Magazine Article | March 8, 2017

Gender Diversity – Can Biopharma Do Better?

By Rob Wright, Chief Editor, Life Science Leader
Follow Me On Twitter @RfwrightLSL

This February I attended the 19th annual BIO CEO & Investor Conference in New York. Similar to its January counterpart (i.e., the annual J. P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco), BIO CEO provides an opportunity for companies to conduct company presentations and Q&As (about 173 in total for 2017). However, where BIO CEO differs from JPM is that it also provides attendees with a number of educational forums. And while this year’s selection included hot topics such as value-based therapy payment models, biosimilars, IPOs, and a post-inauguration market outlook, the session that captured my attention was “Embedding Diversity into Board and Executive Team Recruitment.” Moderated by Julie Gerberding, M.D., EVP, and chief patient officer at Merck (and also the subject of our January 2016 cover feature), the session promised to explore how, despite biopharma’s enormous growth, inclusion of underrepresented groups (i.e., minorities and women) in influential board positions has failed to keep pace. As a result, company boards are often neither a very good reflection of the employee bases they lead nor the patient populations they serve.

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