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Lean start-up: a case study in the establishment of affordable laboratory infrastructure and emerging biotechnology business models.

INTRODUCTION

Historically, innovation in the biotechnology sector has relied to a large extent on the expensive infrastructure provided by universities or large pharmaceutical companies. This prohibitive start-up expense is the basis of why garage-style biotechnology entrepreneurs are exceedingly rare as compared to their software and high-tech counterparts. Biotechnology entrepreneurs also face the additional challenge of inflated reagent and consumable pricing. This stems from the proprietary nature of many research products, and as a result of most research being ultimately supported by public funds.

In recent years, consolidations among pharmaceutical companies and the release of next generation research equipment has led to a surplus of pre-owned equipment in the secondary market. The equipment surplus has substantially reduced the barrier to entry imposed by limited equipment access. In the present case study, we examine the biotechnology start-up company Ichor Therapeutics, Inc., and review strategies that the founding team has successfully employed to establish an affordable laboratory, promote information sharing among team members, reduce research expenses, and guide scientific discovery. We then discuss corporate structuring strategies used by the company to reduce risk and provide stability.

BACKGROUND

Ichor Therapeutics, Inc. was founded in May 2013 with a grant from the Life Extension Foundation, a private entity that supports scientific and medical research related to the prevention of degenerative disease. The primary focus of the company is to address a known bottleneck in the field of regenerative medicine: (1) deriving hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) from human pluripotent stem cells. Briefly, HSC are a type of adult stem cell that resides in the bone marrow and maintains the hematopoietic system, which includes all immune and blood cells, throughout life. Bone marrow and cord blood transplants are useful in clinical practice to treat a wide range of diseases because of the presence of HSC within grafts. After transplantation, HSC migrate into and repopulate the hematopoietic system of the host. Unfortunately HSC are extremely rare, representing only 0.05% of bone marrow cells, so a chronic supply shortage persists. (2) Developing a scalable manufacturing process to produce HSC from pluripotent stem cells would address this unmet medical need.

A start-up company focused on stem cell research is an excellent case study because the infrastructure requirements are extensive. While many labs require basic laboratory equipment for mammalian cell culture (incubators, laminar flow hood, inverted microscope), molecular biology (shaker incubator, electrophoresis equipment, refrigerated centrifuge), and analytics (flow cytometer, microplate reader, fluorescence microscopy), Ichor also required liquid handling robotics for medium-throughput screening of differentiation protocols and a vivarium (suitable for housing severe combined immunodeficient mice) to assess the function of its cellular products in vivo.

BASIC EQUIPMENT AND CONSUMABLES PROCUREMENT

One of the highest barriers to entry for a biotechnology start-up is the significant cost of establishing a basic laboratory, as the acquisition and maintenance cost of equipment has historically been prohibitive. The last decade has been marked by consolidation of large pharmaceutical companies and the closure of many early stage biotech companies. However, this market volatility has nurtured a healthy secondary equipment market that can help to overcome this barrier. (3) Secondary markets include offerings at online auctions and through used equipment vendors. Regardless of where equipment is obtained, buyers should confirm the availability of user manuals, technical schematics, replacement parts, and free software before making a purchase. Failure to do so may result in unexpected post-acquisition expenses. For example, a used Molecular Devices Vmax absorbance reader can be purchased online for as little as a few hundred dollars. However, these instruments rarely include software, which must be purchased from the manufacturer at a cost of $4,119.00 (Molecular Devices, 2013, personal communication).

Reagents used during the normal operations of a biotech company present another major cost to potential entrepreneurs. Commonly used supply companies have universities and government funded labs as their primary market, and as a result of those labs buying in bulk to negotiate discounts on consumables, the list price of those same consumables have increased. The authors highly recommend comparing prices between small specialist supply companies, as the list prices from these sources can be significantly lower than the list price of larger suppliers.

PURCHASING AT AUCTION

Online auction websites generally provide the largest savings when buying equipment, but offer no guarantee of item quality or customer support. The variable nature of online bidding means that item cost can be extremely dynamic at different times, even on the same website. For example, purchasers at Ichor observed that winning bids for an identical product at auction ranged from $50.00 to $3,750.00. Therefore, groups that purchase through auction should study winning bids for similar items over time to set a realistic bid ceiling and identify the best deals. Using this information for proxy bidding--a process by which a maximum bid for an item is set by the bidder, and then the auction website automatically increases the bid up to this limit in response to other bidders--is particularly useful to help bidders avoid overpaying for highly competitive items.

