pharma web design on laptop for Cambridge UK startup

Pharma Web Design for Cambridge Drug Hunters

New website for oncology, inflammatory disorders and rare diseases startup.

Website project overview


Apollo Therapeutics

Web Design

Welcome to another pharma web design for yet another drug discovery startup. Just like all the others, right? Nope. This startup was different – and they wanted to show it. But how? How about no stock photos, just text. No fluff. Nothing to distract from their focus and their science. But why? Unlike virtually every other biopharma startup, these founders at Apollo had serious street cred (or lab cred, if that’s a thing). Anyway, they had no need to flex; all they wanted was a site that was clean, modern and launched in under three weeks.

Pharma Web
Design Challenge

“If you don’t have a website, you don’t exist.”

At least that’s the way it feels if you’re a biopharma startup.

So a very common pain point we see for biopharma startups is a request to get a minimum site up as quickly as possible. By quickly launching a smaller site, clients have a few months to gather text and headshots or wait for the latest data set. 

The challenge is to figure out what can be accomplished within a few weeks. Sometimes that’s as easy as repurposing content from a pitch deck and pushing everything else to a Phase II of the website. 

It’s even possible to pull together a single landing page and launch it over a weekend. Just remember: at minimum, site visitors need an overview of your scientific focus and want to know who’s behind your novel science. 

And once you ‘exist’, you can breathe easy and start to think objectively about what makes your startup distinct and eventually flesh out your messaging with more detailed information like a timeline for your origin story and a news page.

A very common pain point for biopharma startups is to get a minimum site up as quickly as possible. Just remember: at a minimum, site visitors need an overview of your scientific focus and want to know who’s behind your novel science.

Pharma Web
Design Solution

In this case, the design phase was completed in two meetings in three days.

That’s fast. And it worked because the client was willing to prioritize the pharma web design makeover.

While the new design was being turned into a working WordPress site, the project manager gathered content like bios and press releases. That way, when the development phase was complete, the content was ready to be dropped in. 

One essential difference that sets the Apollo Therapeutics website apart is there aren’t any cheesy stock images. Actually, there are no major images on the entire site. The result is a website with only brief chunks of text – and very few links. By intentionally minimizing the content and clicks, the user’s cognitive load is greatly reduced. This makes the whole website easy to understand with just a few, clear ways to interact with Apollo.

This is what makes a custom pharma web design so interesting: the designer makes a website that’s a unique reflection of the founders’ unique vision and values.

partner logos for life sciences fund on a laptop

The website’s real punch comes from simplifying the design to one vibrant accent color and virtually no images. It’s the complete opposite of other biotechs. The new website builds user confidence through brief bios and partner logos instead of distracting site visitors with animations or dramatic visuals.

One form of interactivity added in Phase II is the timeline. It allows Apollo to tell their origin story without having to write tons of text. The timeline features snippets, each assigned it to a specific date. Site visitors can browse small chunks of information instead of being overwhelmed by several paragraphs of text.

The final solution – though it looks simple – is exactly what the founders wanted to make Apollo stand out. And by using a phased approach, the project was immediately depressurize for the client. They got instant results and then had time to figure out how to tell their story.

Is your biopharma looking for an instant website, but are nervous about the time it will take to work through the details? Let’s talk! We can walk you through a phased approach that gives your biopharma startup an instant website and extra time to build out the rest of your new website at your own pace.

Need help with your pharma web design project?

venture capital portfolio navigation menu
Modern Menu

There are two styles of biopharma website menus. The traditional style is to list the main pages across the top of each page. The modern style is to have a “hamburger” menu icon (3 horizontal bars – they sort of look like a hamburger). If you want to appear modern, guess which one you should pick?

Does your menu style accurately reflect your biopharma?

bios of management for a venture startup

The two most-visited pages of biopharma startups are Science and Team. Sure, people want to know about your novel science, but they also want to know if the people behind the science have the chops to carry innovation all the way to market. But they don’t want to be bored. Give them few paragraphs on who you are and why you’re legit.

Does your bio reassure or bore site visitors?

closeup of transformative medicines headline from home page
Minimum Effort

Biopharma startups need to share a ton of scientific data. But too much content on a website can be unwise or even counterproductive. Reduce site visitor’s  ‘cognitive load’ by being brief and clear with action steps. In this case, the Home page has one headline and one primary link. The only action is clear – Introducing Apollo – click to learn more.

Have you thought of minimizing your website user’s cognitive load?

close up of press release links for cancer drug development startup
Horn Tootin'

One of the main challenges startups face is being perceived as credibile. The solution? Pump out some PR. Then, the obvious next step is to add a News page to your site. A News page offers external validation and allows you to increase traffic to your new website.

Are you tootin’ your own horn with a News page?

home page layout for drug development fund
Clean & Modern

One of the easiest ways to show your biopharma’s personality is to pick the right typeface. In this case, the client wanted to look modern. This font has two key characteristics that give the site a modern feel: the stroke width is a monoline and the end of the letters are squared off. Both of these give a crisp, precise feel.

Pick the right font to project your biopharma’s brand ‘vibe’.

vertical timeline for in-licensing partnership
Time Travel

Lots of biotechs have trouble telling their story. One slick way to tell your story without too much effort is to create a timeline. Simply pick a half dozen milestones, add a title and a brief line of text. People love to scan websites and will pay more attention to a timeline than four paragraphs of text.

Timelines are a great way to tell your origin story.