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10 Ways To Overcome Corporate Immune Surveillance


One of the many conundrums about cancer biology is why the body does not recognize abnormal, mutating cells as foreign and eliminate them.

One of the many conundrums about cancer biology is why the body does not recognize abnormal, mutating cells as foreign and eliminate them.

Biotech companies are starting to unravel the mystery and cancer immunotherapy is hot.

However, we have a much better understanding of the corporate immune system that has developed over the years, the ability to sniff out innovation, troublemakers, or those who pose a threat to the status quotidian and nip it in the bud.

For intrapreneurs — employees trying to act like entrepreneurs in their organizations – they need to learn how to evade this highly developed and regulated corporate immune mechanism.

Here are some tips:

1. Become a Trojan horse

2. Innovate your heart out. Just don't let anyone know you are doing it until just the right time

3. Intrapreneurship is guerilla warfare, not a full on frontal assault, so pick your weapons and strategy carefully.

4. Be sure you have good intelligence assets on the ground

5. Have a Plan B

6. Be sure to give as many other people credit for your ideas as possible

7. Use words carefully. Call something by a name that does not raise the hair on the back of people's heads, particularly in a different culture, like using "entrepreneur" or "marketing" in a clinical environment

8. Find a sponsor who can provide you with political cover

9. Bootstrap your idea for as long as possible. Asking for money puts you on the radar screen

10. Hide as many innovation surface receptors as possible so the corporate ligands can't find you.

Corporate anti-immunotherapy is evolving, albeit very slowly. It will take a long while before investors start throwing the same kind of money at it they are throwing at cancer immunotherapy.

Keep your head down.

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Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice
Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice