NYMU’s entrepreneurship


Approximately 40% of people worldwide suffer from hair loss issues. Hair loss is irreversible and worsens over time. Drugs nowadays can only slow down the process of hair loss, but not cure it. As hair loss is such a severe problem, it is important to find new effective targeting drugs as quickly as possible. Our NYMU iGEM team ‘Hair to Stay’ aims to develop a high-throughput screening model to find new drugs that can tackle androgenetic alopecia, a common form of hair loss.

Our business aim:

‘Hair to stay’ is a biomedical company that has two modes of operation:

  1. Patent licensing

    We developed two drug screening models which we will apply for a patent. Besides detecting potential androgenetic alopecia drugs, these two models are useful and have a variety of other applications. We would like to license our patents to other pharmaceutical companies, which not only is a large portion of our revenue composition but also can help us build a close cooperation with other companies.

  2. Androgenetic Alopecia drug screening and drug development

    Our company aims to screen potential drugs by developing a drug screening system from the basis of our invented models. We would then put potential drugs into the clinical trials, which in the future can be developed and be sold in the market.

To reach our goal and commercialize our product, we have done the following study:

Outreach Approaches

We have conducted several market investigations including visiting experts to learn the challenges of finding new drugs, conducting patient interviews to understand the problems they suffered from, exchanging ideas with possible consumers and visiting pharmaceutical corporations to know their thoughts of potential and get recognition from them.

LaunXP biomedical company

We visited LaunXP biomedical company. Their main focus is to screen cancer candidate drugs by using a high-throughput screening system, which is similar to our initial product design ideas. Therefore we wanted to learn their ways of business operation, which will provide us with a good example of starting a company. Their main aim focuses on drug repositioning. Compared to developing a new drug on scratch, repositioned drugs can rely on past data which could largely reduce the time to reach drug marketing. We take this practical approach in mind. This may become one of our company’s research area in the future. The company also suggested us to apply for a patent since it is one of the most significant features in the biomedical industry.

Brion Research Institute

We had a meeting with Brion Research Institute, which is one of the R&D department of Sun Ten Pharmaceutical Corporation. They have launched a hair regrowth product B401, and is one of the potential consumers of our company. They are interested in our project, and suggested that we should explain why our method is better than other currently used methods (This is done in our applied design page), and also suggest that we could establish a stable cell line via viral transduction or lipofection as future plan since pharmaceutical company would prefer a cell line that could reuse much longer.

Dr. Chih-Chiang Chen

We had arranged several meetings with Dr. Chih-Chiang Chen who is specialized in dermatology and have done a few researches on androgenic alopecia. Medical doctors are important consumers of our marketing drugs. He told us that there is an urgent demand for developing a drug screening model for Androgenetic Alopecia(AGA) since there are no perfect models available nowadays. From listening to our customer’s thoughts and feedback, it gives us confidence that our product reaches practical needs in the market.

Patient Interview

By contacting with Dr. Chih-Chiang Chen, We have conducted patient interviews by phone and face-to-face interview, and the conclusions include:

  1. Treatment Experience

    All of them have tried products that claim effective in curing hair loss, such as shampoo with minoxidil, but the result is not good.

  2. Curative Effect of Current Medication

    Some think that the treatment is effective, but some show little or no difference.

  3. Understanding of side effects

    They thought they already understand the side effects, but still feel surprised when we explain those side effects to them. Therefore, we believed that they don’t actually know it. Dr. Chih-Chiang Chen told us this is because patients won’t specially emphasize them to avoid possible psychological effect.

  4. Attitude Towards Hair loss

    They insist that they don’t really care, but through their behavior of actively seeking medical treatments, we assume that they still care about hair loss problems.

  5. Opinions to Our Project

    All of them remain a positive attitude toward our project, but some of them think the individual differences between each patient may be an obstruction to the overall successful rate.

Bitter & Sweet II Exhibition

When we start a company, we would be using and dealing with drugs all the time. Therefore, knowing more about the legislation of drugs in Taiwan is very important. We went to Wu I-Chien’s “Bitter & Sweet II” Installation Art exhibition, which she depicts drug overdose issues in Taiwan. Through this process, we understand that we have a responsibility to improve the drug-using situation as a biomedical company. In contrast, we are also reminded to be aware of drug legislation which has a large correlation with our product.

Through our meeting with experts, potential users and stakeholders on hair loss issue, we could claim that our product, the easier and better drug screening system, may provide significant help on future drug screening and have a great potential to become a good product.

