Setting the scene

With cancer being an enormous challenge for people and healthcare systems globally, the focus in life sciences to develop solutions has become an area of enormous innovation. Including immuno-oncology solutions has taken a stride forward in the last decade with multiple products reaching the market and becoming wildly available. 

One of these innovations, oncolytic vaccines has seen multiple approaches come from both start-ups and big biopharma. This focus has created a severe pressure point on individuals that understand the challenges involved in clinical development and operations of these highly complex programmes. 

Our partner, a European Biotech entering into multiple phase I/II clinical trials, needed our support following a completed fundraise and desire to have a change in personnel. 

Assessment of needs

As with all our processes, we look at hiring with a view point of understanding the milestones our client is looking to make followed by building out personnel and talent required for that to be achieved. 

With a full review of gaps in the team, this business’s current plans and milestones of 12, 24 and 36 months ahead, we progressed with the aim of bringing onboard a Chief Medical Officer, Senior Medical Development Director, Programme Leader and Clinical Project Manager – with the CMO and programme leader being of greatest priority. 

The business was able to utilise our network to bring onboard an effective CRO solution to support their unique challenges ahead. 


The search for the CMO was international, drawing on candidates across the US, Europe and UK with an emphasis on East Coast US or mainland Europe. We presented a shortlist with a geographic mix within 5 weeks of initiation of the search and the offer and acceptance of the candidate was completed by week 8. 

The individual that accepted the role was a Boston-based, board certified Oncologist capable of giving European access to US financial networks considering their past record supporting fundraising rounds. 

From here we attracted a programme leader, medical development director that were local to the company in Europe, and a freelance clinical project manager based in the US due to trial site locations. 


The impact for the company has been that the CMO has not only been able to attract talent directly to the business long term, but also support them in bringing on investors capable of raising an aggressive series C. 

The team that has been hired has gone on to successfully complete the studies with positive end points and all four members of the team have stayed with the organisation now for more than 12 months.

Nick Ross

Author Nick Ross

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