At Dracena, we specialise on orphan drug discovery strategy consulting. We help companies and patient organizations develop new medicines for neurological rare diseases.

Dracaena was founded in 2014 by Ana Mingorance PhD, a specialist in rare epilepsy drug development. As a company, Dracaena is dedicated to facilitating the development of treatments for rare genetic neurodevelopmental syndromes, in particular those with epilepsy. From identifying the best orphan indication for a drug, to determining the feasibility of a research and development program on a given rare disease or finding enough patients for clinical trials, we know there are many challenges along the way that make the orphan space particularly difficult to navigate. We can help you navigate this space supporting your strategy, implementation and partnerships with patient organizations.

Who we work with and what we do


You have a drug or technology and want to know what disease/s you should go after.

  • This is usually the case of companies that have existing assets or technology platforms that could potentially target multiple indications.

  • We specialize in finding the best disease strategy for drugs and technologies with a focus on neurological and rare diseases.

  • We will perform an assessment of your product or technology, analyze the potential markets and competitive landscape, and provide you with recommendations on disease strategy, regulatory strategy and business strategy that will enable you to prioritize the best indications.

  • Based on your specific needs and availability of an in house team, we can also support your implementation.


You are committed to a disease and want to know how to advance that field.

  • This is often the case of patients and patient organizations. You might also be in this group if you are a company with a long-term commitment to a specific disease field.

  • We will assess your disease field from the scientific and drug development perspective to identify potential gaps or bottlenecks. We will also assess your field from the business strategy perspective to identify the business case for drug developers and potential incentives. We will then co-develop with you a strategy to turn your disease field into a more attractive and mature one where treatments are discovered faster.

  • Because we understand not only the process of developing new medicines but also the different stakeholders and their perspectives, we can help you build bridges between patient organizations, scientists and drug developers and create a community around your disease.

  • Make sure you also read the #ImpatientRevolution eBook.

You are working on epilepsy.

  • Epilepsy is our core disease expertise area. Ana Mingorance has more than 15 years of experience in the field from academia, industry (inside and as a consultant) and patient organizations.

  • We know the epilepsy field from idea to market, and can support your program at all stages of development, ranging from diagnostic to preclinical studies, clinical trial protocols, regulatory strategy, competitive intelligence and product differentiation, and pretty much any need you might have for your epilepsy program.

  • We also have an extensive network in the field that can help accelerate your program - in particular within Europe.


You are working on the rare disease space and want to know how to interact with patient organizations.

  • Every patient organization is unique. While some focus on family support, others focus on advancing research. While some are run by a few patient or caregiver volunteers, others have an in house team of professionals and large budgets. No size fits all.

  • We recommend you to engage patient organizations early into your drug or diagnostic development program, in particular if you are working on an orphan indication.

  • Ana is a patient advocate, and has worked with rare disease patient organizations as scientific advisor and Chief Scientist. Her unique perspective as a bilingual patient-scientist will help your team connect with the patient community.

  • We will help you map the patient organization ecosystem around your disease of interest and design the best strategy to engage them based on their unique profile and your needs.

  • We can also facilitate these interactions and support your patient engagement activities.


We also publish business insights. Check out our publications:


Dracaena Report blog, with industry comments on drug development for neurology, orphan drug strategy, or conference summaries.

Drug discovery strategy. See our 2018 ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters viewpoint about the different business strategies for pursuing orphan indications.

#ImpatientRevolution, a book on the decision-making behind drug discovery and how patient organizations can influence it.

Dravet syndrome pipeline and opportunities review, an overview of the global therapeutic landscape of Dravet syndrome in 2017 and 2018.