International Biotechnology Company

Employer branding and culture strategy to support a transformation from R&D to full commercialization.

Capabilities Deployed: Brand, Strategy, Creative, Innovation, Culture

The Challenge

This biotech firm had a 15+ year history, with a focus on developing the industry’s most advanced gene editing platform. The company had limited experience with clinical trials and virtually non-existent commercialization expertise outside the C-Suite. The company had received $500 million in funding from a major pharmaceutical company, creating significant pressure to develop a viable, FDA approved gene therapy. Consequently, there was a need to ramp to scale on critical commercialization capabilities, and to attract new talent (more than doubling headcount in 12-18 months, and in a highly competitive market for top talent). This represented an unprecedented strategic bet, and the greatest transformation in the company’s history.

Our Solution

We formed a leadership task force including all C-Suite executives and their direct reports. We then interviewed 50+ leaders, managers and employees to assess the current culture, its strengths, and possible obstacles to achieving the company vision. We facilitated Leadership & Culture Workshops to drive the leadership team to a shared intent regarding the culture required to achieve the company’s aggressive objectives. We developed a Leadership & Culture Framework establishing key cultural dimensions, identifying organizational tensions and cultural risks, and detailed the required shifts and key leadership actions to drive the target culture. We then led several employee experience co-design workshops involving staff from across the organization and at multiple levels. We developed an Employer Brand Narrative to assist the leadership team in communicating the strategic vision and the required cultural transformation and its rationale to all employees, and we built an Employee Experience Design Framework to enable the client teams to design experiences that bring the target culture to life and ensure that it will take hold.

The Outcome

Implementation is ongoing, and the client is extremely pleased with the results of each recommended initiative they have implemented. Key successes have included the ability to attract and retain top talent in an extremely competitive labor pool, and most recently, the company received an additional $400 million investment from multiple pharma companies for additional therapy development efforts – indicating considerable investor and partner confidence in both the company’s leadership and the organizational transformation. The company now has 16 therapeutic programs in pre-clinical phases, four in Phase 1/2, and one in Phase 3 clinical trials.