January 15, 2020 – LifeSci Search, a life sciences-focused executive search firm, is expanding on multiple fronts. The New York City-based search firm recently announced that it was moving into the healthcare investment and advisory industries with the addition of two key recruiters, Elena Liapounova and Rahil Haneef. Late last year, the firm added a veteran leader, Cristiano Musso, for its partnering and analytics European practice.
Ms. Liapounova and Mr. Haneef have more than a decade of experience and will bolster the firm’s capabilities for impactful placements of C-suite executives and board members, said LifeSci Search, a division of LifeSci Partners. Ms. Liapounova’s focus will be partnering with venture capital firms and high technology companies including those developing AI and digital health products. Mr. Haneef will focus on venture capital, private equity, hedge fund and investment banking clients while leading the healthcare buy-side and sell-side effort.
“LifeSci Search has had a tremendous first year in operation with more than 30 placements at the c-suite and board level,” said Matt Toner, the firm’s CEO and co-founder. “We’re thankful for the faith our clients have placed in us. We’re able to offer a unique pool of candidates because of our high-touch, consultative, approach and our access to a wide breadth of relationships from all the LifeSci brands. Elena and Rahil will provide the firm with the experience and relationships necessary to continue its growth and expand its scope beyond biotech or medtech companies and into the firms and organizations that fund them.”
Since the launch of LifeSci Search, its success has been extraordinary, said Michael Rice, co-founder of LifeSci Partners. “The executive search practice ties in perfectly to the LifeSci Partners platform, building on the existing relationships we have across IR, communications, investment banking, asset management, and partnering and analytics businesses,” he said. “The search practice is transforming how the executive recruitment industry operates, utilizing close personal relationships that are not accessible to our competition.”
Ms. Liapounova brings to the firm over a decade of corporate and agency executive search experience. Prior to LifeSci, she was executive director at Options Group, where she headed the global data science and AI recruiting practice. Before Options Group, Ms. Liapounova worked at JP Morgan, where she launched and grew the firm’s data science recruiting team. Prior to that, she worked for NASDAQ OMX and Barclays Capital in various recruiting roles.
Prior to joining LifeSci, Mr. Haneef was vice president at GQR Global Markets, where he built an investment and advisory team placing talent at tier-one boutique and bulge bracket investment banks as well as venture capital funds focused on healthcare and technology. Before GQR, he was an analyst at Morgan Stanley. He currently sits on the Manhattan board of directors for the American Cancer Society
Mr. Musso will lead LifeSci partnering and analytics’ European practice as managing director and head of Europe.
“Our strategic expansion to Europe has been a top priority given its critical role in the biopharma ecosystem,” said Jason Laffin, managing director of LifeSci partnering and analytics. “We are thrilled to expand our European practice with the addition of Cristiano, a well-respected leader in the biopharma industry whose network and track record will prove incredibly valuable as we continue to grow and expand our geographic reach for the benefit of our clients.”
A Robust Foundation
Mr. Musso joins LifeSci partnering and analytics with a track record and over 25 years’ experience leading business development and commercial efforts for biopharma companies. He has built an extensive global network to facilitate and execute across all stages of business development transactions including opportunity scouting, evaluation, due-diligence and negotiation. Prior to LifeSci, Mr. Musso held business development and corporate licensing roles at biopharma companies including chief business officer at Circassia, vice president of corporate licensing at Grünenthal and licensing and business development director at Menarini. Most recently, he supported Cidara Therapeutics in its $568 million strategic partnership with Mundipharma.
“I am thrilled to be joining the team at LifeSci at such an exciting time of development and expansion in Europe,” said Mr. Musso. “LifeSci partnering and analytics’ impressive growth trajectory provides a robust foundation to build a leading business development and strategic consulting organization in Europe. I look forward to working with my colleagues, leveraging my extensive business development experience and global network to support our clients’ corporate development objectives.”
LifeSci Search is the global executive and board search division of LifeSci Partners. The firm operates exclusively in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device and healthcare sectors. LifeSci Search leverages domain expertise, deep client relationships, and a client-as-partner approach to fully understand and execute C-Suite assignments for each client company. The firm offers bespoke recruitment solutions leveraging its research and data analytics resources with global relationships to deliver strategic candidate identification and assessment with a seamless, high touch search process.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media