Corp Dev Exits (Pharma)

Wondering what routes people go after 7-8 years in. Corp Dev career progress is glacially slow compared to some of the others on this board. Currently in year 2.5 at director, 8 years in industry. It's completely possible I could be at this level another 5 or even 10 years before landing a VP of Corp Dev role, unless I go to a startup. Especially since I don't have a PhD.

I know I don't want to take a vow of poverty to work at a University doing tech transfer, but since I'm more 'senior', I am kinda scratching my head as to whether there's anything else on the buy side that would even make sense to pursue.

Are the options basically grind or join a startup?

Comments (2)

 
Feb 13, 2021 - 11:46am

I think it depends on what direction you want to take your career in. Typical exits that I've seen from big pharma corp dev are:

  • Corp dev in industry at a smaller company. If you leave to a bigger company (relatively speaking, e.g. Jazz, Incyte, Seagen), you're likely to end up at a similar position that you're currently in, but with somewhat faster career progression. If you go to a clinical stage biotech/true startup, there's an opportunity for faster progression/to be placed directly into a VP-level position, but I think there's sort of a bifurcated career path into either IR or clinical operations/BD, the former of which I would personally avoid (based on personal preference - I loathe IR roles). 
  • Buy-side at a healthcare HF/VC fund (not sure specifically what you do, but this is much easier if you're coming from an R&D or BD/M&A role, rather than some sort of financial role, e.g. internal capital allocation, etc.) Have seen people make this transition quite a few times. 
  • Biotech equity research at an IB (probably at senior associate level)
  • Investment banking in a healthcare/life sciences group. You'd probably come in at the associate level (I've also seen transitions at the VP level), but this very likely could require an MBA
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