Magazine Article | October 12, 2011

Ask The Board October 2011

Source: Life Science Leader

Q: What are some of the biggest emerging biotech centers in the United States?
The effect of the 2008 recession has led to a relative invigoration of new markets in the Midwest, Southwest, and southern United States led by supportive capital structures – both private and public.

For example, Texas has made a very strong move in growing its biotech industry with its CPRIT (Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas) initiative. Kansas appears to be strongly committed to growing biotech through its nondiluted seed funding programs from the state, as well as bridges to private capital via state liaisons. Wisconsin, which historically has had great IP and a good network of biotech entrepreneurs, but a lack of commitment from the public sector, is now emerging as a biotech player via a $400 billion state-administered venture fund. At this year’s BIO convention, governors of Wisconsin, Oklahoma, South Dakota, North Carolina, and Massachusetts were prominent in my view.

Jeff Evans, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Oncoholdings, previously served as president of Rondaxe, a leading pharmaceutical consultancy which he cofounded in 2003, and as director of worldwide development sourcing and planning for Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Q: Given the consistent negative news coverage of fraudulent activity in the life sciences industry, what would you suggest these companies do to better manage their image? 
First ask, “Why did companies engage in behavior that was counter to social and civil ethics?”  In order to prevent employees from acting foolishly, causing irreparable damage to a company’s image, leadership needs to instill strong values in their corporate culture.  Integrity is one of the most important components to building and maintaining brand image. Companies built on integrity are better positioned to earn consumer trust — the very basic element for which a brand stands and upon which one builds a brand or portfolio of brands. Integrity, trust, and brands are but a few ingredients of a company’s image. Trust is very difficult to earn and very easy to lose. Companies need to instill integrity in everything they do for an extended period of time.

William Lundstrom is professor of marketing and international business in the Nance College of Business Administration at Cleveland State University. He is the author of over 100 articles in the areas of international marketing and business, buyer behavior, and marketing strategy.

Q: How do you get the people with the power to see there is truly a problem with silos? 
Silos are a significant impediment to effectiveness/success, and it is challenging to break them down.  To this end, it can be helpful to make the business case as to why this is so crucial, offering both negative and positive examples. On the negative side of the equation, you can examine a situation that was made much more difficult/ineffective due to the lack of collaboration across the organization. Provide as many specifics/metrics as possible, such as a deliverable date was “x” days later due to the silo-related challenges. 

On the positive side of the equation, point to a situation or situations where ad hoc teams that spanned the silos came together, worked in tandem, and achieved better results more quickly. Again, provide as much detail as possible. Even before top executives push for a culture shift, the success of such informal, ad hoc efforts will likely cause others to follow suit — effecting a grass-roots change that is often more successful than top-down directives. 

Deborah Coogan Seltzer is the 2011 president of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association and a member of executive search firm Spencer Stuart’s Life Sciences Practice. Over 22 years, she has partnered with leading life sciences companies in recruiting senior executives across all functional areas.

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