Senior Client Partner
BioTen video series: Executive search
Interviewer: Jonathan Wildman, Senior Client Partner, Biopharma/Med Device Advisory Lead, Korn Ferry
Speaker: Jasmine Ferrer, Managing Partner, Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals, Korn Ferry
Jonathan Wildman: Hi folks. Welcome back to BioTEN. This is the third episode in our series and today I'm here with Jasmine. Jasmine thanks so much for joining us.
Jasmine Ferrer: Hi Jon. Nice to see you.
Jonathan Wildman: You too. The topic today is executive search and Jasmine I think you're going to talk about a few trends that you're noticing in executive search.
Jasmine Ferrer: Yes, thanks Jon. I think you know that much of the work we do focuses on our emerging companies right now and primarily the biopharma space and that kind of ranges from anything from the early-stage spin outs of academic institutions all the way through the high growth companies, both private and public, pre-commercial and commercial. And it's just a really incredible time in our industry right now you know. I mean scientifically, medically, commercially, and I think financially is such an active time in our space which I know you and I have partnered on multiple things and you've sort of seen it first-hand.
First of all, there's still quite a bit of money coming from the investor folks and there's just still a lot of new company formation that's happening which need management teams, CEOs, and boards and I think as a result of that, you're seeing a lot of, there's always been a lot of first-time CEOs. But right now, for sure, it's an unprecedented time where you're seeing people who may or may not be ready for that C suite moving into those management roles and I think as a result of that, you're seeing the need to complement many management teams both at the board level as well as the company itself.
So, you're seeing quite an uptick in board assignments in addition to the continued need for management teams for many of this new post. In addition to that you know many of these smaller companies are continuing to grow and evolve as they move towards commercialization. There's a lot more money in the industry. These companies can continue to raise more, go public, and then start to continue to scale as they move through the clinic and move towards commercialization.
I think what's interesting and I think you and I have talked about this before is some of these companies go through what we like to call this little pimply adolescence where you know, they're not the early-stage startup anymore but they're not a mid-size biotech yet and yet they're in this funny middle period where they still need the best athletes. They still are, you know, growing rapidly and still highly entrepreneurial but at the same time, they probably need to think a little bit more about operating models. They think a little bit more about organizational design, what are the layers below the management team that they need to think about, how are they going to operate, how are they going to commercialize, do they have succession plans in place.
I have talked to variety of companies that are faced with some of these issues as they move towards trying to become a more fully integrated biopharma company. So it is an interesting time because beyond executive search which is the space that I primarily work on. You know these companies have a lot of these questions that are coming up of you know what happens if we lose our CEO, what happens or are they the right CEO at this period of time? As we become commercial and scale much more rapidly you know, do we have the right team that is going to lead scale. It's truly an interesting time and it's really fun to brainstorm with some of our clients as they go through these periods of growth.
Jonathan Wildman: That's so true. It's felt like at the executive level, that was the tip of the spear when it comes to the great resignation, and we've been busy as a result of that.
Jasmine Ferrer: Yeah. It's been a lot of fun and I think beyond biopharma, classic therapeutics, you're also seeing, it's a pretty cool time right now because you're seeing some of these companies that represent that convergence, right? They're incorporating not just classic drug discovery but they're marrying that with and aggregating multiple technologies into companies.
They think more creatively about how to approach drug discovery and development, incorporating AI, machine learning, precision medicine, and pulling that all together into one and then having to again think through and brainstorm what is it that management teams look like because it may not be the traditional classic, you know, R&D and commercial coming from a therapeutic space. But anyway, it's an exciting time and it's been really fun to partner closely with a lot of these companies and brainstorm and kind of incorporate our broader team within Korn Ferry as we work with a lot of these high-growth companies.
Jonathan Wildman: That's perfect. Jasmine, thanks so much for joining us.
Jasmine Ferrer: Thanks, Jon.