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Commercial leaders, talent and timing - Lauren D'Angelo's tips for biotech start-up success

Alpha Cognition’s Chief Commercial Officer shared her leadership insights on the Venari Podcast.

Having worked on 15 different launches in nine different therapeutic areas – and in varying leadership roles – Lauren D’Angelo has ample experience in the commercial side of life sciences. After 14 years working in Big Pharma, Lauren transitioned to leading mid-size companies and start-ups. Now, as CCO of CNS (central nervous system) start-up Alpha Cognition, she focuses on developing corporate strategy, building infrastructure and launch plans. ‘It’s a true start-up, we operate incredibly lean and scrutinise every dollar that we spend,’ Lauren says. As such, she has ‘to take on a lot of responsibilities outside of a typical CCO. So, I am learning a ton, and enjoying it.’



Lauren joined Joe Knight, our Life Sciences & Healthcare Commercial Lead, on the Venari Podcast recently to talk about her career and experience of commercial operations in biotech. She’s picked up a lot of knowledge over the course of almost a quarter-century working in the industry, but Lauren’s top three lessons from building out companies and commercial organisations are:

  • Bring your commercial leader on board early. It is critical that you have commercial guidance, right from the very start, across all functions. When decisions are being made, you can ensure these will lead to commercial success in the long run.

  • Hire exceptional talent that is willing to roll up their sleeves, learn, and take on a much larger scope than what is outlined in their job description. Startups require a different mentality – you have to be really selective about the talent you bring onto your team to make sure they have the right hunger, commitment, and work ethic.

  • Be smart about the timing and how you build out the commercial organisation. If you hire exceptional talent – and with the right commercial leader keeping an eye on your budget – you can build out exceptional commercial infrastructure and strategy very efficiently.

Lauren is passionate about identifying and developing talent. ‘For me, guiding and supporting others to achieve those things is why I am motivated every day and genuinely love what I do,’ she says. Having plenty of experience in commercial leadership roles is of course useful in identifying the right people for biotech start-ups to succeed, though Lauren warns that you can’t expect things to fall into place just by hiring strong candidates: ‘Great culture and building great teams is a by-product of strong leadership. Full stop.’

Let us know if you’d like to discuss commercial strategy for your life sciences business – we’d love to help.


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