BJC Capital Advisors LLC
The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) is a core member of any biopharmaceutical company’s leadership team. This executive is responsible for the design and execution of a clinical development strategy that is central to the company’s success. As such, significant time and resources are committed to hiring a CMO whose specific expertise will facilitate achievement of program objectives. While a background in a specific disease state is often believed to be the prioritized prerequisite, other considerations may be of equal, or possibly greater, importance especially to earlier-stage companies. These include:
Despite the multiple benefits of involving a CMO early in a drug candidate’s development, companies frequently do not hire a CMO prior to filing an IND. Often it is because of the expense or the less than a full-time need. Instead, these companies often rely on KOL or SAB members as a substitute, advisors that may lack the relevant clinical experience or may not have sufficient time for thoughtful engagement.
Prior to committing to a full-time hire, an appropriate functional bridge may be the fractional CMO. Accessing a senior-level CMO talent on a fractional level provides the company the multitude of benefits a CMO can offer it without many of the financial encumbrances of a permanent employee. Moreover, while indication-specific knowledge may be desired, the broad functional capabilities of an experienced CMO often outweigh an understanding of a particular disease state. The backgrounds of seasoned CMO talents include experiences across many disease states, indicative of their ability to acquire requisite indication insights rapidly.
About the Author
Ben Conway is a long-tenured investment banker with a primary focus on the biopharmaceutical sector. In addition to investment banking, his experience includes positions in large pharma as well as with smaller emerging biotech platforms.