WHAT WAS THE IMPACT OF COVID19 ON THE BIOTECH, PHARMA AND LIFE SCIENCE INDUSTRIES?

A DISCUSSION DURING BIOTRINITY 2020 WITH SUE REES

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Impact of Covid 19

It’s fair to say that everyone has been impacted, but what was fascinating to me was that some I spoke to had been able to adapt and move quickly and some had told me that timelines were delayed, but not paused completely. “The shift patterns that we and our contracting partners are now having to employ means that we’re actually still able to run at about 80% capacity,” David Hallett from Exscientia told me. “We’re also seeing some partners based in China are now beginning to come back to almost normal operations.”


However, in some specific situations, there’s a much bigger impact. Tony Hill of Cytox, for example, is working in the field of Alzheimer’s drug research. “There’s been a huge impact for us. The target population for the clinical trials that Pharma companies are involved in with DMT’s for AD. We are working with the elderly and therefore in one of the vulnerable groups, so we’re feelinga direct and immediate impact there.”


Several people told me that planned expansions, office moves, or recruitment drives were now on hold. One told me that remote working had shown them that the days of needing a desk for every employee 100% of the time were now over and that corporate expansion wouldn’t necessarily mean a requirement for larger premises.


From a human resource perspective, Soren was quite outspoken about the impact the new ways of working could have on how employers will perceive employees. “This will likely disrupt the way many of us work and collaborate going forward. It’s now much easier to see directly who performs, who are the stand-out guys and who are the folders. Luckily, I have a team of first ratestand-up guys”


Some attending BioTrinity seeking investment told me that there appears to be a narrowing in criteria for some investors. David Sarphie from OxMedistress’s clinical spin-out company Seroxo had experienced directly. “We’ve had some good meetings, but it’s been a little frustrating to have a few requests turned down point blank because we’re not in an investor’s “sweet spot”, despite being a good fit. It seems some have put on blinkers [as a result of COVID-19] and are not prepared to look outsideof a very narrow window of investment areas at the moment.”

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