The growth of the biotechnology area promoted a series of transformations in industries such as pharmaceutical, food, and agricultural inputs. According to Tim Haines – Managing Partner at the life sciences venture capital firm Abingworth, the biotech industry has changed through the years and believes that it has finally come of age. He further said, “If you go back 20 years, less than 10% of the products in pharma’s pipeline came from biotech. Today it’s over 65%.”
The use of the properties of living beings makes it possible to develop different products, from fertilizers to plant species resistant to pesticides. But it is the application in the field of health that has given prominence to biotechnology in recent months, a time when the world is turning its efforts to combat the coronavirus.
Biotech companies served as the great hope for creating an effective vaccine against Covid-19, ensuring immunization on a large scale to eradicate the disease.
Use of management consultants
Of course, these are busy times for the pharma and biotech industries. The endless need to efficiently develop innovative drugs and devices is often complicated by increasingly intense regulatory demands and cost pressures, leaving companies with far more work than time. All of this has led to a significant increase in the use of management consultants in recent years.
Pharma and consulting didn’t always enjoy such a cozy relationship. Historically, the industry has been reluctant to use consultants, fearing that consultants simply would lack the specialized knowledge the industry demands. But as pressures have piled up, pharma has taken advantage of the extra help.
What does a biotech consultant do?
In general, all consultants provide expert opinions, analysis, and recommendations to organizations based on their own background and experiences.
For example, pharmaceutical companies launch new drugs to the market every year. However, federal and international regulations can be complex. Companies may not have the bandwidth or expertise to ensure their products and their advertising meets full regulatory compliance. The company may then hire a biotech consultant or consulting firm that specializes in regulatory law for pharmaceuticals.
The biotech consultant may provide expert analysis on aspects of the drug’s design, ethics surrounding testing measures and protocols, or an evaluation of the marketing materials.
According to Jeffrey G. Jones, Managing Partner of The Deerborne Group — a veteran-owned management consulting firm that focuses exclusively on the global biotechnology, in-vitro diagnostic (IVD), and life sciences industries — “At the Deerborne Group, our primary focus is advising corporations, venture capital, and private equity firms on commercial, operations, and corporate strategy. We do this by helping them identify opportunities, minimize risks, and how best to navigate some of their most difficult management challenges”
Although the pandemic has negatively impacted many industries, it can also present biotech consulting firms with opportunities. Clients are also reaching out to consultants to restructure their operations to offer telehealth services, ensure business continuity, and build resilience for any future disruptions. As the economies are now slowly re-opening, majority of the companies will be looking for strategies for re-entering the market and mapping out the different scenarios. This is where the biotech consulting firms can offer their expertise and guidance.