Five Reasons Why Library Resources Can Make or Break Your Medical Startup

By Kyle O'Neil and Cathy Ogur

Leaving library resources untapped can be a fatal mistake for academic entrepreneurs. Gold mines of information, library resources are sometimes underutilized due to their complexity. Properly used, library resources can be the difference between hitting and missing the needs of a massive market. In the medical industry, this difference may change thousands of lives. Generally available to current students, faculty and staff, the high prices of academic library resources are paid for by institutions and licensed for academic use. The only price higher is not using them. Here are five reasons why your academic library  holds the keys to developing your startup:

  1. Librarians are networkers who can advance you past your roadblocks – Having met with many prospective entrepreneurs and individuals across campus, librarians will be people who point you to others who may have insights to transform your vision. Turning a barrier into a pivoting point, librarians can match you to key resources and market data.
  2. Precise database searching reveals crucial market insights – Industry research databases such as BCC Research and highlight important industry trends, metrics, competitors and news that help entrepreneurs enter markets. IBIS World, a database that provides industry overviews, divulges information enabling a sophisticated approach to a small business.
  3. Complex reimbursement and patent information becomes clear in detailed research analyses - CMS Data Center offers information about the largest medical providers in the United States, Medicare and Medicaid. Separately, Derwent Innovations Index can clarify crucial challenges surrounding intellectual property. Understanding the novelty and buyer of your product is critical, especially in medicine, where payments are not necessarily tied to technology end-users.
  4. Statistics from library resources can be the key to a masterful pitch - GlobalData Medical and BCIQ offer pipeline and product information about potential competitors. Translating this information into a business pitch can be the difference between obtaining and missing out on venture capital funding.
  5. Library resources simplify determining corporate competitors and partners – Whether addressing patent information with the Derwent Innovations Index or looking at potential partners for sponsored research agreements, library resources have information that reveals corporate goals. Databases such as PrivCo can even inform entrepreneurs about potential exit strategies, the most important aspect of a startup for all investors.

Librarians’ expertise in guiding you to library resources provides a  competitive edge to academic entrepreneurs and their teams. When tackling medical regulatory agencies and companies, both established and entrepreneurial, that are trying to match your vision in the medical marketplace, leveraging the largest available pool of information is critical. In a business world that rewards execution over ideas, library resources can be a valuable tool for taking an idea from concept, to product, to commercially viable business.

Kyle O'Neil is a student in the Department of Bioengineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania |
Cathy Ogur is the Assistant Director of the Lippincott Library at the University of Pennsylvania |

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