Reflections on 2020 and an Optimistic Outlook for the Year Ahead

January 28, 2021

By Jesse Klein, Jason Hersh, and Josh Albert

We’ve just reached the end of a year unlike any other. As we look back on challenges faced and what has been accomplished over the last 12 months, there are many things to take with us into 2021.

We continued to be amazed by the pace of scientific discovery. 

The value of science in our society remained constant during a year filled with disruption. Extraordinary scientific work is being done every day to improve human health and address some of the world’s greatest health challenges. Our role in the healthcare and life sciences ecosystem has never been more important. We have a front row seat to the revolutionary work that is happening across therapeutics, artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled drug discovery, precision medicine, and many others. It is a privilege to work and connect talent across the industry to continue these important advancements.

We believe 2021 will be a tremendous year for our diverse array of partners. The momentum is palpable as they continue to build on their extraordinary work, turning bold scientific discoveries into the medical advancements that treat and cure disease.

We saw further advancement in healthcare innovation to empower drug discovery and enhance patient outcomes.

Digital health tools are increasingly becoming a game-changer for biopharma companies in the development of new medicines– from the earliest stages of discovery through commercialization and life cycle management. Innovation in healthcare tech, AI, and data analytics is enhancing efficiency and lowering costs across R&D, while also improving health provider and patient relationships. Digital tools and technologies can help streamline and improve drug studies, allowing companies to better find and track clinical trial participants.

We’re also seeing a major impact in the area of healthcare delivery, as patients take advantage of apps to track adherence to medication and relay critical information directly to their doctor, ultimately helping them to be more engaged in their health outcomes.

We experienced a substantial uptick in the demand for high level talent within life sciences.

Investment in new company formation across the biotech/pharma sector continues to surge. According to Pitchbook’s 2021 U.S. Venture Capital Report, the sector enters the new year with strong tailwinds, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 2020 was marked by approximately $23.2 billion in VC, biotech and pharma deal activity, and more than $20 billion in investment is expected again this year. As investment activity continues to flourish, there will  continue to be a supply and demand gap for the talent needed to help drive companies forward. To compete and win, organizations will need to be more proactive and creative in their talent acquisition strategies.

We observed a growing recognition in the importance of diversity.

The importance of diversity at the C-suite level in life sciences and healthcare can add a perspective that is critical to better corporate performance. According to a study from the Boston Consulting Group, increasing the diversity of leadership teams leads to more and better innovation and improved financial performance.

Since 2015, 36% of all placements made by Klein Hersh have been female, overall, 48% of our placements include people from diverse backgrounds.  We see the life sciences community strategically focusing on this in the new year, proactively working to ensure their leadership teams are as broadly represented as possible. 

We embraced change.

If 2020 has taught us anything, its underscored the value of our core relationships and the importance of embracing change in our lives together. We’ve realized how easy it can be to reach family, friends, and clients near and far with the click of a button. At Klein Hersh, it’s brought a whole new level of meaning and purpose to our work in connecting people and companies who need them most.

With the trials and tribulations of 2020 in the rear view, we hope you also take time to reflect on the lessons you’ve learned. And be sure to recognize yourself, your team members, and your loved ones for all that you’ve been able to accomplish alongside them during the past year.

Wishing you a safe and happy 2021,

The Klein Hersh Team

Authored by
Jason Hersh
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About the Author
Jason Hersh is one of the founders of Klein Hersh International and has been instrumental in building the organization into one of the largest life sciences executive search firms in the world. He has led the development of the unique capabilities that set Klein Hersh apart as an executive search partner. In addition to his role as a Managing Director, ...
Authored by
Jesse Klein
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About the Author
Jesse Klein is a Managing Director of Klein Hersh International and has played a formative role in advancing the firm’s leadership within life sciences executive search. He is one of the driving forces in developing Klein Hersh’s winning culture, creating an environment with an extensive focus geared toward delivery, accountability, collaboration, and fun. In addition to his role as a ...
Authored by
Josh Albert
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About the Author
Josh Albert became a Managing Director at Klein Hersh International in 2005. During his tenure, he has helped Klein Hersh grow into the leading life sciences executive search firm, with over 40 employees and more than 20 distinct practice areas. In addition to his role as a Managing Director, Josh’s responsibilities include: Leading Klein Hersh’s pharma and biotech practice, which ...