The inability to purchase essential items on-demand, uncertainty about equipment quality, and lack of warranty, make auction purchasing better suited for teams with flexible timelines for equipment procurement and the expertise to repair and service equipment in-house. Groups attempting this strategy must accept that some items will inevitably need to be thrown away. However, the cost savings over time should more than justify the losses, provided a responsible bidding strategy is adopted throughout. (4)

Importantly, some universities have policies that prohibit investigators from purchasing equipment at auction, either directly or indirectly. This issue can be further complicated when the equipment purchased qualifies as a fixed asset. SUNY Research Foundation defines a capital asset as, "A single item with an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more and has a useful life beyond one year." (5) An investigator may purchase three damaged units for $5,000 each at auction, and re-use parts from two of the units to repair one unit with a refurbished value of $30,000. However, it may be difficult for the investigator to throw away the two units that were scrapped for parts because of Foundation policy. Even donated assets present a potential problem because they are assigned the fair market value at the time of acquisition. Finally, most institutions require investigators to obtain quotes from a minimum of three vendors for equipment purchases. Collectively, it is advisable for academic investigators to contact their purchasing department for specific policy information relating to auction purchasing and other forms of equipment procurement before bidding.

PURCHASING THROUGH USED EQUIPMENT VENDORS

Equipment resellers are a faster, more reliable, but generally more expensive means of acquiring equipment as compared to purchasing at auction. (6) Some used equipment vendors employ in-house technicians to refurbish used laboratory equipment to factory specifications before putting the product up for sale, while others simply acquire cheap equipment at auction then directly resell to customers without servicing or recertification. Because of this, the quality of goods purchased through resale vendors can be superior to those found at auction, but ultimately each vendor must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. One major advantage over auction purchasing is that many used equipment vendors offer extended warranties on refurbished equipment, reducing purchasing risk for the buyer. Further, fewer institutional policies exist that prohibit academic investigators from purchasing from used equipment vendors as compared to purchasing at auction (SUNY Upstate Medical University Purchasing Department, 2013, personal communication).

As with other retail companies, stagnation of inventory for used equipment vendors is often undesirable because of the real cost associated with equipment storage. (7,8) Because of this, these vendors are generally motivated to move inventory quickly and may be willing to part with items for far less than the advertised price, especially if an offer is made on an unpopular product. Vendors will often accept low offers when several items are purchased at once for the same reason. Previous price reductions on equipment are generally a good indicator that the interest in the item is low, and the vendor may be willing to sell at a reduced price to move inventory.

By default, purchasers at Ichor make starting offers of not more than 50% of the asking price when purchasing from the website of a used equipment vendor. Even these offers are only made after carefully studying pricing trends and product availability through auction and other vendors. Approximately half of these "low ball" offers are accepted immediately, which supports the usefulness of haggling for start-up companies looking to stretch limited seed capital.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND SPECIALTY EQUIPMENT

COMPUTER WORKSTATIONS

Integrating personnel into a cohesive team is a persistent challenge at any company, and this challenge can be exacerbated during periods of rapid growth in a startup environment. Streamlining information sharing and communication between researchers and administrative staff is essential; not only to promote efficiency within the team, but also to reduce growing pains as the company expands over time. For early stage start-up companies, hiring information technology support staff or project managers to improve laboratory efficiency can be prohibitively expensive. Fortunately, there are several free off-the-shelf solutions available, depending on the specific needs of the team. Ichor uses several of these platforms to manage its workflow, including Dropbox, Evernote, Zotero, and Quartzy. Although these tools may not be appropriate for some applications, such as those involving sensitive patient data, they can suit the needs of many laboratories. Of note, it is generally advisable to implement these solutions early while the team is small, rather than later, when the adoption of change may be more difficult to encourage.

Dropbox is a free cloud-based storage service that automatically syncs data between computers and devices. (9) Ichor created a company Dropbox account (free up to 2 GB storage space, $9.99 per month for up to 100 GB) and installed Dropbox on all workplace computers. All team members are given their own folder to organize as they see fit. A team folder was also created that contains pertinent information, such as spreadsheet templates for common calculations and data acquisition, user manuals for equipment, and company documents, such as expense reports. Syncing data across all workplace computers increases the availability of core infrastructure because data can often be obtained on the computer attached to the instrument, but analyzed later on a general-use workstation. Because Dropbox is cloud-based, physical backups of files are generally not as necessary. Dropbox and similar services are ideal for labs with modest or low hard drive requirements, but may not be suitable with computationally intensive projects involving large data storage.

