I think it’s fair to say that since the advent of COVID-19, people around the world from every walk of life are thinking about healthcare and drug development in a whole new light. Living through a global pandemic, we have all witnessed firsthand the critical need for continued scientific breakthroughs in diagnostic testing, preventative vaccines, and new therapies to combat the novel coronavirus and whatever variants come our way. Our collective awareness of the biotech and pharmaceutical industry has heightened substantially.
For those of us who work in this space, the persistent focus on bringing effective new therapies to market with the greatest possible speed and efficiency is nothing new. But what has changed dramatically in recent years is the increasing use of technology to advance scientific innovation in healthcare. And this evolution is impacting drug development in numerous and significant ways.
An Influx of Funding
As the convergence of technology and science continues to intensify across the biotech and pharmaceutical industry as we roll into 2022, so too are the investments being made in health tech innovation by venture capital (VC) and private equity (PE) firms. According to Deloitte, venture funding for health tech innovators nearly doubled in 2020 over 2019, reaching a record $14 billion. And this explosive growth was unabated last year.
Fueling the surge is the enormous amount of funding currently available in the VC eco-system, combined with a coming of age in the application of advanced technology in drug development and the delivery of healthcare. As we kick off the new year, the excitement continues for companies and patients alike, and venture capitalists are paying close attention. Some of the most prominent VC leaders in other areas, particularly in technology, are now focused entirely on human health.
Consequentially, our firm’s recruitment work with VCs and emerging biotech companies grew considerably in 2021 over previous years, which largely contributed to Klein Hersh’s record 2021 growth (over 55% from 2020).
The Power of Artificial Intelligence
Much of what’s driving the boon in scientific innovation is the use of artificial intelligence (AI), and more specifically, the notion that machine learning can adapt through experience to continuously improve upon the smart execution of critical tasks. In other words, AI has the ability to expedite the accurate capture and analysis of huge amounts of data to identify patterns and ultimately, solve challenges.
When AI is utilized in the healthcare industry, it can lead to extraordinary insights into patient health and disease states, significantly shortening the timelines traditionally involved in bringing new diagnostics and therapies to patients. The opportunities for advancing the trajectory of drug development and enhancing the delivery of healthcare are astounding.
The Demand for Top Talent
Going hand in hand with the proliferation of start-up health tech innovators is the ever-increasing need for VC firms to land top executive and scientific talent to fill critical roles at their portfolio companies. The competition to identify and hire the best in the business is fiercer than ever.
We attribute the growth Klein Hersh has experienced in this area in part to the overall growth in the marketplace. But our secret power is the trusted relationships we’ve built over the years with both clients and candidates.
Investing in People
Since I joined Klein Hersh in 2006, I’ve spent every single day getting to know the most accomplished and the most promising new professionals in the biotech and pharma space. The same is true of my colleagues. Ours is a unique business model, in that our team is segmented into well-defined areas of expertise. We each have our own niche, which enables us to develop an unparalleled level of knowledge in our respective specialty and the candidate community within it. We’re completely entrenched. I like to think we all have honorary degrees in our particular fields.
Any time we contact a potential candidate about an opportunity, it’s never just about that one opportunity. It’s about to getting to know that individual―their strengths, their interests, their career goals―so we always have a running start in futures searches. Every search we conduct is thoroughly exhaustive and fully inclusive.
Continuing to Deliver
With a talent pipeline that is decades in the making, led by domain experts who know the market exceptionally well, we’re in an ideal position to help biotech and drug development companies find the very best talent out there. And this holds true in the burgeoning health tech innovation space.
Needless to say, it’s an exciting time―working so closely with our client partners in building these world-leading health tech innovation companies together. And it’s incredibly humbling to have the opportunity to connect top talent with organizations that could impact human health in profound ways. Each candidate we place has the potential to play a key role in the next scientific discovery that addresses critical unmet needs for patients everywhere.
As technology and science continue to blur the lines between them in 2022, and investments made in health tech innovation continue to multiply, there is seemingly no limit to what can be achieved. I can’t wait to see what unfolds in this year ahead and beyond.
About the Author
Allison Greenfield co-leads the Discovery and Development practice at Klein Hersh International. Partnering closely with seed-stage companies, small-to-mid-sized biotech companies, and large pharmaceutical companies, Allison brings a high-touch, personalized experience to the recruitment of professionals in discovery, preclinical and translational research. She is committed to making a lasting impact on every client and every candidate she meets. Her expertise spans a broad range of therapeutic areas and modalities, including oncology, immune-oncology, inflammation and autoimmunity, cardiovascular, metabolism, infectious diseases, small molecules, biotherapeutics, cell therapy, gene therapy, gene editing, base editing, and antibody drug conjugates. Since joining Klein Hersh in 2006, Allison has been sharply focused on advancing the long-term vision of the companies she partners with, helping build teams that drive the scientific discoveries and improve human health.