Understanding the importance of the CBO role in Biotech Leads to Filling the Vacancy in Executive Search
The importance of the chief business officer (CBO) role cannot be underestimated in a modern life sciences industry. The role has become increasingly important over the last several years, as biotech companies must develop tactical business strategies with exceptional increases in investment from VCs and public investors.
While big pharma maintains a stronghold of capital in the industry, a rising interest in healthcare over the past decade has also spurred investment from private equity firms, creating broader competition in the market now that pharmaceutical companies are not solely competing against one another (Bell, n.d.).
In addition, individual biotech companies enhance their competitive edge through strategic partnerships with CDMOs, smaller pharmaceutical companies, and biotech companies developing complementary technology. The CBO is instrumental in these processes.
The importance of the CBO, particularly in life sciences and biotech, is that he or she assumes full management responsibility for the company’s dealmaking, provides leadership, and executes deal strategies that will allow the company to fulfill its scientific or tech mission, and build shareholder value (Wikipedia, n.d.).
The CBO is often given the responsibilities to conduct all business and corporate development activities, maintain relationship and project management of all partnership agreements, and develop an exit strategy for the company to be acquired or to go IPO (“Chief Business Officer,” 2021). Depending on the needs of the company, another importance of the CBO is they may function as the chief commercial officer or chief strategy officer.
Due to the dynamism required of a CBO in the life sciences industry, it is common for these biotech executive leaders to have diverse backgrounds, both in business and science. Don Haut, CBO of Asklepios Biopharmaceuticals in 2020, had over two decades of business expertise in healthcare, biotechnology, and medical technology (Globe News Wire, 2020). Asklepios is a key player in next generation gene therapies, and has both an AAV-based gene therapy platform, as well as is an established CDMO business (Arthur, 2020). The company ended up in the top 10 M&A’s of 2020, with Bayer acquiring AskBio in a deal worth up to $4B.
From an executive search perspective, if biotech companies are able to operate with greater independence from large pharmaceutical companies for longer, then more opportunities are afforded to executive search consultants to place top talent, especially in the role of CBO.
When looking to fill a CBO role, Alex Ellis, Life Sciences Divisional Director at G&E Partners Talent Management Agency looks at the types of deals the candidate has made in past with regards to pivotal financial milestones, analysis of specifics such as collaborations with large pharma partners, or leading successful series funding rounds. In order to track these deals G&E Partners has invested in industry leading tools such as Pitchbook.
If you’re interested in learning more about G&E Partners’ talent management approach to executive search, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arthur, R. (26 October 2020). Bayer acquires AsklepiosBioPharmaceutical in deal worth up to $4bn. Biopharma-Reporter.com. https://www.biopharma-reporter.com/Article/2020/10/26/Bayer-acquires-Asklepios-BioPharmaceutical
Bell, J. (n.d.). 5 trends in biotech dealmaking to watch in 2021. Biopharma Dive. https://www.biopharmadive.com/trendline/biopharma-dive-outlook-2021/119/
Globe News Wire. (7 April 2020). Don Haut, PhD, joins AskBio as chief business officer. https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/04/07/2012825/0/en/Don-Haut-PhD-Joins-AskBio-as-Chief-Business-Officer.html
Chief Business Officer. (21 March 2021). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_business_officer#:~:text=In%20the%20biotechnology%2C%20information%20technology,scientific%2Ftechnology%20mission%20and%20build