Evernote is a free cloud-based notebook client that automatically syncs data between computers and devices. (10) Evernote is customizable and is capable of handling a variety of different file types and sizes. Users are able to annotate imported spreadsheets and images, and can also attach raw data to each annotation. This helps to streamline management within the laboratory. Supervisors may review the notes and results of a team member, but can readily access the raw data for their own interpretation as needed. A personal Evernote account is free, and integrated business accounts can be added for a $10/user per month fee. Each team member at Ichor has personal and business notebooks, the latter of which is shared with other company employees. Notebooks are synced automatically across all devices. An employee's information can be maintained in the business notebooks, but company policy permits team members to make copies of non-confidential information, such as basic protocols, in their personal notebooks for later use. This policy is particularly helpful for temporary employees, such as interns or collaborators, who come to the company for technical training. When any employee leaves the company, their business account is archived and can no longer be viewed by them, but the account remains accessible for current employees to reference.

Zotero is a free cloud-based tool that organizes peer-reviewed journal articles using a searchable interface. (11) It automatically syncs data between computers and devices. Content may be collected and organized by each individual user. Zotero also supports a group feature where users can share information with one another through a central repository. Ichor uses a Zotero group to streamline document sharing among its team members. Training new employees is simplified through the use of a "new hires" folder, which contains literature reviews and protocol collections of relevance to the company workflow. New hires are able to copy this literature into their individual libraries and annotate documents all within the software. Importantly, Zotero can also integrate with common word processing applications like OpenOffice and Microsoft Word, automating bibliography and in-text citation formatting during the preparation of manuscripts for publication or grant submission.

As the needs of a laboratory become more sophisticated, management software like Quartzy, a cloud-based platform, can be used to centralize order requests, track inventory, store laboratory records, and schedule equipment use. Vendor supplied programs can also be useful to augment workflow by centralizing service requests. LabLinker, for example, allows researchers to schedule services such as DNA sequencing and primer synthesis.

Collectively, there is a wide selection of affordable information technology solutions to promote laboratory efficiency and improve communication. Ichor regularly surveys its team members at laboratory meetings to identify workflow bottlenecks, and then uses this information to seek out technology solutions to address them. Team members then provide critical feedback of new solutions during trial periods before a decision is made to rollout the software company-wide. This cycle has helped Ichor to establish a company culture where efficiency is valued and promoted.

LABORATORY AUTOMATION

Laboratory automation solutions may represent one of the most underutilized and cost-effective benefits of engaging in used equipment purchases. Liquid handling robots in particular have broad applications in the laboratory. They are adept at performing repetitive tasks, and generally have less random error than human technicians. (12)

Ichor utilizes traditional embryoid body formation as a preferred method of inducing pluripotent stem cell differentiation, and purchased a used Biomek 2000 (Beckman Coulter, USA) at auction (GoIndustry, DoveBid, USA) to automate the process. Briefly, embryoid body formation involves detaching pluripotent stem cells from their growth surface, and transferring them to culture dishes with low adherence in the presence of media containing factors that promote differentiation into desired cell types. Because the new growth surface has low adherence, the pluripotent stem cells self-aggregate to each other rather than the plate surface, forming spheres termed embryoid bodies. The size of the embryoid body influences the differentiation process, so it is important to control this variable when optimizing differentiation conditions. (13,14)

To enable sterile work including cell culture, a customized semi-sterile enclosure was constructed for the Biomek 2000 using basic materials from a home improvement store at a cost of less than $550.00. The functionality of the robot was greatly enhanced by the development of several custom 3D printed tools, which cost less than $5.00 each to print. To validate the system and demonstrate proof-of-concept for its utility in embryoid body formation, production of CD14+CD45+ monocytes from pluripotent stem cells using an embryoid body method was successfully automated on the Biomek 2000 (Eric Zluhan, 2014, manuscript in preparation).

Collectively, liquid handling robots have the potential to dramatically improve workflow and reduce labor expense in a lean start-up environment. They can be substantially augmented to support unique applications with a little creativity and minimal capital. If planned carefully, automated methods can be designed in a modular format that provides short-term value by performing basic processes, yet enables convenient module integration for more complex applications in the medium or long term.

