Over the course of the last few years, biotech startups have had an increasingly impactful role in medical innovation.
Why? They’re agile, receptive, efficient, and scalable.
While larger pharmaceutical organisations traditionally facilitate drug development and launches, the last three years have seen more than 40% of new active substances both originating and launching from biotech startups.
Biotech investment rose to record levels over 2021 in the UK, and current statistics show today's investment market isn't far behind, creating a lucrative platform for biotech expansion and growth.
Read on to discover:
- What a biotech company is
- The benefits of working for a biotech startup
- Key questions to consider before you apply
- How to start your journey in biotech today
What is a biotech company?
Biotechnology is in itself a broad term referring to using living organisms to research, develop, and produce commercial, agricultural, and medical products.
While some biotechnology companies specialise in the commercial and agricultural markets, most startups, in particular, are focused on the medical sphere, where they aim to create breakthrough drugs for difficult-to-treat conditions.
While biotechnology does have parallels with the pharmaceutical industry with drug development, the medicines biotechnology companies produce are created from living organisms, while in the pharmaceutical industry, medicines are created through chemical synthesis (hence the need for chemists in pharma).
5 benefits of working for a biotech startup
Fast-tracked progression and development
In larger companies, it can be difficult to stand out and gain continuous access to key decision opportunities. In biotech startups, you’re likely to be involved in elements of decision-making at an earlier stage than you would in a larger organisation. This consequently enables you to gain a lot of experience in a short period of time, and access career succession faster.
You have a formative role in shaping your company’s culture
Whereas at larger companies, the company culture is pre-set and well-established, smaller biotech organisations enable you to bring your ideas to the table and adapt elements of the culture to suit your team and promote engagement – this makes for a fulfilling and exciting work environment.
Variety and flexibility
When your co-workers are off, you may be expected to help cover aspects of other work. While this can be challenging, it can also expose you to a wide breadth of activities that you would otherwise not have access to in a larger business. If you’re looking for flexibility and variety in your day-to-day work, biotech startups can provide a stimulating and exciting environment where you can experience just that.
Exposure to collaborative projects with big pharma
Biotech startups often collaborate with big pharmaceutical organisations on specialist therapies. In some cases, biotech startups are acquired by the larger organisation, and merge resources to sustain their projects and accelerate new ones. Having this sort of exposure to a range of big pharmaceutical organisations can be a good way to build up stakeholder management expertise, and a deeper knowledge of the wider pharmaceutical industry.
Be at the cutting edge of scientific innovation
Biotech startups are playing an increasingly important role in drug discovery and development as they fuel the medical innovations of tomorrow. Working at a startup biotech organisation will put you at the helm of driving those innovations and facilitating their progression.
What’s more, some biotech startups have stock options for their staff, creating the opportunity to derive a direct benefit from the success of your projects.
Key questions to consider before you apply:
- Can you work independently with little guidance?
In smaller biotech teams, there aren’t always staff on hand with the same specialist areas as you might have to support with experimental issues.
- Are you able to meet strict deadlines?
Your work is responsible for the future success of the organisation – this means meeting strict deadlines and proactively playing a role in generating the data needed to secure funding regularly.
- How do you deal with uncertainty?
The company’s future is unlikely to be set in stone, and it’s important to have a resilient mindset and attitude to work to succeed in a start-up environment.
Start your journey in biotech today
Explore our opportunities across biotech below and accelerate your success in the sector today.
About the author: Philippa Clark is Head of Scientific Discovery at SRG. Philippa has close to 19 years Life Sciences recruitment experience, supporting Biotechs and start-ups across the Cambridge, Oxford & London bioclusters. Philippa works with customers to provide a range of bespoke talent solutions, talent skill mapping and market analysis. Click here to connect with Philippa on Linkedin