Pharma Search Partners, Inc.

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Business Questions

Development Cycle
In what state of development is your product or service? If prior to release, what’s the target date to introduce the product or service? If already in the marketplace, at what version is the product? When is the next release planned?

Uniqueness
Is your product unique? What other companies already make the same or similar products? What companies have expressed intentions of entering the market with products the same as, similar to, or better than, yours?

First to Market
What competitive advantages do you enjoy that would lead one to believe you’ll be first to market with this product or service? Is it technical advantage or financial resources advantage?

Competitors
Are your competitors publicly traded companies? If so, they potentially have more resources for R&D and marketing. What have your spies been able to uncover about the intentions of your competitors?

Market Size
At how large of a market are you aiming? What is the magnitude of the upside if you are successful?

Management Team
Does your team have a previous track record of success starting and taking companies public or in leading them to a friendly acquisition by another firm?

Using Your Questions To Assess The Company's Performance and Potential:

Your research will also provide leads to questions that will help you assess whether the company is a place you would like to work. For example, has there been a recent reorganization or layoff? A change in CEO? How is the company’s stock performing, and what positive and negative information have you gathered from the company's annual and quarterly reports? If the company is in its development stage and has no products on the market yet, how much money is in the bank and what is the burn rate?

The interview provides an excellent opportunity to examine the work environment in person. Look around you as you circulate through the work area - do the employees seem happy and congenial? Are the work areas neat and clean (a few cluttered desks are normal, but papers piled everywhere in every office you see may mean the workload is out of control, or that projects are not being appropriately managed). Is the level of décor in line with the company's profitability? (For example, rosewood and leather office furniture in a venture-capital start-up is not a good sign). Is the parking adequate? Is there a cafeteria, or do employees go out to lunch or bring sandwiches? What is the dress code? In general, is this an environment in which you would be comfortable?

Evaluating Proprietary Information

If the company is involved in scientific research, information is often available in the proceedings of scientific meetings and in scientific journals. You should familiarize yourself with reported research before the interview. Questions to consider when evaluating the companies published research include: How full is the pipeline? How close is each product to market? Are there competitors who are likely to affect the product's marketability?

Questions to ask in the interview include: What is the anticipated market for each product, and what dollar amount in sales is expected in the first years after product launch? Are there barriers to product acceptability? What problems have arisen in product development? Have they been overcome?

Many companies (pharmaceutical and bio-tech companies, in particular) usually have large amounts of data that have not yet been made public. Most companies are willing to share these data with you if you sign a nondisclosure agreement agreeing to keep all shared information confidential. Data review under a nondisclosure agreement generally does not take place until considerable progress has been made in the employment negotiations, often at a second or third interview. If the company is large and successful, review of proprietary data is less important, although it would still be reasonable to request access to proprietary data on a new product that you are being hired to work on, since you have a vested interest in the product's success.

Review of proprietary information when the company is in early development stage, especially if there are not products yet on the market, is very common, especially for candidates who are at management and senior technical levels. After the first interview, I can help you decide when and whether you should ask to review proprietary information under a nondisclosure agreement, and can relay the request to the company.

Jamie has a unique ability to lock into the candidate pool and find professionals that not only fit the skills but bring new ideas and leadership to the table. He placed me at my current position and I continue to use his services for my open positions in my team...."

-- Sr Director Research and Development

 

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