VIVARIUM

Assessing the function of human pluripotent stem cell derived products in vivo represented the most demanding infrastructure requirement for the company. Human cells cannot be evaluated in standard laboratory mice because they will be rejected by the host immune system. Instead, severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice need to be used. These genetically engineered mice have deficient immune systems that permit engraftment of human cells; but by extension, they are also hypersensitive to otherwise benign pathogens and must be housed in specialized clean rooms to avoid death from opportunistic infection. (15)

To accommodate this need, Ichor built a customized 11' x 9' clean room that utilized a two-tiered positive pressure system. Vinyl flooring (16) was installed and the room was then subdivided with standard 2" x 4" studs (17) into three smaller rooms, including a viewing room, a gowning room, and a clean room. The rooms were electrically wired on two circuits, one controlling LED lights installed for basic lighting, the other controlling germicidal fluorescent light bulbs (18) installed in under cabinet light fixtures (19) for disinfection. The walls were constructed with reflective insulated sheets (20) and an observation window, sliding glass door, and interior door were also installed. Air was filtered with HEPA allergen removers containing carbon filters (21) and piped into the rooms through galvanized heating duct. Three units were installed for the clean room, and one for the changing room to create a tiered positive pressure gradient. A blow-off was also installed in the clean room. The clean room and gowning room were sealed with silver foil tape (22) to maintain pressure and control air flow.

To promote a pathogen free environment, each room (walls, floor, and ceiling) is disinfected with 70% isopropyl alcohol and UV light every two weeks. To assess relative air sterility, LB agar petri dishes are placed uncovered inside and outside each room for 45 minutes then covered and grown overnight at 37 [degrees]C. Colonies are then scored and recorded.

Although the clean room design may not be appropriate for all applications, available data suggest it is effective at protecting the company's SCID mice from infection. In over 9 months of operation, clean room LB plates have not grown a single bacterial colony, and no detectable or discernable infection has been observed in laboratory mice. The cost to construct the vivarium was $2,259.52($879.52 materials + $1,380.00 labor) and up to 15 cages can be conveniently housed in the clean room. This is in stark contrast to an estimated $43,164-$45,144 a commercial-grade vivarium of similar size. (23)

BUSINESS MODEL

It is well known that most biotechnology companies inevitably fail because of the high risk associated with clinical research and development programs. Surprisingly, few founding teams take this fact into consideration when developing their business plans. (24) For small startup companies, cash flow may be detrimentally turbulent. When an early stage start-up company runs out of operating capital, its assets are often liquidated and the resulting capital is returned to investors. Losing basic laboratory functionality can prematurely terminate an otherwise viable venture and it can take many months to rebuild necessary infrastructure, even after raising new capital. At Ichor, the preservation of laboratory access has been prioritized. To accomplish this, Ichor uses multiple corporate entities to manage its business and research programs. These entities reflect a mixture of traditional high-risk biotechnology research and development, but are stabilized by more conservative business structures.

Ichor Therapeutics, Inc. functions as a contract research organization. Research and development activities, including employee payroll, are performed through this entity. Ichor Therapeutics, Inc. operates the online store WeCellStuff.com through a DBA to obtain wholesale pricing on reagents and consumables. As a contract research organization, Ichor Therapeutics, Inc. can perform work for hire in addition to its intramural research, which helps to offset overhead. This strategy has a long history of use by biotechnology companies at all stages of development. (25)

In 2014, Ichor Therapeutics, Inc. diverged its capital assets to a separate corporate entity, Ichor Laboratory Solutions, Inc., which leases laboratory equipment. As a leasing company, Ichor Laboratory Solutions, Inc. is able to utilize more conservative financing, such as low interest debt financing, and is not dependent on grants, research contracts, or dilutive investment to support its operations. Because the Ichor team is skilled in asset procurement, equipment leasing can be used to increase revenues or support other companies and entrepreneurs of strategic value.

