Deerfield Closes $840 Million Healthcare Venture Fund

The Deerfield Healthcare Innovations Fund ll will invest in advancements in science for promising therapeutics and to improve ways healthcare is delivered to patients

(New York, NY, April 6, 2020)—Deerfield Management Company, L.P. today announced the closing of the Deerfield Healthcare Innovations Fund ll, L.P., which will invest in advancements in science that may lead to important therapeutic interventions and back new technologies and infrastructure to improve the way healthcare is delivered to patients.

“Now more than ever, these unprecedented times underscore the importance of supporting the critical work of our nation’s scientists and healthcare systems,” said James E. Flynn, managing partner of Deerfield. “Our uniquely supportive model allows us to provide leverage to innovative companies and accelerate the benefit to patients.”

The Healthcare Innovations Fund II will collaborate with more than 15 leading academic institutions to seed novel scientific research. The Fund also has access to innovative medtech incubators created in partnership with two medical device industry leaders.

The Cure, the recently announced innovation campus located at 345 Park Avenue South, will become the central location of Deerfield where much of the work of the Healthcare Innovation Fund II will take place. Many of the early-stage companies will utilize the Cure’s wet and dry labs, engineering, computing and shared resource spaces.

The companies will also benefit from on-site programming, including the Fellows Program, Break into the Boardroom and Women in Science. Newly curated programs to be featured involve the “Cure Lounge,” a thought leadership and executive club, and other educational and certification initiatives.

The Deerfield Healthcare Innovations Fund ll is supported by the entire Deerfield infrastructure. 

Deerfield has been investing in and supporting the healthcare industry for more than 25 years, and partner companies benefit from its organizational capabilities.

Today, Deerfield has more than 130 experienced healthcare-focused professionals with specialized knowledge in medicine, life sciences, drug and medical device development, healthcare markets, public policy, value-based care, financial instruments, tax, accounting, operations, corporate strategy, market access research, marketing, biostatistics and sector dynamics, all of which can be leveraged by its partners.

Together, Deerfield team members fully fund and manage the Deerfield Foundation, which to date has committed or invested over $49 million to global organizations seeking to improve the delivery of healthcare, with a focus on underserved children. The Deerfield Foundation recently committed approximately 10 percent of its 2020 fiscal budget toward COVID-19 emergency funding to organizations in need of urgent resources in order to provide care to their communities.


About Deerfield Management 

Deerfield is a healthcare investment management firm committed to advancing healthcare through investment, information and philanthropy.

Contact:

Media
Deerfield Management
Karen Heidelberger, 212-692-7140
[email protected]

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Women in Science

Launched in 2019, the Women in Science Translational Research Symposia were created to clarify the most targeted route to commercialization for female scientists and help advance their discoveries to market. The program is committed to addressing the gender gap in innovation and changing this paradigm through knowledge and network creation.

Deerfield Discovery and Development (3DC)

Researchers at academic institutions discover many of the novel insights that advance our understanding of disease. Commercially promising innovations eventually outgrow the lab, requiring greater resources and more focused development expertise than an academic setting can typically provide. To address this need, Deerfield has pioneered a model of partnership with academic institutions, which creates the potential for rapid funding and advancement of promising therapies. Partner institutions today include: Yeda, the commercial arm of the Weizmann Institute of Science; Duke University; Columbia University; Northwestern; Harvard; Vanderbilt; Johns Hopkins; Dana Farber; the Broad Institute; University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; University of California-San Diego; and the University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition, Deerfield has a combined association with Rockefeller University, Cornell and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center through their joint discovery unit, the TDI; and, finally, Deerfield has a project-specific collaboration with MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Deerfield Discovery and Development (3DC) plays a critical role in progressing early-stage therapeutics from scientific discovery through preclinical proof of concept and into the clinic, via design and execution of relevant experiments. 3DC partners closely with principal investigators in Deerfield’s academic collaboration network, corporate partners and entrepreneurs to provide deep functional expertise and experience across key disciplines. These include:

  • Genetic Assessment and Insights
  • Chemistry
  • In Vitro Pharmacology
  • Translational Biology
  • Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics
  • Safety Assessment
  • Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC)
  • Clinical & Regulatory
  • Project Management

Break into the Boardroom

Despite the high aptitude of this representative sample of female leaders, the stark reality is boards are only made up of 20% women. Deerfield and Oxeon founded the Break into the Boardroom program (BiB) based on a shared belief that their organizations are uniquely positioned to not only cultivate new female board candidates but to also connect these women with concrete governance opportunities.

