November 11, 2016 – Executive search firm Coulter Partners has recruited Dr. Alexander Scheer, Ph.D. as chief scientific officer of ERYTECH Pharma. The search was led by director Dr. Kay Wardle, working with managing partner Arnaldo De Lisio.
“Coulter Partners was asked to recruit a successor to the founding CSO,” said Dr. Wardle. “This is a critical hire for the organization, requiring someone to build on the existing legacy and to lead the it through the next phase in its evolution. As part of the leadership team, the CSO will play a key role in shaping the research strategy and building a differentiated and compelling R&D pipeline.”
Dr. Scheer has over 15 years of experience in R&D and the life science industry. Prior to joining ERYTECH, he served as head of research at Pierre Fabre in France, focused primarily on oncology and central nervous system research; he also served as a deputy head of research at the organization.
Prior to joining Pierre Fabre, Dr. Scheer served as a director for global research informatics & knowledge management R&D and project leader for neglected diseases at Merck Serono in Switzerland where, among other responsibilities, he led Merck’s program to develop drugs for neglected diseases in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO). He also served as head of molecular screening and cellular pharmacology department, group leader of biochemical pharmacology and research scientist at Serono.
“Alexander brings a wealth of knowledge in leading global R&D and drug discovery across multiple disciplines and several therapeutic areas, which will be invaluable to us at this critical stage of our development,” said Gil Beyen, chief executive officer and chairman of the board at ERYTECH Pharma. “It was a pleasure to work with everyone at Coulter Partners, an outstanding search team, whose professionalism continues to impress us.”
“We are delighted to welcome Alexander to the Erytech leadership team as he brings invaluable experience from cross-functional areas of the life science industry,” said Mr. Beyen. “Alexander brings a wealth of knowledge in leading global R&D and drug discovery across multiple disciplines and several therapeutic areas.”
Dr. Scheer said that Erytech’s ERYCAPS technology represents a novel approach to anti-cancer tumor starvation treatment. “The company has demonstrated exceptional progress in preclinical and clinical development of multiple pipeline programs and I look forward to leading the development of these promising therapies,” he added.
ERYTECH Pharma is a French biopharmaceutical company developing tumor starvation treatments for acute leukemia and other oncology indications with unmet medical needs. In September, ERYTECH also turned to Coulter Partners to recruit Allene M. Diaz as a non-executive director. Ms. Diaz has more than 20 years of experience in the global biopharmaceutical and biotechnology industry and has held management and executive positions at leading biopharmaceutical companies, including TESARO, Merck Serono, Biogen Idec and Pfizer.
Persistent Talent Shortages
According to Deloitte’s just released 2016 global sector outlook on life sciences, persistent talent shortages and the need to develop and retain employees with critical business and technology skill sets will continue to challenge global life sciences companies as they try to navigate a new world of work — one that requires a dramatic change in strategies for leadership, talent, and human resources.
“Our sector has changed beyond anyone’s expectations over the last two decades,” said Ms. Coulter. “We need to understand the appetites and needs of the major multinationals. This requires reach into all corners of the market. While our office network is growing, the key has been to have multilingual, multi-market experienced and connected researchers and consultants. Our team speaks many languages and has worked in all major bio-pharma markets and is organized as one P&L, to ensure collaborative information and experience sharing.”
The sector has recently enjoyed a healthy stream of consistent investment for the development of new therapies for unmet medical needs. “This spans the entire gamut of existing therapeutic areas from CNS, respiratory, immunology and inflammation to oncology, hematology, ophthalmology and rare diseases,” said Helga Long, a life sciences search specialist who recently merged her practice into RSVP Group. She noted there is a need and reliance on the biotech sector for innovation and early science, and this has led to a surge of investment in biotech startups. “All of these segments now require world class leadership,” said Ms. Long.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media