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Biotech companies operate in a marketplace characterized by uncertainty and constant change. Issues around clinical and operational innovation, regulatory compliance, and cost and pricing continue to influence the way biotech companies work. However, despite all the challenges, biotech companies continue to gain traction in the life sciences sector, with sales exceeding $289 billion in 2014 [1].

The major factor behind the accelerated growth of biotech companies has been leading pharmaceutical companies looking for their next blockbuster drug that offers them the perfect balance of clinical efficacy and low cost. However, products from the biotech segment are currently targeting cancer, cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. To stay competitive and capture market share from conventional drugs, biotech companies need to focus on therapeutic areas that offer significant growth opportunities also, such as obesity and infectious diseases.

Demand for new medicines has exposed the biotech sector to a set of new challenges. Biotech companies today are engaged in a talent battle, looking to hire the best candidates from a small pool of scientists from elite universities and institutions. However, due to shortage of skilled workforce, low R&D productivity remains an insurmountable challenge for biotech companies. In addition, heightened competition from the manufacturers of generic drugs, pressure to ensure compliance, and increased scrutiny from healthcare payers continue to plague the growth of biotech companies.

While biotech companies are accustomed to disruption, traditionally, disruption used to come from within. But today, technology firms, wellness companies, and other non-traditional players with exceptional analytical capabilities are encroaching on biotech territory. This poses a unique challenge to the biotech sector that it has never faced before.

Growth-focused companies with a proactive approach have already partnered with data-driven firms to address the challenge. Sanofi’s partnership with Verily Life Sciences and Novo Nordisk’s joint venture with IBM Watson are examples of how digital disruption is going to impact the biotech sector.  Senior executives of biotech companies will need to rethink their strategy and keep all these factors in consideration to design a new action plan that can help them survive and thrive in an increasingly competitive landscape.

Allen Austin provides highly specialized executive search and leadership development services that are tailored to the unique talent needs of biotechnology firms. Our experts use their industry-specific experience and deep expertise to design talent solutions that help biotech companies build a more competent, engaged, and productive workforce capable of taking their business to new heights.

Our commitment to provide tailored leadership development and executive search solutions to biotech companies has earned us a reputable position in the industry. We have a long and proven track record of attracting C-suite level executives and business development experts who contribute more broadly than their core expertise and make significant contributions to their company’s growth and success.

[1] 2016 Global Life Sciences Outlook — Moving Forward with Cautious Optimism, Deloitte

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