Deerfield and Oxeon focus on identifying talent, building companies, and deploying capital within the healthcare ecosystem, which enables BiB to create the perfect intersection of supply and demand. This framework naturally mitigates the classic chicken and egg problem that has proven such an intractable obstacle to the goal of increasing female board representation.

Please visit our website where you may submit inquiries regarding potential board roles or nominate a female executive from your organization to participate in our program.

Break Into The Boardroom Speaker Rallies Women At Annual Meeting To Play Nice

They came from far and near, all with similar purpose and ambition.

These women were a force to be reckoned with, including highly skilled strategic thinkers in the life science and healthcare sectors, from R&D to commercialization, operations, and regulatory affairs/compliance for both small and large cap companies.

Yet despite the high aptitude of this representative sample of female leaders, the stark reality is boards are only made up of 20% women.

The venue was the fourth annual meeting of Breaking into the Boardroom™ (BiB) held this past April. Deerfield, a co-founder, aims to change these statistics.

Speaker Jan Berger, MD, boiled the problem down to this when she addressed the crowd: “It used to be that the only diversity in the Boardroom was whether the male only members were sporting black, blue or grey socks.” Berger is president and chief executive officer of Health Intelligence Partners, a healthcare consultancy she founded.

The goal of BiB is to promote greater representation of female healthcare executives on boards within the public, private and non-profit sectors. Covering such topics as how to get a board seat, the role of governance, spectrum of board opportunities and legal and regulatory duties—the event lured 45 women from across the country, representing a broad cross section of experience from throughout the healthcare ecosystem.

Studies suggest that female-led companies are better run and bring greater returns[1], which begs the question why then are women still commercializing less and acquiring less venture capital when they do. On the upside, event speakers noted that men with daughters who have skin in the game tend to come around, suggesting their potential adaptability for change.

Among the reasons to account for the low number of female board members are a shrinking pool of candidates by the time the c-suite is reached with an upside down male to female ratio. In addition, stereotypes, unawareness, and unconscious bias amplify the problem, creating more barriers, said the presenters.

“We’re at the intersection of two industries—healthcare and finance—with bad statistics and must do better.”

Jim Flynn, Deerfield’s Managing Partner.

This issue may, in part, be reflected by other instructive statistics about women in the workplace, in general. According to Vicki Gaddy, Head of HR Strategy and Talent Acquisition at Deerfield, women tend to apply to jobs when they possess 100 percent of the skills required; men throw their hats in the ring when they have only 60 percent.

“The one lesson I learned too late was to advocate for myself.”

Conference attendee, Mariana Nacht, PhD, chief scientific officer of Vivid Biosciences and president of the board of WEST, Women in the Enterprise of Science and Technology, a non-profit focused on supporting women in STEM.

Approximately 60 percent of those surveyed who attended the event reported that they have been searching for a board seat between six months to one year. All respondents indicated an interest in being connected with a mentor who could advise them on best practices for securing a board seat, a majority of which also expressed wanting advice on how to negotiate salary.

And among the greatest challenges cited to securing a board seat were finding opportunities and a lack of experience, contacts, as well as the time needed to put into it.

As for feedback to an open-ended question in the survey, there was an interesting range of responses to this scenario:

Q: When a male board member exits the board meeting early to catch his son’s little league game, it’s respected. Historically, women haven’t received the same response. What could we do now to help inspire change and alter perceptions over the longterm?

FROM THIS

The more we normalize that both men and women have responsibilities outside the workplace, the less women would have to deal with this stigma.