Real estate in Central New York is inexpensive as compared to other regions in the United States. Ichor Therapeutics, Inc. has partnered with Kelsey Moody & Associates, LLC, which is owned and operated by Ichor's CEO. Through this agreement, Kelsey Moody & Associates, LLC can issue convertible notes instead of collecting rent, allowing Ichor Therapeutics, Inc. not only to persist, but remain operational during periods of insolvency. Through this partnership, Ichor Therapeutics, Inc. also provides various tenants shared access to its research facilities. Although indirect, including a real estate component to the broader company structure has stabilized Ichor Therapeutics, Inc. and allows the founding team to make strategic decisions that focus more on the medium and long term, rather than short term, success of the company. In recent years, graduate students have become more focused on entrepreneurial ventures and careers in industry, rather than the pursuit of traditional academic appointments. (26) A strategy involving real estate acquisition may be particularly well suited for young graduate students who expect to complete many years of study in one location, and lend necessary stability as they build out their own biotechnology start-ups.

In an effort to reduce the burden of high consumable and reagent pricing for its research and development activities, Ichor has established an online store WeCellStuff.com, which is a distributor for several manufacturers. Although online sales provide a small basal level of revenue for the company, functionally, it permits Ichor to receive wholesale pricing on these items for its own intramural research programs at considerable savings.

One consideration of using a multiple company approach is that investment deals are complicated. A company with active contract research activities, leasing, and real estate may actually deter investors who want the flexibility of investing only at the level of a specific research program. To overcome this obstacle, Ichor has designed its business structure to support the incorporation of subsidiary intellectual property holding companies. Investment funding is received at the level of the subsidiary, and Ichor Therapeutics, Inc. (the contract research entity) is contracted by the subsidiary to perform the research, while the subsidiary retains resulting intellectual property. This structure provides numerous advantages to all parties. The investor benefits because start-up expenses are reduced, they can invest at the level of a specific research program, and they are not subject to any liabilities or other risks associated with other ongoing activities (equipment leasing, real estate, etc.). Forced liquidation of company assets is not a factor, so the company achieves its goal of preserving access to a functioning laboratory. Employees can be repurposed to work on other contract projects during periods of turbulent cash flow, enabling the founding team to maintain a competent workforce.

It is important that entrepreneurs understand that a multiple company structure should be planned for early, but should be executed slowly over time. The cost to maintain a corporation can range from approximately $250-$5,000 per year (depending on corporation type, state fees, and the extent to which accounting and legal services are sourced). When dealing with several corporate entities, a new entrepreneur should be careful to balance corporate needs with financial realities. For example, capital assets and research intellectual property were contained within Ichor Therapeutics, Inc. during the early stages until the business was sufficiently mature to benefit from diverging these components into distinct companies. Making this sort of move too early can put a new venture at risk of being "nickel-and-dimed" to death. Spin-off companies should contribute to growth and reduce risk, not contribute to either.

For entrepreneurs who want to focus exclusively on technology development or lack sufficient capital or assets to benefit from the aforementioned strategies, community laboratories are an attractive alternative. These laboratories can range from small do-it-yourself (DIY) hobbyist labs, the so-called biotechnology "hacker spaces", (27) to large institutional biotechnology incubators. (28) DIY-shared spaces can be rented for low monthly membership fees, whereas institutional incubators rent out dedicated suites that contain both office and wet laboratory space. To subsidize the expense of maintaining expensive core facilities, many academic universities offer per run or per hour pricing for equipment use, so even the most expensive equipment is often readily available for use. Collectively, the savvy entrepreneur can creatively utilize these and similar solutions to overcome the accessibility barrier, despite significant financial constraints.

EMERGING BUSINESS MODELS

At the most basic level, the focus of Ichor has been to create a network of companies that can sustain a pre-clinical research and development pipeline. Other companies, at all stages, have found opportunities to establish sustainable infrastructure. Functionally, this is a balance of reducing operational expenses and increasing revenue. One of the more interesting and increasingly popular emerging motifs is to apply laboratory automation technologies to improve experiment reliability, drive down costs, and offer early-stage revenue. This strategy is distinct from most life science ventures, which typically do not have cash flow in the early stages of development.

