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Job Market Brutal, but Good Biotech Entrepreneurs Still Hard to Find

Layoffs due to restructuring, mergers, acquisitions and even bankrupties are flooding the biotech job market with talent, but venture capitalists say finding great entrepreneurs is still the hardest part of their job.

Bob More, general partner at Frazier Healthcare Ventures, said in a recent email chat that "the capital is there for good ideas -- it really is." But finding "the right people to execute" those ideas is 90 percent of the problem. Yes, really.

More explained there are definitely a lot of talented people on the market -- people who can run big organizations, people who are really smart -- but entrepreneurial is just different.

What makes a great biotech entrepreneur? More described these rare birds as people who:

have great abilities to see opportunity, surround themselves with great people, and make a heck of a lot of great decisions in science and business along the way. I am of the opinion that there is a 'gravitational pull' that the great teams have both for ideas, and for other team members...They all have vision, an ability to convice others either by being smart, personable, motivational -- whatever.
These people are few and far between, he said, adding that in any industry, there are "a few special people that can make stuff happen."

"I would make the analogy to bike riding...when Lance signs up, chances are you have yourself a team," More said.

And finding the Lance Armstrongs of biotech is getting harder because, with financing so difficult, the CEO job is becoming less appealing.

"We seem to spend a lot of time these days on recruiting," More said.


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