TO THIS

My initial reaction to this scenario above was: Really? There are a handful of board meetings a year and someone (man or woman) is deciding to leave early for a ball game?

All of the event’s speakers stressed the importance of networking and letting everyone know your interest: No one is going to come knocking at your door for doing a good job, advised the group.

Companies are looking for board members who can demonstrate value to their investors. It’s important to let people know you are looking for a board seat and to show a willingness to share your knowledge and experience by networking or participating on industry panels.

Deerfield Partner Adam Grossman, who participated in a BiB panel discussion on how to get a board seat.

Grossman added that anyone seeking a board seat should choose wisely. “Executives may be tempted to jump at any board seat. Your time is limited, make the most of what you have to give.”

Know your gifts and see how you might pair them up with an organization’s mission. Look outside of healthcare and think about how you could take your talents and apply them in a different industry where you could make a difference.

Presenter Bridget Duffy, MD, chief medical officer of Vocera

Speaker Claire Pomeroy, MD, president of the Albert & Mary Lasker Foundation, cautioned this should not be about getting a board seat, but focused on getting the right board seat.

“I’m not a rubberstamp kind of gal,” said Berger. “Ask yourself these questions: Am I going to learn something new? Can I make a difference? How do they handle conflicts and balance responsibility? Will I be compensated fairly? Look at the financials. Talk to the CFO. Look at Glassdoor.”

All in all, the speakers recommended doing one’s due diligence and sitting in as an observer before signing. One speaker decided not to commit after witnessing a fist fight at her sample board meeting.

“Anyone who’s going to join a board and think it’s easy, you need to be prepared for whatever comes your way,” said Berger who once had to skype at 3am from an African safari.

Pomeroy and other speakers suggest trying one’s hand at a non-profit board first. These are generally considered more flexible and less demanding compared to corporations that have year-round schedules. Though one speaker warned that one may be expected to contribute from his or her own pocket and to take a financial risk.

“Executive search firms will deliver the most diverse board candidates,” offered Pomeroy. Despite this view, representatives from Oxeon Partners, a healthcare executive search firm and co-founder of BiB, reported that men return calls much more frequently than women, who rarely do.

As for the best approach of newcomers to any board, Berger said, “Gently lean in, but listen closely and don’t speak until you get the rules of the road. Likewise, be thoughtful how you exit a board.”

Duffy emphasized the importance of women supporting other women, which she said is often not the case.

Pay it forward and backward. Replace female board members with females and recommend females for board seats. Break into other networks that are often male dominated, and do so under your terms.

Presenter Bridget Duffy, MD, chief medical officer of Vocera

Duffy continued, “not all networking has to happen fly fishing or on a golf course! Many male executives tell me they don’t know where to find top female talent – let’s be proactive and get out there and advocate and nominate each other. Let’s make a charter from this meeting: How Do We Mentor and Support the Next Generation, So That They Don’t Go Through What We Did.”

Breaking into the Boardroom is only one of several programs that Deerfield runs through which it is looking to make an impact. In addition to BiB, Deerfield also sponsors the Deerfield Fellows programs and plans to sponsor the Women in Science program.

To date, the Fellows program, for which only students who attend the gender and ethnically diverse CUNY system are eligible to apply, has engendered 9 fulltime associates at Deerfield.

CUNY students and alumni currently make up nearly 10 percent of Deerfield’s staff, including Fellows . “We pay them to learn about healthcare finance. This program increases the number of applicants and the best way said Flynn. “We could fight over a pool of scarce resources with all the other firms striving for diversity, or we could be proactive and increase the pool itself.”

The Women in Science program, slated to make its debut with an inaugural session this winter, will focus on female scientists and best practices toward commercializing their scientific discoveries.

“Bringing gender and ethnic diversity to the room will bring with it cognitive diversity. This will get you to the best results and answer,” says Leslie Henshaw, Deerfield Partner and BiB co-director.

“Providing voice to a diverse set of stakeholders introduces new ideas. And, in the case of healthcare, it could spark more inclusive and creative solutions to the intricate and complex set of issues associated with the industry’s intractable set of challenges.”

