Case Study:


The Client:

An early-stage platform technology company developing therapeutics for neurodegenerative, cancer and autoimmune diseases.

The Objective:

Following financing from investors, the investor director, who had fulfilled the Chair role since the company’s inception, wished to step aside and appoint an independent Chair of the board who could provide more effective leadership of the board and the syndicate of investors. The company is developing a new and novel technology platform that requires effective strategic input at the board level. The Chair was seen as someone who could introduce another level of experience and capability in this area. Further financing would be required, so a network of investors was seen as another value the Chair could offer.

The Search Approach:

  • Conduct briefings with members of the board to understand needs. Used discussions to develop a clear sense of the desired profile and strategic goals of the company.
  • Developed the profile of the Chair to be appointed based on analysis and discussions, and produced a detailed role description and competency structure for the Chair of the board.
  • Built an international targeting strategy for the search encompassing experience, disease areas and modality experience, location, capacity to serve, and other factors.
  • Developed a structured assessment methodology which evaluated the appropriate competencies for the Chair role and enabled a consistent evaluation across all candidates.
  • Identified candidates in multiple facets of the life sciences, focusing mainly on biotech and pharmaceutical companies. Candidates were targeted based on the strategy and well-defined criteria.
  • The Target list included in excess of 70 candidates situated in the US and EU. The list included ~46% women, significantly higher than the average for a Chair search based on the low number of women fulfilling these roles.
  • Engaged with selected candidates and assessed their capabilities and suitability to serve as Chair.
  • Produced a shortlist of 4 candidates (1 woman and 3 men).

The Outcome:

Liftstream covered a considerable number of prospects to find the right candidates. Heavy biotech investment in 2021 led to capacity tightening, and this new technology required interested parties to investigate and engage with the opportunity fully. All shortlisted candidates were experienced in serving on boards of biotech companies, either private or public. The candidate nominated to the board was chosen for their incredible accomplishments in developing drugs for relevant diseases, experience as a CEO and board director, and deep knowledge of platform technologies and fundraising.