Background From 2014 to 2017, more than 1000 diagnostic companies were launched, securing more than US$10 billion in investment.
Methods We performed an in-depth exploration of 28 diagnostic companies to differentiate successful and failed startups, plus a third ‘Zombie’ state where companies have achieved financial solvency but without long-term viability.
Results From these data, we created a five-phase, 13-item framework indicating the corporate health of a diagnostic company as it progresses from conception to commercialisation. We found 6 successful companies, 14 failures and 8 Zombies. On a scale of 0–26 points (two points per item), successful companies averaged 24.5 points (range 22–26), failures averaged 4.5 (range 0–16) and Zombies averaged 12.3 (range 3–23) (p<0.001). To determine if there was any predictivity to this framework, we looked at only the first two phases (concept and feasibility/planning) of progress and found a distinct gradient in success potential based solely on these first two phases.
Conclusion Our five-phase framework generated a score that could predict diagnostic companies more likely to successfully and sustainably enter the market from those more likely to fail.
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