Leslie Henshaw, Deerfield Partner and BiB co-director.

Nacht says that she enjoyed this year’s BiB event but yearns for a time when it will no longer be needed.

[1]   https://www.ivyexec.com/career-advice/2017/women-led-companies-outperform-competitors/

Deerfield and Oxeon Join Forces with HLTH to Connect Healthcare Leaders with Qualified Female Board Candidates

New York, New York – February 26, 2019 – The Break into the Boardroom (BiB) program, sponsored by Deerfield Management and Oxeon Partners, and HLTH announced today that they have joined forces to directly connect healthcare leaders with qualified female board candidates. The Get on Board: Break into the Boardroom Match Program is an extension of the BiB program that was founded to promote greater representation of female healthcare executives on boards within the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

There is broad acknowledgement that females remain significantly underrepresented on both public and private company boards, and that diversity of opinion and perspective improves governance. There are, however, few quantifiable steps being taken to improve the situation. With this in mind, and consistent with BiB’s mission and approach, HLTH’s featured diversity initiative aims to make a difference with a purposefully concrete design. Throughout the HLTH conference, being held in Las Vegas on October 27-30, 2019, healthcare leaders seeking to fill corporate board seats will have an opportunity to schedule individual meetings with qualified female executives interested in governance roles.

“BiB’s collaboration with HLTH is designed to connect board leaders with talented, board-ready women who can be hard to find or unconsciously overlooked,” said Jonathan Weiner, Founder, Chairman and CEO of HLTH. “Together, we have the opportunity to deliver quantifiable results by tracking and reporting on the number of organizations meeting diverse candidates, the number of women exposed to board opportunities, the number of interviews conducted, and the number of boards that move forward with adding a woman they met as a result of the Get on Board: Break into the Boardroom Match Program at HLTH.”

Deerfield partner, Leslie Henshaw, notes that “too frequently directors are selected from a homogenous pool of candidates that look strikingly similar to the existing board. This happens not by design, or even with awareness… it’s just the path of least resistance. HLTH and BiB see this event as a perfect forum to drive change by making it easy for existing board members to meet a curated pool of female candidates in an organized setting.”

“We are thrilled to partner with HLTH to expand the reach of BiB, which runs an annual full-day program for approximately 40 qualified female healthcare executives interested in adding a firsttime governance role to their professional credentials,” said Mia Jung, an Oxeon partner. “While BiB has connected a number of its alumni with board opportunities, this event materially expands both the candidate and directorship pool from which we can promote matches.”

The Get on Board: Break into the Boardroom Match Program has limited capacity and is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, or to submit organization or applicant interest in participating in the matched interview sessions, please visit https://hlth.com/break-into-the-boardroom/.

About Deerfield

Deerfield is an investment management firm committed to advancing healthcare through investment, information, and philanthropy.
For more information, please visit www.deerfield.com

About Oxeon

Oxeon is a specialized professional services and investments firm that builds and accelerates the growth of impactful healthcare technology and services businesses. Our primary mission at Oxeon is to make people healthier. We achieve our mission in three core ways: recruiting worldclass executives into our clients and portfolio companies, investing in transformative healthcare companies, and building de novo businesses to address the problems plaguing our healthcare system. The innovative companies we build touch millions of lives. To learn more, visit www.oxeonpartners.com.

About HLTH

HLTH is the largest and most important conference for health innovation. It’s an unprecedented, large-scale forum for collaboration across senior leaders from established payers, providers, employers, and pharma services, as well as from disruptive startups, prolific investors, representatives from government, academia, health associations, business groups, media, and industry analysts. The event is unique in creating a marketplace for the key stakeholders leading the dialogue and development of a new health ecosystem. HLTH’s mission is to be a catalyst to drive substantial reductions in health costs and dramatic increases in health quality. HLTH takes place on October 27-30, 2019 at the MGM Grand’s brand new conference facility. To learn more, visit www.hlth.com.

