Carving out a successful career in biopharma isn't easy, for men or women. The failure rate of experimental drugs is astronomically high. And just because a company wins an approval is no guarantee of success, particularly in this increasingly challenging market.
At the same time, though, it was no great feat to find 15 women who have been doing some amazing things. Yes, they've faced plenty of challenges. But in every case a setback was something they managed to get over or around. They've risen to the top ranks of their respective fields in venture capital, drug development, marketing and more. They've learned some things along the way, and most have been more than willing to share their experiences with us.
One thing you'll hear a lot about in the following profiles is an emphasis on teamwork. These executives advanced because they distinguished themselves, worked hard and--in many cases--were mentored by people who took the time to give them valuable practical advice. And that's a debt that's often paid forward to other colleagues along the way as these women lead by example.
As Canaan's Wende Hutton remarked to us, being in the boardroom or on the executive team is proof positive to all the women in the company that the future can be bright for the best in the business. It's also critical to stay focused on the positive.
"Challenge is how you define it," Eisai President Shaji Procida told FierceBiotech in discussing the pitfalls involved in marketing weight loss drugs. "Financially, how do we help shift things so it's not a challenge and it's an opportunity?"
It also helps to have fun. With IPOs booming and deals sizzling on all burners, succeeding in business has rarely been this rewarding. And that's a thought worth celebrating. We hope you check out all these stories, and email us any of your suggestions for next year's special report on the top women in biotech. Additionally, if you'd like to check out previous reports, here are last year's report, the 2012 list, and the 2011 feature. -- John Carroll (email | Twitter)