help companies at all stages meet urgent medical, scientific, regulatory, and clinical project deadlines, leveraging her broad experience and expertise to rapidly get up to speed and produce high-quality deliverables.

Prior to establishing her consultancy, she was the Chief Medical Officer of EpiBiome, Inc. In this role, she provided medical oversight and strategic direction for all clinical development activities, defined regulatory strategy, supported marketing and business development activities, and served as the medical point of contact for external stakeholders. She was a key contributor for investor pitches and was an invited speaker nationally and internationally on the challenges faced by early-stage companies seeking product approval or clearance. She led EpiBiome through the NSF Innovation Corps and several other incubators and accelerators.

Prior to joining EpiBiome, Dr. Mokres served as a medical advisor and program manager in the medical device industry. She completed her postdoctorate at Stanford University School of Medicine, and graduated from the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

In her spare time, she mentors other early-stage companies through the Springboard Enterprises and California Life Sciences Institute advisory programs, and mentors women completing their PhD and postdoctoral studies on behalf of the Association for Women in Science. Learn More

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