Small biotechs hampered by big pharma employees

Small biotechs are often disadvantaged by hiring people from big pharma. They slowly turn small, nimble, organizations into slow bureaucratic, process-driven ones and in the process waste investors’ money.

When Jennifer left a top ten pharma company for a biotech startup, she thought it was a great opportunity. “This, I thought, was a chance to make a difference,” she told me. A year later, her calendar is full of meetings and advisory board meetings. “Even though I work at home, I’m on Zoom meetings from 8 AM to 6 PM, and I often don’t even have a chance for lunch”. Her company has been transformed into a bureaucratic nightmare.

The bureaucracy of big pharma can be a significant obstacle to innovation. The sheer number of people and departments involved in the drug development process can make it difficult to get things done quickly or efficiently. Additionally, bureaucratic red tape can discourage risk-taking and creativity.

For example, a new drug can take an average of 12 years and $2.6 billion to develop and bring to market. This is partly due to the complex regulatory process that drugs must undergo before the FDA can approve them.

The bureaucracy of big pharma can also make it difficult for small biotech companies to compete. Small biotechs often need more resources to navigate the complex regulatory process and may have different access to capital than big pharma companies.

Here are some challenges of hiring people fro big pharma:

  • Cost: Big pharma employees often command higher salaries and benefits than their counterparts at small biotechs. This can strain the biotech’s finances, especially if it is still in the early stages of development.
  • Culture clash: The cultures of big pharma and small biotechs can be very different. Big pharma is typically more bureaucratic and hierarchical, while small biotechs are often more agile and entrepreneurial. This can make it difficult for big pharma employees to adjust to the culture of small biotech and vice versa.
  • Mindset: Big pharma employees may be used to working on large, established projects with a clear path to commercialization. Small biotechs, on the other hand, are often working on more risky and uncertain projects. This can be a culture shock for big pharma employees who are used to a more predictable environment.
  • Intellectual property: Big pharma employees may be more likely to bring trade secrets or confidential information when leaving for a small biotech. This can expose the biotech to legal liability, and it can also damage the biotech’s reputation.

Here are some additional tips for small biotechs that are considering hiring people from big pharma:

  • Do your research: Before making an offer, do your research and understand the candidate’s background and experience. This will help you to assess whether or not the candidate is a good fit for your company’s culture and goals.
  • Set clear expectations: When you make an offer, set clear expectations for the candidate. This includes expectations about the candidate’s role, responsibilities, and compensation.
  • Provide training: If the candidate is unfamiliar with the biotech industry, be sure to provide them with training. This will help them to learn about the industry and the company’s specific needs.
  • Monitor performance: Once the candidate is onboard, monitor their performance. This will help you to ensure that the candidate is meeting your expectations.