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New Study Shows How Academics are the Driving Force in Oncology R&D

Posted on 02/10/2018

Talent pipeline struggling to keep up with demand

The RSA Group, the leading global Life Sciences executive search firm, has published the latest of its Talent Equity® reports.  The new report identifies academia as the driving force in biotech’s fast moving oncology sector with almost half of the sector’s scientific leadership coming from academic research and many others acting as key players in vital collaborations between industry, academia, charities and governments.

The huge inflow of investment in recent years has given companies the fuel to grow their teams but there simply aren’t enough experienced people to go around the industry. Because of this, companies are having to be much more flexible and the growing demand has encouraged academics to play a bigger role than previously. While some will naturally continue to work in academia and forge collaborations with industry, many others are seeking capital and spinning out their own companies. A third group are joining industry in positions where they can facilitate the translation of science to clinical programmes and these individuals are being appointed as CSOs in SME biotech companies or in senior leadership positions, such as translational scientists, in larger pharma and biotechs.

“Transitions from academia/the not-for-profit sector to industry are a sign of the intense competition for talent in this space. These transitions and the growth in collaborations are acting as a catalyst and are helping to solve the problem of talent shortages” according to Nick Stephens, Executive Chair at The RSA Group. “The academic leaders who make the move from scientific and medical academia to industry often bring connections to a significant and extended network, adding to a company’s reach and acting as a magnet for future talent”.

The new study shows that the traditional R&D path in the pharma industry is a business model under pressure. The large and growing number of separate organisations working in oncology are all looking for talented leadership from a pool of individuals that simply isn’t growing at the same rate.

Read the full report here: Leadership in Oncology Innovation