Top women in biotech 2013

No one ever climbed the industry ladder without getting some help along the way. And for women, including many of the accomplished top performers in this group, that can be especially important. Maybe it was an encouraging nudge for a bright young scientist or a willing mentor for a rising company player--but virtually everyone in this year's group of top women in biotech benefited from a higher-up's helping hand.

Now, these women are re-gifting that upward boost to the next generation of leaders. Some are actively involved in nonprofit groups aiming to inspire women in business. Others single out promising younger women who might benefit from their guidance and experienced counsel.

This year's Class of 2013 includes entrepreneurs running biotechs, raising cash and advancing new drugs in the clinic. Some are key corporate players working on new deals. Others run divisions or guide investments for their companies. All play an influential role in the biotech industry or offer a model for others--women as well as men--to follow.

It is a distinctly international group as well, ranging from Switzerland to California, including many whose personal journeys have spanned continents and corporations.

Wherever they are, these women share a common set of challenges. But they also recognize their ability to not only compete in today's business milieu, but to change it as well. "We should not forget that when we are in business, most of the time, it's a man's world," says Michèle Ollier, a partner at Index Ventures. "And the rules have been set up by men. I'm not saying this is bad--absolutely not. Many things are going well. But I think that we as women could bring something different. But we need to have the mass to bring this something different, which will not conflict or replace but will add something valuable to this world."

Their perspective illustrates the extra talents required to succeed these days. We hope it offers some insight on mapping your own careers. Enjoy these profiles, and please send along your suggestions for future reports on women in biotech. -- John Carroll (email | Twitter) and Tracy Staton (email | Twitter)