When I posted excerpts last week from an open letter circulated by two high-profile biotech execs who were completely fed up by the latest stories about how some firms in the industry hire pretty girls and dancers to act as "eye candy" for their target audience, the whole thing went viral in a matter of minutes.
The report was seen by many as yet another result of the lack of gender balance in biotech. Biopharma staffs and particularly board rooms tend to lean heavily on the Y chromosome. And no one in their right mind would hire pretty women as party hosts and entertainers if they felt they would alienate a significant number of potential clients with a "boys club" environment.
Today, as Tony Coles unveiled his $45 million Series A round for Yumanity, he was also quick to note that more than half of his newly recruited staffers are women, picked from more than 900 résumés. Gender diversity is important to him and others, like pharma giant Novo Nordisk ($NVO), which has been tracking its progress on that score for several years now.
|Roth Capital's John Chambers|
LifeSci Advisors, which was singled out in the letter for its use of models at a J.P. Morgan afterparty, apologized for its actions after it was hit with a storm of protest. Never again, they pledge. Roth Capital's John Chambers, the vice-chairman and head of healthcare investment banking, defended his firm's parties featuring scantily clad dancers, saying not one person had complained. And despite an open letter to the industry that pits Roth against 230 leaders in the business who say they do have a problem with their parties, and what they represent, Chambers tells me he's had his say on the subject.
As a result, I thought this would be a good time to run a snap poll on what the industry thinks about its progress on this topic. I hope you'll take a minute--just a minute--to provide a letter grade on just how well biopharma is doing on gender diversity. And take a second to let us know what you're thinking. I'll be following up. -- John Carroll (email | Twitter)