Contacts

Deerfield Management Company
Karen Heidelberger, 212-551-1600
[email protected]

Oxeon Partners
Amy Lackner, 646-561-6983
[email protected]

HLTH
Carolyn Joyce, 347-871-0534
[email protected]

https://breakintotheboardroom.org

Deerfield And Oxeon Cohost Third Annual Break Into The Boardroom Program

On April 11th and 12th, Deerfield and its co-sponsor, Oxeon Partners, hosted the Third Annual Break into the Boardroom (BiB) program in New York City. This day-and-a half-event is the cornerstone of BiB, which was formed three years ago to help promote and cultivate greater gender diversity within boardrooms throughout the healthcare ecosystem.

We featured the 2017 edition of this event in a prior newsletter (March, 2017) but would like to refocus attention on this important initiative and report on the program’s increasing traction and impact.

As it did last year, the 2018 BiB program brought together over 40 accomplished female speakers and board-ready senior executives from across the healthcare universe to discuss important fundamentals of governance, to explore key strategies for identifying, securing and evaluating board opportunities and to network among an elite group of female leaders. Participants brought an array professional experiences including roles as CEOs, CFOs as well as executive level marketing, regulatory, clinical, legal and human resources leaders. The women came from a similarly diverse range of industry subsectors, representing companies from the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, payer, provider, and HCIT spaces. This mix ensured a great cross section of perspectives and created exciting conversations among members of the healthcare ecosystem that don’t ordinarily get to interact. Above all, the experience, commitment and enthusiasm emanating from the group affirmed their board readiness.

As we recap this year’s event, three years into our BiB initiative, several things are clear. First, there remains an imperative to drive change – we are still a long way from our objective of more heterogenous boardrooms. For instance, across the 20 biotech industry start-ups that raised the most venture capital dollars during the first six weeks of this year, 87% of the collective board members were male. Six of these start-ups had no female board members at all. Second, our participants are deriving value from the content and networking opportunities associated with our program, and by promoting greater awareness of the issue across our broader group of stakeholders we are seeing equally important, albeit less direct, benefits. Just getting a CEO or board to stop and realize that their leadership team or boardroom lacks diversity can be an important catalyst for change. Third, we are starting to see some tangible evidence of impact. Our program is directly or indirectly responsible for 10 new female board roles. In the coming year we plan to develop some more concrete metrics of success to hold ourselves accountable and we look forward to communicating increasing evidence that we can make a difference.

In closing, we credit many of our CEO relationships with having helped to identify and sponsor travel for our BiB nominees, which helps ensure a high caliber participant group with engaged mentors willing to support and nurture the women’s governance aspirations going forward. As many of our readers may be in a position to help identify and sponsor candidates in the future, we encourage you to reach out with any recommendations for the 2019 edition of our BiB program. Similarly, we welcome the opportunity to connect our BiB alumni with board opportunities outside of our own portfolios, and would be happy to provide suggestions for board openings where you may be in a position to influence the slate of candidates. Please send BiB inquiries to Leslie Henshaw at [email protected].

Rethinking The Sales Force Business Model In A Dramatically Changing Environment .

Pharma sales representatives (reps) are one of the most integral components to a manufacturer’s commercialization plan. They have long been the voice in determining and shaping the adoption curve of a new drug. However, the “good ol days” are in the rearview mirror for reps as there have been efforts to curb dollars and gifts that reps can shower upon physicians and their staffs, as well as both fewer and lower quality touch points with the decision makers with purchasing power and/or authority on drug choice, particularly when there are multiple options in the same therapeutic category. Here, we will try to put the role of the rep in context and provide some perspective, conceptually, on where the sales model may migrate in the future, and what issues will need to be addressed.

