RNAi stealth biotech research team build-out

Proclinical Staffing our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 22/07/2022

RNAi stealth biotech
research team build-out

Case study

The overview

One of our longstanding VC partners, with whom we have helped build several new biotechs, had secured funding to launch a new stealth biotech, based in Cambridge, MA, to develop a novel reprogrammable RNAi modality.

With only a CSO and Head of Biology in place as the two founding full time employees, we were engaged to build out their initial research teams in Cambridge, MA.

The challenge

Since this was a band new company in stealth mode with no reputation or even a website, a major challenge was to gain buy-in from potential candidates. To compound this further, the talent pool of individuals with the required skillset is very limited with lots of competition due to a significant uptake in RNA therapeutic R&D in the last few years.

As they were a new company, every employee would contribute significantly to the culture, so hiring for culture fit was of critical importance and we needed to be selective in this area.

The solution

We agreed an exclusive partnership which enabled us to commit additional resources to the project and engage candidates by taking a consistent message to market. We provided a single point of contact and set up weekly calls with our partner’s CSO and stakeholders from the VC fund to provide them with progress updates throughout the project.

Led by our Global SME in Discovery & Preclinical, we worked closely with our partners to establish a thorough understanding of their company strategy and mission and develop a value proposition that would attract and engage talent.

We also gained a detailed understanding of the skills and values they required in candidates to build their initial teams and commissioned a team of several recruiters, all ex-scientists, to map the market and strategically target individuals at competitor companies as well as relevant academic labs with RNAi / oligonucleotide therapeutics experience.

Our team was able to pool candidates for key positions that were milestone dependant and accelerate hiring for those roles when milestones were reached.

The outcome

As their exclusive recruitment partner, we were responsible for providing almost all hires into our partner’s initial research teams. This includes subject matter experts headhunted from leading RNAi competitors, as well as academics from world-renowned RNA therapeutics research institutes.

Positions filled included Group Leaders for RNAi Chemistry and Biology; Laboratory Manager, Principal Scientist; and multiple Scientist and SRA roles.

Our partner’s initial lab space is now full, and they are on track to meet key milestones to develop their RNAi therapeutics towards clinical trials.

They are currently in the process of securing additional lab space and have forecast a 20 head exclusive next phase build with Proclinical, including hires across biology and chemistry, bioinformatics, project management, CMC, clinical, regulatory, and quality.