Emerald Therapeutics and Transcriptic are two biotech start-up companies with a focus centered on automation. Both of these companies offer automated lab services, which run customized protocols designed by researchers through the company website. A large variety of tasks have already been automated, including common techniques like PCR, transfection, chromatographic tests, DNA preparation, and RNA extraction among others, with more manually intricate techniques such as x-ray crystallography and patch clamp recording being developed. The value of the automated laboratory model not only comes from the ability to perform experiments more quickly and accurately than a human technician could for the same price, but also adds a valuable revenue component to the company. Founders of Transcript claim that a task requiring a technician to perform liquid handing for a months' time could be compressed into a week. Relevant information is also recorded at each step of the process, making replicating the experimental conditions far easier and making the end results more reliable. (29)

Laboratory automation is a powerful tool, but it is still limited by logistics and issues with customer relations. Interestingly, some of the most common technical issues relate to tasks that would be simple when performed by a human technician. For example, the need to move samples in and out of cold storage and incubation chambers, or the uncapping and recapping of different containers can be challenging for a robotic arm. Another challenge is managing the storage and maintenance of many different test specimens and special materials shipped to the worksite from users. Advertising services to potential customers is difficult, and often requires proactive outreaching to university labs. As with any emerging service, researchers may be cautious to risk large sums of limited funds. Transcriptic and Emerald Therapeutics attempt to address these flaws through custom engineering devices to handle logistical tasks, and by using modular workstations to allow their operations to adjust to a sporadic workflow.

The end product of automated laboratory services is simply a compilation of user experimental data, which could eventually support a broader market base than previous service models. This could have a transformative effect internationally, as areas with poor infrastructure could use these services to perform experiments that would otherwise be unfeasible.

ASSET IDENTIFICATION FOR CORPORATE STRUCTURING

Because every start-up is unique, providing a comprehensive "how to" guide for creating a successful company is not feasible. However, the ability to effectively identify and capitalize on corporate assets is perhaps the most important trait shared by each company discussed previously. The business model canvas is a tool the authors of this manuscript recommend to entrepreneurs at all stages to identify and focus on critical business activities. The original Osterwalder Business model canvas contains 9 components (Fig. 1) that show how a company intends to generate revenue. These include, 1) value propositions, 2) customer segments, 3) channels, 4) customer relationships, 5) revenue streams, 6) key activities, 7) key resources, 8) key partners, and 9) cost structures. Several variants of have been made based on the open source Osterwalder Canvas, but most still focus on these original 9 blocks. The business model canvas is an excellent tool for designing a new venture, illustrating your business model, and for refocusing an existing business model to be more efficient.

CONCLUSION

Traditional sources of seed capital for high-tech and software startups, such as friends and family, have historically been insufficient to support the financial demands of biotechnology ventures. But as barriers to entry are eroded, biotechnology as an industry is beginning to move from centralized institutions to the garage. Ichor began in the living room of its founder, who at that time was a medical student. The company has since grown and expanded into a string of companies that balance the risk of research and development with conservative, sustainable enterprises. It is the hope of the authors that this manuscript provides some guidance for aspiring entrepreneurs and shows, by example, that garage-style biotechnology startups are not only possible, but also viable.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The authors are thankful to Maximus Peto and Aubrey de Grey for providing valuable feedback for this manuscript. This work was supported by grants from the Life Extension Foundation and Longecity (formerly Immortality Institute).

DISCLOSURES

KJM holds equity positions in the following for-profit stem cell therapy companies; Ichor Therapeutics, Inc., ImmunePath, Inc., and Advanced Cell Technologies, Inc. EZ and DW hold equity positions in Ichor Therapeutics, Inc. GF holds equity positions in Humurine Technologies, Inc. and Ichor Therapeutics, Inc. The authors declare no further conflicts.

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(2.) Seita, J. & Weissman, I. L. (2010) Hematopoietic Stem Cell: Self-renewal versus Differentiation. Wiley Interdiscip. Rev. Syst. Biol. Med. 2, 640-653.

(3.) Hornke, M. & Mandewirth, S. (2010) Merger & acquisitions (M & A) in the pharmaceutical industry: the wheel keeps on turning. J. Bus. Chem. 7, 67-68.

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(5.) Capitalization Policy and Depreciation Policy for Capital Assets. at <https://www.suny.edu/sunypp/documents. cfm?doc_id=559>

(6.) Einav, L., Farronato, C., Levin, J. D. & Sundaresan, N. Sales Mechanisms in Online Markets: What Happened to Internet Auctions? (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2013), at <http://www.nber.org/papers/ w19021>

(7.) Louit, D., Pascual, R., Banjevic, D. & Jardine, A. K. (2011) Optimization models for critical spare parts inventories--a reliability approach. J. Oper. Res. Soc. 62, 992-1004.