Business Plan

We built a thorough business plan with Business Model Canvas, Risk Analysis, and Future Plan.

Business Model Canvas

Risk Analysis

This will help us to build awarness to possible risks that might happen in the future. By developing this analysis, we could response quickly towards corresponding events.

Future Plan

  1. Establish a new cell line

    In our project, we transfected our plasmid into cell lines. However, plasmids do not replicate during cell mitosis. In the future, we would like to develop a stable and new cell-line that will allow us to insert our designed DNA fragment into its genome.

  2. Develop a high-throughput drug screening system

    Because of limited time, we only tested several useful or potential drugs. In the future, we would like to improve our model by turning it into a high-throughput system that can screen extensive drugs in a short period of time.

  3. Continue marketing

    We plan to continue cooperating with pharmaceutical factories and put our project into practical use.

  4. Discover alternative pathways

    We believe that there are other pathways involving dihydrotestosterone and Dkk-1 that can halt hair growth in our dermal cell. We will continue to investigate the effect of Dkk-1 on hair loss.

Market Analysis

We did extensive analysis (SWOT, Customer Behaviour) to estimate our difficulties, advantages and potentials.

Customer Behavior(6 O’s)

In order to succeed in future marketing plan, we need to understand the behavior of consumers, what they want and how we should provide them.

  1. Objects--What it is

    NYMU iGEM ‘Hair to Stay’ is going to establish a faster screening model to find new drugs that could tackle androgen alopecia.

  2. Objectives--Why customers need it

    To perform a more proper drug screening with our faster and cheaper screening system.

  3. Organizations--Who may buy

    Pharmaceutical corporations,researchers and medical personnel who want better drugs dealing with androgenetic alopecia or have demand on drug screening.

  4. Operations--How to buy

    For consumers who want to get our patent license, the product is sold as a kit, and will directly delivered to the customers.For consumers who want new drugs, we would sell our drugs on market. Moreover, the price should be affordable for more researchers to engage in drug screening for androgenic alopecia.

  5. Occasions--When to buy

    When they want to start a drug screening or when hospital remedy needs.

  6. Outlets--Where to buy

    Users could buy the product through the website


In order to further understand the pros and cons of our product, we did a SWOT analysis:

Patent Application

Visiting Dr. Yeou-Guang Tsay

We visited Dr. Yeou-Guang Tsay and ask for advice on patent application. He taught us an important concept in the field of biomedical-- Patent is considered the most important value of a company. He helped us to recognize the need for applying for a patent. Through thorough team discussion, we decided to fill a provisional patent to protect our property rights.

Visiting NYMU Center of Academia and Industry Collaboration

We visited the Center of Academia and Industry Collaboration in our school to asked for bits of help on Patent Application. They give us suggestions on filling up our patent and introduce our University’s patent apply funding process.

Know Your Competitors

When starting a business, it’s important to understand your competitors' product. From searching the patent information of projects dealing with similar problems on US Patent and Trademark Office(USPTO) database and clinical trials info on ‘clinical’Also, we not only know more about competitors product but also to prevent our patent from overlapping with their patents. From looking through the competitor’s patent, we also understand that the description for the structure-activity relationship of an existing pharmaceutical compound is very important. We should specify the structure-activity relationship in our patent when we apply for new drug patent.


For entrepreneurs, the strategy of advertisement is important to gain reputation and cooperation opportunities. Therefore, we have done the following advertisements:

Company logo and slogan design

A catchy logo and slogan can give customers a good first impression to our company.

Poster ditribution

We put advertising posters in restaurants, our University, on social media and even in MRT stations.

Prototype Demonstration

We developed a 3D printed prototype which can demonstrate how our project works. We also created a video to show the operation process and results of our project. These prototypes help customers to easily comprehend our product.

Funds Raising

Until now, we have recieved a total amount of approximately 9070.57 USD sponsorship. In the future we plan to raise funds from :

Friends and Family

Friends and Family financings are the easiest way to get the funds, but the amount may not be large and you’ll have to face the emotional stress of living up to their expectation.

Angel Investors

Angel Investors refer to some rich person who invest startups with great potential, but you’ll have to give them valuable bond or part of the ownership in the future.


Crowdfunding usually propagate through the Internet, and enable you to raise funds from the crowd.

Venture Capital

Venture capital usually invest in startups with new technology and provide some support on business management. It’s a type of high risk and high reward business.

Grant & Business Competitions

Grant & Business Competitions are the funds raising approach without the cost, but the application procedure may be complicated, and the sucessful rate is usually low.