Biotechnology Management: A View from the Top
The biotechnology industry, after years of promises, is finally starting to bring products to market. Most of the biotechnology companies are establishing links with larger, more established drug companies to give them the financial and marketing muscle they need for the next stage of their development. Marketing and sales experts are needed to study and develop markets and ultimately enable the delivery of products to consumers. The significant negative impact of patent expirations on sales represents a great opportunity for individuals who can successfully develop strong brand positions for pioneers to help them sustain sales post-expiration. Marketing is important, but it is the biotechnology company who also needs financial resources to complete the development of technology or become the next Amgen or Biocon or Genentech? The answer is quite simple, the more you can explain and demonstrate your understanding of your market, the increasing levels of confidence investors have in your concept and ultimately your firm.
The manager of a biotechnology start-up faces the challenge of fostering a transition within the founding team from science-oriented to commerce-oriented thinking and action. The central role of funding and financial management in biotechnology establishes a demand for individuals with proven financial expertise. Furthermore, the potential for substantial financial returns has attracted great interest for biotechnology in public markets, creating a demand for analysts, venture capitalists, and investment bankers with an understanding of biotechnology-related financial issues. The challenges include making decisions with either perfect (higher risk, higher return expectation) or imperfect (technology, market, people, intellectual property, etc) information to picking up a financial partner in the strategic business.
Likewise, whatever the changing fortunes of the biotechnology industry are, successful management of human resources is essential. Today’s biopharmaceutical projects have a high degree of complexity. In order to properly utilize staff and other resources like suppliers and internal groups, a manager must be able to clearly visualize the desired goal. Human resources constitute an increasingly critical function in any biotechnology company, particularly in an industry that’s in an increasing state of inflation. Perhaps the most valuable, but often least recognized, source of a company’s intellectual property is the staff. However, keeping those hearts and minds loyal to the cause is no easy feat. Middle managers and human resources experts are needed for their specialized abilities. The volatile nature of R&D and funding also necessitates carefully crafted communications with a diverse audience.
The creation of innovations in a knowledge intensive sector is essentially a dynamic process. The biotechnology revolution also had a profound impact on the organization of innovation creation, and subsequently, on industrial organization in the biopharmaceutical sector. Considering the prospectus of patenting new drugs and diagnostics both the inventor and a manager of an invention-intensive business will need to understand to make meaningful decisions on the subject. Because of the importance of intellectual property protection in biotechnology, the life science graduates with technical and legal expertise are needed to write and defend patents and assist in the collection and evaluation in the competitive biotechnology industries.
So, you’ve managed to read this column on biotechnology management. I hope you have enjoyed it. I also had a good time writing it. I welcome your comments and suggestions!