(8.) Tersine, R. J. Principles of inventory and materials management. (North-Holland, 1988), at <http://books.google.ca/books?id=v_tTAAAAMAAJ>

(9.) Drago, I., Bocchi, E., Mellia, M., Slatman, H. & Pras, A. Benchmarking personal cloud storage, in 205-212 (ACM Press, 2013). doi:10.1145/2504730.2504762

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(12.) Heinzman, J. M., Rice, S. D. & Corkan, L. A. (2010) Robotic Liquid Handlers and Semiautomated Cell Quantification Systems Increase Consistency and Reproducibility in High-Throughput, Cell-Based Assay. J. Assoc. Lab. Autom. 15, 7-14.

(13.) Moon, S.-H. et al. (2014) Optimizing human embryonic stem cells differentiation efficiency by screening sizetunable homogenous embryoid bodies. Biomaterials 35, 5987-5997.

(14.) Shevde, N. & Mael, A. in Basic Cell Culture Protocols (eds. Helgason, C. D. & Miller, C. L.) 946, 535-546 (Humana Press, 2013).

(15.) Bosma, M. J. & Carroll, A. M. (1991) The SCID mouse mutant: definition, characterization, and potential uses. Annu. Rev. Immunol. 9, 323-350.

(16.) Lowes USA. Catalog Number 219836.

(17.) Lowes USA. Catalog number 6005.

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(19.) Lights of America, U. Catalog Number 7108.

(20.) Lowes USA. Catalog Number 15358.

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(24.) Friedman, Y. (2006) Science Business: The Promise, the Reality, and the Future of Biotech. By Gary P. Pisano. Biotechnol. J. 1, 1474-1474.

(25.) Greenwood, J. C. Biotechnology Entrepreneurship.

(26.) Oliver, A. L. (2004) Biotechnology entrepreneurial scientists and their collaborations. Res. Policy 33, 583-597.

(27.) Ledford, H. (2010) Life hackers. Nature 467, 650-652.

(28.) Lalkaka, R. (2002) Technology business incubators to help build an innovation-based economy. J. Change Manag. 3, 167-176.

(29.) Personal communication. (2014).

Kris Grohn *, is a lab technician at ICMS, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Kelsey Moody *, is a graduate student at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and is CEO at Ichor Therapeutics, Inc.

Danique Wortel, is a veterinary student in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University.

Nick LeClair, is a research assistant at Ichor Therapeutics, Inc.

Alison Traina, is a research assistant at Ichor Therapeutics, Inc.

Eric Zluhan, is a graduate student in the College of Graduate Studies at SUNY Upstate Medical University.

Gerold Feuer, is the founder and CSO of Humurine Technologies, Inc.

* These authors contributed equally to this manuscript.

Correspondence: Kelsey James Moody, Ichor Therapeutics, Inc., US. Email: kelsey.moody@gmail.com
Figure 1: The Osterwalder business canvas

Key Partners            Key Activities          Value Propositions

Who are our Key         What Key Activities     What value do we
Partners?               do our Value            deliver to the
                        Propositions require?   customer?
Who are our Key
Supporters?             Distribution channels   Which needs are we
                        require?                satisfying?
What resources are
we getting from         Customer                Which one of our
partners?               Relationships?          customer's problems
                                                are we solving?
                        Revenue Streams?

                        Key Resources

                        What Key Resources do
                        our
                        Value Propositions
                        require?

                        Distribution
                        channels?

                        Revenue Streams?

                        Customer
                        Relationships?

Customer                Customer Segments
Relationships

What type of            Who are our
relationship are our    customers?
customers expecting
us to establish and     Who can we create
maintain?               value for?

How are they pursued?   Which customers are
                        most important?
How costly are they?

Channels

How can our Customer
Segments be reached?

Which channels work
the best?

Which are most cost
effective?

Cost Structure          Revenue Streams

What are the most       How much are our
important costs         customers really
inherent in our         willing to pay for
business model?         some level of value?

Which Key Resources     What do they
are most expensive?     currently pay?

Which Key Activities    How do they pay?
are most expensive?
                        How would they prefer
                        to pay?

                        How much does each
                        Revenue stream
                        contribute to overall
                        revenues?
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Title Annotation:Case Study
Author:Grohn, Kris; Moody, Kelsey; Wortel, Danique; LeClair, Nick; Traina, Alison; Zluhan, Eric; Feuer, Ger
Publication:Journal of Commercial Biotechnology
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2015
Words:5723
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