Companies spend significant amounts of time, energy and resources dedicated to planning and building out the sales force optimization plan. Specifically, the commercial team oversees multiple teams to plan the success of the sales rep. Activities that contribute to this success include:

  • Market research to quantify the opportunity and understand the behaviors and triggers of doctors to prescribe:
    • Identify potential points of push back from doctors
    • Segmentation of doctor mindsets that can drive training of the sales reps – i.e. identifying high vs low likelihood to prescribe and pyschological drivers that sales reps can use to trigger prescription activation
  • Sales training to ensure the rep is knowledgeable and help drive rep performance
  • Analytic teams analyze physician productivity to ensure reps are calling on doctors that will yield the greatest return:
    • Spending time with doctors who are loyalists to the therapeutic class and/or may have affinity to a certain type of therapy within a therapeutic area
    • Identify high density geographic areas that may require heavy sales force deployment
  • Sales leadership teams develop:
    • Incentive compensation plans (performance-based plans above base salaries) to further drive excellence
    • Determine call planning strategies (who to target, and at what frequency)
    • Ensure operational effectiveness and execution is in line with overall strategy
  • Managed care teams drive appropriate reimbursement coverage and facilitate sales training around reimbursement-centric adoption strategies:
    • How to combat doctors wary of reimbursement issues
    • Selling the value of the drug in relation to reimbursement coverage
    • Help the doctor navigate the prescription journey from their office to the pharmacy counter for their patients

In the past, the sales rep had many tools at their disposal to engage and sell their products to physicians:

  • Dinner meetings
  • Grand Rounds (sponsored lecture series in the hospital setting)
  • Lunch and learns
  • Golf outings
  • Literature leave behinds
  • Sampling

The rep had the ability to access the majority of not just physicians, but importantly those with autonomy and decision-making authority, and the nature of the detail (industry lingo for reps providing doctors with the details of a drug, including approved scientific information, benefits, adverse events, etc) evolved around the clinical efficacy and utility of the product. Reps were trained on the mechanism of action of their product as well as competitors, all the key clinical data in the therapeutic area, and how to convey their product’s differentiation. This last part is significant as training also focused on breaking down clinical studies, with successful reps well-trained in how to handle any objections raised by doctors around use of their product (ideally identified ahead of time by the manufacturer’s market research), and able to rattle off why one product may have a better p-value (measure of statistical significance used in clinical trials) or better efficacy at symptom resolution, among other product features.

Simplified schematic of common commercial team structure

Level and types of rep-doctor interaction have changed

Reps historically had an environment that was for the most part without many restrictions, which is increasingly no longer the case. The ability of the sales rep to develop a relationship with doctors they called upon was easy and simple due to the tools at their disposal. However, over the past two decades, there have been considerable changes in both the ability to access and the types of activities the reps can use to engage with doctors. These changes have come about in an effort to clamp down on what has been viewed as inappropriate influence over docs by industry reps.

Any payments made to physicians by drug and device companies must be reported under the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, signed into law in 2010 along with the Affordable Care Act, and the data is made public by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. While these payments can be as seemingly benign as research grants, it can also include things like travel and accommodations around medical conferences and scientific or advisory board meetings, food and beverage, and consulting fees. Details on the types of payments are included in the public data set. Now the public can see if physicians are receiving what might be perceived as healthy sums of money, which whether innocently or not, can be perceived as doctors being “in the pocket” of big pharma, and a potential PR concern for their institutions.

Physician access has been on the decline due to consolidation of independent physicians into heath systems

Most academic medical centers do not allow reps to call on their physicians on site, though there may still be some level of doctor-rep interaction if the doctor maintains an off-campus practice location. One industry report from ZS Associates found that 56% of physicians in the US have either restricted or severely restricted who can visit them, with some specialties even more restrictive. Integrated delivery networks (IDNs), systems where the provider network is also the payer, and group practices, are also increasingly locking out reps. Further, physicians’ prescribing autonomy in IDNs and group practices is not the same as in an independent practice, with decisions around drug purchase and utilization instead made by higher level management.

This trend is likely to continue as cost pressures have made it more and more difficult for independent physician practices to remain financially viable. Independent physician practices have been on the decline since 2000, according to a 2016 analysis by inVentiv Health Consulting. While 57% of physicians were independent in 2000, this decreased to 37% in 2013 and was expected to continue sliding to 33% by the end of 2016.

