The Road Ahead: Bioinformatics-A Talent Perspective

Derek Pyper

Senior Search Consultant-Life Sciences

Kaye/Bassman International, Inc.

Guess what! The recession is over as of last year. Seriously? For many of us in the life sciences space 2009 and 2010 were, and have been, tough years. In 2010 things started off very well, many will recall the stock market began moving upward late last year from 9,487 on October 2nd 2009 to 10,725 on January 19th 2010, with it our team saw the market pick up and more searches came our way and the team filled a couple of critical role, then 19 days after that high point in January it was February 8th and the market had dropped 817 points and…here it is September 2010 and things are finally starting to look up in this market because the recession supposedly ended over a year ago.

Our team here at Kaye/Bassman has seen a pretty dramatic turn in the amount of searches we’ve been engaged on during the past 2-3 months, this is especially true within bioinformatics as it relates to genomics. Companies are finding the need to disseminate and analyze data generated by genomic tools to be of the highest priority. On a daily basis I talk to scientific thought leaders that are hiring within biotech, biopharma, and pharma—to a person they’re looking for a simpler way analyze, pipeline, store, and standardize genomic/biological data and scientific professionals to help them do so. I also talk with, on a daily basis, the commercial leaders that are trying to hire sales, marketing, and business development professionals that understand the workflow that generates this data so they may sell their enterprise solutions. The mission is clear for both: to hire the best people to solve these challenges, either as a vendor offering a solution or a scientist building a solution. A prime example of this is Life Technologies is building a team of developers, engineers, and bioinformaticists to develop and commercialize their own brand of data analysis software as a stand alone product (outside of the Informax portfolio). As well, bio/pharmaceutical, clinical dx, and molecular dx companies are building out their own platforms, internally, to attack this need and are creating their own applications/tools to address their own unique challenges, while still others are gaining funding to develop solutions where the funding was, relatively dry, a year ago. And the languages are clear: C, C++, C#, R, Java, Python and Perl on .NET Frameworks, UNIX and Linux Platforms and the Cloud.

I have read myriad articles over the past few months that indicate this market will continue to grow significantly over the next 3-4 years. Of course, I take the resurgence within the informatics market with a grain of salt because I remember when Lion Bioscience was our client, Tripos was our client, and recall a number of other companies that were the “next and best” that are now gone, or a skeleton of their former selves.

With all the above said, I talked with two leaders this past week, one an Executive Director of Global Informatics at a top four pharmaceutical company, the other the CIO of a next generation sequencing company and they both had the same message to me, “if you have anyone that knows bioinformatics AND clinical informatics we would like to talk with them.” That message resonated loud and clear with me as I had just read this fascinating article (US Clinics Quietly Embrace Whole-Genome Sequencing) in Nature.

What this all means to the bioinformatics and computational sciences market is that while the war for talent may have taken a 24 month sabbatical all indications are the battle is resuming. Our team is here to help you win that battle and give you market insight in to today’s talent pool and to help you find that next great position.

I will close with this quote from Jim Collins, author of Good to Great: “If I were running a company today, I would have one priority above all others: to acquire as many of the best people as I could. I’d put off everything else to fill my bus. Because things are going to come back.”

Please feel free to give me a call if you’d like to learn more about our practice, share ideas, or just to chat.


About Derek

I am a Senior Search Consultant with the firm Kaye/Bassman and work, primarily, in the areas of genomics and bioinformatics. You may view my linkedin profile here:
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