Written by Mark Osterman, Senior Vice President, Kineticos
As many parents have experienced at one point or another, my children recently asked me, “Dad, what do you do at work?” My children are young, so I had to figure out a simple way to describe what a strategy consultant for life sciences companies does. I told them, “I help companies bring medicines to patients.” They immediately asked if I was a doctor, and I told them no, but that I do work with many doctors, scientists, and business people. I further explained that my job is to help these people understand how their potential medication may be used in the future, and whom it could impact.
As my children looked at me with a slightly puzzled look on their faces, and responded, “oh, ok,” I was certain that I did not do a very good job of explaining my job to them, but it did make me appreciate what an interesting and impactful job I am fortunate enough to have. A multitude of reasons came to mind as to why my career choice is both unique and exciting.
First and foremost, the number of companies and technologies that I am lucky enough to learn about on a daily basis is astounding. The only way a strategy consultant is successful in the current environment is to cast a wide net. Different companies require different types/levels of support, and at very specific times during their development. So, if you are not frequently communicating with prospective, current, and former clients, then you will not succeed. Maintaining this high level of engagement does require a certain discipline, as well as significant support, but doing so is the foundation to building a successful consultancy. It affords me the opportunity to learn about first-in-class cellular therapeutics in the morning, and unique business models for healthcare delivery in the afternoon.
Another aspect of being a consultant which I find fulfilling comes from the innovators and leaders who build and guide these companies. Each day, I get to hear from those inspirational few who have taken on the mantle of running their own company, and trying to build it into a successful enterprise. They will engage with you, and proselytize to anyone who will listen about the value and innovation of their particular technology or therapeutic, which includes anything from a transformational novel mechanism of action to a unique assay for a newly discovered biomarker. Their passion and drive is often contagious, and their combined effort is the primary reason the biopharma industry is a leading sector.
Finally, to me, the greatest value of being a life science strategy consultant is to know that your work may eventually better, or save, the lives of patients. Whether the impact is direct or indirect, tangible or intangible, I truly believe that my work positively impacts healthcare outcomes.
Some may say it is naïve to think that the primary underlying drive of the biopharmaceutical industry is to improve the lives of patients, as creating value and significant return for investors is obviously important for maintaining a viable business. However, during my 30+ year career in this industry, I have rarely seen any of my former colleagues leave to go to another industry, even though many of them have tremendous skills that are applicable elsewhere. I think that this is because most of them, like myself, share the same passion for helping patients live long and healthy lives.
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Mark Osterman, Senior Vice President of Kineticos’ Biopharmaceutical Practice, brings 25 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry to the team. His team is focused on helping growth-oriented biopharma companies realize their commercial potential at the corporate, portfolio and product levels. Mark’s therapeutic expertise includes cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolics and cell/gene therapy.