The sales call has migrated from a pure clinical sell to addressing reimbursement

When reps are still able to get interactions with doctors, the nature of the sales call has shifted from a clinical sell to putting the rep more in the role of a reimbursement navigator. Price never came up as a major topic of the sales detail, whereas now it may be the primary focus of the conversation, as it is often easier for a doctor to simply pick the drug that is cheapest for their patient – “is it covered by insurance and how much will the patient need to pay?” The use of co-pay cards, which reps can drop at the physician office to reduce financial burden for patients (discussed in a past issue of this newsletter), was largely unheard of until more recent years. Still, co-pay cards are not a panacea, and doctors remain skeptical of the overall utility of these cards. Patients often encounter issues at the pharmacy when they try to use these cards, and may ultimately abandon any attempts to get the drug they were prescribed in the first place. These co-pay cards are off-limits to Medicare patients by law (but fair game for those with private insurance), and so might only benefit a fraction of the doctor’s patients.

Put this all together, and reps now have less time to discuss more complicated topics like reimbursement during their detail. The question now to ponder is how will the rep model evolve with the environmental dynamics at play. Specialty reps in the device sector that are required to train docs in the surgical area will continue their business as usual, but there will be a need to evolve the model overall in many sectors.

There is probably not a one size fits all strategy, and that current strategies in the therapeutics sector need to be adjusted to address some of the key challenges outlined below.

  • The model needs to pivot from a single point of contact between rep and doctor to one where the sales team has a multi-touch point strategy to various customers in the ecosystem.
    • Customer will be cross functional, including buyers and influencers, not just the physician:
      • Administrators
      • Business/purchasing mangers
      • Chief medical officers
      • CFOs
  • The ability to both articulate what constitutes value for patients, doctors, and their institutions, and to create a more holistic approach that drives value throughout all key customers will inform overarching strategy.
    • What services, tools, and business offerings can the commercial team offer to doctors and institutions to drive pull through and adoption of their products?
    • How to generate a more ambitious patient-centric approach?
  • Realignment of commercial organizations and build out of the talent pool in key functionalities and responsibilities will take on added significance.
    • Need to create cross-functional business operational teams vs. more independent/siloed groups
      • Re-calibration of the managed markets and sales force groups to more of an account management team that can foster relationships with all key stake holders
      • Ability to trouble shoot and bring customized approaches to physician groups
    • More sophisticated sales rep that can work with a cross functional team and have stronger business acumen:
      • Upgrade to drive toward more sophisticated approach to independent docs
      • Move away from reliance on business-to-business like model that some pharma companies have started to adopt (while acknowledging there are some specific areas where this may still have utility)

Hypothetical schematic for business management-centric approach to commercial organization

A more integrated team overseen by a district business manager who drives business planning, data analysis, insight mapping, and touch point strategy

Where are we in the continuum with the shift to a more holistic approach? Our observation is that manufacturers acknowledge and discuss that we are at a tipping point, with some having piloted various more integrated approaches to drive behavioral change. Some of these pilot approaches have yielded positive returns but we have not yet seen a full migration over to a new model. What we do believe, however, is that the environmental factors at play will eventually force a significant change for all pharma.

Deerfield Co-Hosts Second Annual Break Into The Boardroom Program

On March 15th and 16th Deerfield co-hosted, along with our co-sponsor, Oxeon Partners, our second class of executive women for a program designed to help promote greater boardroom diversity.  This initiative, recently branded “Break into the Boardroom” began last year on a smaller scale and has continued to evolve its content, participant breadth and speaker diversity in order to improve our ability to be practically and concretely impactful.  Too few boards, particularly in the private company arena, have adequate, if any, gender diversity despite study after study demonstrating the importance of having a range of perspectives and a mix of problem solving, negotiating and management styles present in the boardroom.

This year, Oxeon and Deerfield reached out to a targeted group of healthcare CEOs with whom we have relationships to solicit nominations from within their organizations of board-ready women who would benefit from our program.  This outreach generated about 50 nominations while, at the same time, also enabled us to engage these executive leaders in a dialogue emphasizing how important it is to support and cultivate the women in their organizations who might have an interest in governance. 

