Jeffrey Coolidge/Getty Images All too often, R&D units in big life sciences companies become hamstrung by management layers, bureaucracy, and HR processes that kill the innovation these units are expected to create.
This is because innovation thrives in small groups of creative scientists and technologists who are kept largely free of structure, rules, and too much management. It’s what makes smaller companies such powerful innovation engines. (For example, biotechs accounted for 38 of the 59 new therapies approved in 2018 compared with 21 for Big Pharma, according to the Biotechnology Innovation Organization .)
So how can leaders of large companies transform their R&D units to rival the productivity of those firms? By running R&D like a small company, inside the big one.
With more than 40 years of collective experience in life sciences, we have seen this strategy work first-hand. Jeff leads a biomedical research laboratory where he has spun out seven highly innovative companies with multiple products on the market and under clinical development, raising more than $400 million in the process. Ken has served as a senior executive in several large global biopharma companies where he helped to create innovation cultures and now runs a C-suite leadership consultancy.
Here are three steps science-based organizations can take to make their R&D groups more effective.
Streamline the org chart in innovation areas.
R&D organizations often have four or more layers of management between the head of the department and the people doing the work. These include deputy heads of R&D, therapeutic area SVPs, […]
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