Gender still plays a role in biotech, with venture financing closely following male CEOs and all male boards, found Liftstream, a London-based company providing executive recruitment services to the biotechnology sector. Liftstream has published a new gender diversity report, Investing in Biotechnology Management, a study of venture financing and hiring trends in European and U.S. biotechnology companies and the gender representation on the boards and at the executive level. The research analyses 110 investment deals in private biotechnology companies as well as 308 biotech executive appointments.
The report details the board gender composition of private biotechnology companies who have achieved venture financing over a fixed period during 2014 and 2015, revealing specific data about the gender balance of those company boards and the executives leading them. Biotechnology companies across the European and U.S. markets with all-male board of directors raised 57% of the total capital invested. Of the total capital raised, only 5.4% of the capital allocated was invested in companies with a female CEO. Male CEOs were seen raising over $17 to every $1 raised by their female counterparts.
The study also looks at executive hiring trends in the biotech sectors, charting 308 recent biotech appointments at the board, C-suite and function leadership level. The report reveals that just 17% of all appointments were women and only 3% of CEOs appointed to run biotechs were women.
Karl Simpson, CEO at Liftstream, said, "Having last year published the biotechnology sector's largest ever study of boardroom and executive gender diversity, we are pleased to reveal this new study. Our intention was to explore the strong relationship between venture financing in biotechs and the management and boards of those companies. With increasing evidence that gender diverse leadership delivers better returns, it was important to understand if the venture capital community were responding to this opportunity.
“We also have looked at the biotech sector's executive hiring trends for indicators of increased levels of female representation across the C-suite and at the board of directors,” said Simpson. “Recruiting board and executive team members must be meritocratic, but we have shown that the sector is heavily male dominated and the lack of structure and process around hiring is perpetuating this outlook.”
Liftstream continues to work with a global network of biotechnology and life science executives to develop further initiatives aimed at increasing both awareness and representation of women leaders in the biotech sector.