The resultant group of nominees came from a wide range of healthcare companies located throughout the United States and represented a broad cross section of operating and management disciplines.  Despite Storm Stella, 30 of our nominees fought their way to New York to participate in the program, which kicked off with a networking dinner and was followed by full day of programming that featured 12 outside speakers.  The morning portion of the curriculum was focused on ensuring that everyone would walk away from the event with at least a basic understanding of how boards function and the roles and responsibilities of directors.  The afternoon sessions were devoted to helping the women position themselves to be considered and ultimately selected for board roles, and to sharing insights into how to evaluate the various attributes, advantages and risks of different board opportunities.  In addition to these content-oriented objectives, the day was also intended to help build a community of female healthcare leaders who will be able to tap into each other for mentorship and referrals going forward. 

Most foundationally, the day was designed based on the overarching aspiration of getting these women placed on boards.  We believe that the Deerfield-Oxeon marriage is uniquely suited to delivering on this aim.  To be successful in truly improving board diversity requires positively impacting both the supply of eligible women candidates and the actual demand for specific board members.  Oxeon, with its deep network of healthcare thought leaders and executives and its insights into what characteristics boards are seeking, is well positioned to help improve the supply of women candidates by helping find and promote them.  Deerfield, with its role in helping fund and establish companies, is well positioned to impact demand by emphasizing gender diversity as an important objective of the boards it forms and sits on. 

We look forward to continuing and growing the Break into the Boardroom program and ultimately being able to report back on tangible results relative to our objectives.

Deerfield Takes Leadership Role In Addressing Board Diversity

During the last decade there has been much discussion and analysis regarding the gender imbalance that exists inside of corporate boardrooms.  Numerous studies have documented the quantitative and qualitative benefits of boardroom diversity yet the percentage of board seats held by women remains stubbornly low.  In the public arena, females make up less than 20% of all board members and in private companies, research suggests the ratio is much lower, due in large part to the shortage of female partners in the venture capital and private equity funds that often control board composition.

We believe that effective solutions to this imbalance must address both the demand and supply side of the equation.  On the demand side, we believe that companies must be pushed to make a more deliberate and proactive effort to improve gender diversity.  A recent analysis by Heidrick & Struggles found, at the current rate of change, it will take 28 years to achieve gender parity in the corporate boardroom.  Clearly, we can’t rely solely on organic evolution.  On the supply side, the pool of women with typically sought after credentials (prior board experience, C-suite title, established network of connections) needs to be expanded.  Unfortunately, it is rare for well-intended solutions to simultaneously address both of these challenges.  Companies with a professed desire to improve board diversity can’t always find an appropriate candidate or convince the nominating committee to look beyond their existing relationships for a fresh perspective.  And women need a broader network of connections to recommend them and advocate for them, particularly in the face of such a classic chicken and egg dilemma of needing prior board experience to be considered as a viable boardroom candidate.

Inspired by several speaking engagements on the topic and the thought already devoted to advancing our Fellows program (which offers local college students from historically under-represented backgrounds on Wall Street a year-long fellowship with a path to full-time employment upon graduation), Deerfield realized that we were uniquely suited to tackling both sides of the problem.  In collaboration with Oxeon Partners, a healthcare-oriented executive recruiting and investment firm based in New York, we set about launching an initiative to help prepare qualified women for their first board role and, over time, to help match them with appropriate board opportunities emerging from our portfolio companies. The program debuted earlier this year with a founding class of roughly 30 female senior healthcare executives with an interest in corporate governance.  This group participated in a series of four educational sessions designed to support both finding and fulfilling board roles.  Participants were also paired with board-experienced mentors and entered into a searchable database that can be mined on behalf of our portfolio companies seeking board candidates with specific skill sets or sector knowledge.  In particular, we see real opportunity to take a leadership role in providing board positions in the companies that we form.  The feedback from this initial effort has been very positive and we are already beginning to plan the 2017 program.  We expect to broaden the list of invited participants and will seek nominations from a number of our public company CEOs as well as from other Oxeon and Deerfield relationships.  At this time next year we hope to report back that a number of our alumni have distinguished themselves as valuable boardroom additions for a variety of our investment partners.