Case Study:


The Client:

A clinical stage public company developing gene therapies in the area of rare diseases. This company, based in Massachusetts, has a technology platform lentiviral gene therapy technology platform and three clinical programs.

The Objective:

Following some changes in the R&D organisation, it was acknowledged by the board and management that a new Chief Medical Officer should be appointed. With multiple programmes now in the clinic, plus a global clinical and registration strategy being pursued for each programme, a senior medical and clinical expert was needed to fulfil the company’s growing strategic, leadership and clinical requirements. Furthermore, given the gene therapy modality, plus the rare disease indications, the company felt that they required a CMO who could comfortably oversee everything from translational development through to commercial.

The Search Approach:

  • Worked with the executive team and the human resources function to develop a defined profile for the Chief Medical Officer, focusing on responsibility, competencies and objectives.

  • Conducted a broader assessment of the company, the technology, development programmes, financing and competitive positioning. This was necessary to build a compelling brief for the position, heightening competitiveness in a tight market for senior medical and clinical executives.

  • With an understanding of the full leadership and strategic requirements of the role, Liftstream developed a competency matrix that would guide the search at all stages leading up to the shortlist, as well as beyond. Created a role-specific search strategy and candidate assessment methodology.

  • The desire for the appointed Chief Medical Officer to be located in Massachusetts meant our search strategy and the subsequent market research was undertaken, prioritised the local market but also accounted for opportunities that would exist outside of this, both in the national US market as well as internationally.

  • Utilised our deep market knowledge of rare diseases and innovative modalities like gene therapy to develop a targeted search that also would include a sufficient number of candidate prospects to deliver our mandate.

  • Acknowledging the high level of market activity for senior and medical recruitment, the strategy focused on clear and compelling communication, written and verbal, to maximise candidate engagement. We understood that the number of candidates entering the top of the funnel would need to be higher than average to deliver shortlist candidates.

  • The shortlist was developed with 5 candidates being approved for client assessment. The shortlist has one woman candidate and 2 candidates from racial minorities.

The Outcome:

The interview process was conducted by the executive management team, including the CEO, plus selected members of the board. The candidates were selected for the strength of their leadership skills, experience in building clinical development and medical functions, and their ability to advance the development and commercial launch activities in the disease and modality setting.
Two candidates were considered suitable to be offered the role, one with expertise in translational development, the other far more oriented to late-stage development and medical affairs. After losing the latter candidate to a competitive offer elsewhere, the company offered the role to the former.