Welcome to the monthly Molecule to Market wrap-up – a summary of the episodes we released in December, just in case you haven’t had time to listen to every single one. Enjoy!
Jim Miller joined us again to reflect on the past 12 months in the outsourcing space, as well as looking to 2023 to discuss what challenges and opportunities are coming for the life science sector. Check out a snippet from his episode…
What can we learn from the financial crisis of 2008 and how industries adapted to survive?
“Well, I think one of the things we learned in the global financial crisis was how long these funding issues can last. For example, the IPO window shut in 2008/2009, and really didn’t open again until 2013. So we had a period of four or five years where there were very few IPOs in the biopharma industry, so emerging biopharma companies had a difficult time raising money that way. And when that IPO market closes, it has an impact on venture capital, because it makes it harder for venture capital companies to exit or liquefy their investments, and realize some of their investments. Typically when an emerging biopharma company reaches a certain point with its pipeline and it’s going into the clinic, particularly as it gets into phase two, it needs a lot of money to fund trials and invest in larger scale manufacturing capability, even if that’s through a CDMO. And that’s what the IPO process has generally been about – starting with IPOs, and then those open up access to secondary offerings, and so forth, which is where the big money is raised.”
Sarah Stevens, Senior Vice President & Head of Early Development & Late Stage Commercial at Quotient Sciences, came on the podcast this month to discuss her transatlantic CDMO career, words of wisdom for young women developing a career in the outsourcing space, Quotient’s concept of Translational Pharmaceutics®, and more. Here’s a clip of the conversation…
What are some cultural differences between the UK and US that you’ve noticed?
“…in some, some respects, I’ve often felt the similarities are surprising; when I first moved here, I was struck, actually, by some of the similar dynamics around operational challenges or how we address an opportunity, or how we rally as a team around a problem. There are obviously cultural differences and I think often even outside of work, we can at times underestimate the cultural difference between the UK and the US in general and then of course, within the US, you’ve got the uniqueness of the East Coast West Coast cultures.
There is a real directness, actually, around the way that people operate, particularly on the East Coast, which I actually think is quite conducive to getting things done. At times in the UK, and again, not even to dissect the UK and its many subcultures, but there can be polite deliberation, which there’s strengths and weaknesses to both cultural dynamics. But, particularly if you’re in an operational and manufacturing environment, I can see some of the productivity on the East Coast that just looks a little different than the UK.”
We also looked back at some early podcast episodes that kick-started Molecule to Market, including conversations with Stefano Console, founder and Senior Advisor at Oriento; Claire Thompson, founder and CEO of Agility Life Sciences; Jitesh Devendra, Managing Director at Solara Active Pharma Sciences; and Mary Christian, Senior Vice President, Regulatory & Quality at Lyndra Therapeutics.
Here’s a clip from Stefano’s conversation where he discusses starting his business in Sweden and how their team structure of fractional management is helping Oriento succeed.
“…And despite being an Italian citizen, I found that Switzerland is a very nice place not only for its beautiful landscape, but to do business. It’s very smart, efficient, flexible and supportive to the business. So this is the reason the company has been incorporated there.
Oriento is growing with the philosophy of fractional management, which means there are a few individuals that are the core employees of the company and then there are two circles around the core. One of these circles are the external associates and most of them are people that I used to do business with or former clients. Everyone, like me, is passionate about something. For example, I’m very passionate about the upskill of organic chemistry and particle engineering. But we have other individuals very passionate in supply chain management analytics or in formulation.
We created this team of associates that in some way, is similar to that of lawyers or economic consultants. We’re creating a network of organizations and companies that can meet and create our ideas and our vision. The idea is to have a group of very passionate people working together because many times in the past, I have found that there was a lack of expertise or competence when we faced projects. So Oriento is growing, stepping up to solve the issue of the level of experience I have seen in big organizations, who are often less flexible, because they need very clear and defined rules, and there is less space for innovation. It’s evident, especially in North America and Boston, that the innovation is coming from startups; the bigger organizations bring it to mass market, but really the idea is coming from startups.”
We ended the year with a roundup and review from our host, Raman Sehgal. He shared his musings on trends from the past 30+ episodes that went live in 2022, covering topics such as the slowdown of the biotech capital market, sustainability, digitization, and more. Enjoy a snippet from this episode…
Discussing trends in sustainability across outsourcing
“…the second one is sustainability. I did a podcast episode in the summer about supply chain trends, and this is the one that I predicted would become a much bigger part of the conversation. What was fascinating at CPHI Worldwide in Frankfort earlier this year, was the amount of companies that had messaging or design work or some kind of quirk that aimed to show quite overtly ‘Hey, we’re thinking about ESG and sustainability about climate change!’. Now, I think what’s more challenging in this area is whether talking the talk, actually reflects walking the walk. I think it will become a bigger issue for all of us in our lives in the next few years, and the sector has to be part of that. So again, I think one of the things I’m going to try and unlock next year is getting under the skin of what companies are actually doing. I think it’s a great area to talk about from a messaging perspective and an external positioning perspective, but I think what might be more helpful for companies is to just understand what others are doing in the space to help actually make a real difference.”
Check back soon for our January wrap-up and get in touch with your podcast recommendations for 2023!