30: Growing Early Biotech Startups Through Connection – Dan Bloomfield

The Emerging Biotech Leader
The Emerging Biotech Leader
30: Growing Early Biotech Startups Through Connection - Dan Bloomfield
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In this episode of the Emerging Biotech Leader podcast, hosts Kim Kushner and Ramin Farhad speak with Dr. Dan Bloomfield, Chief Medical Officer of Anthos Therapeutics. Dan generously shares insights from his diverse career that has spanned academia at Columbia University, over a decade at big pharma giant Merck across multiple leadership roles, and most recently entrepreneurial biotech startups.

A central theme that emerges in the discussion is the immense value Dan found in intentionally gaining cross-functional exposure early and often throughout his career. This allowed him to develop a well-rounded perspective and understand the critical interdependencies across an organization’s many components.

Dan openly shares how when stepping into new roles interfacing with specialized teams like discovery and R&D, he’d be upfront with not knowing the intricacies of the things that are just common knowledge to senior scientists. While he understands the overarching goals, the finer operational details fall under the deep know-how of those teams. This humble approach shows an openness to learn from and leverage the subject matter experts around him. As Dan puts it, “I won’t be able to tell you how to run an assay or select compounds, but I’ll guide our overall direction.”

Dan emphasizes the importance of actively seeking out opportunities to learn about different disciplines and roles. By expressing genuine curiosity about the expertise of others, he has been able to rapidly expand his own knowledge base.

The conversation also covers insights Dan gained on the importance of proactively managing board and investor expectations through radical transparency about risks, timelines, required resources, and potential roadblocks at each stage.

Dan also shares his perspectives on strategically building the optimal team makeup through a thoughtful combination of full-time hires and leveraging external consultants or contractors based on the inflection points on the horizon. This allows reserving capital while still accessing specialized expertise when needed.

Overall, this interview is packed with hard-won wisdom on leadership development, making the transition from bureaucratic big pharma to lean, innovative biotech environments, attracting top talent, and cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset. Dan’s authentic sharing of experiences offers highly applicable lessons for biotech professionals in executive roles.

Dan’s key takeaways:

  • Continually seek cross-functional opportunities to build a well-rounded skill set
  • Maintain humility and openness to learn from subject matter experts
  • Balance full-time hires with external consultants/contractors for flexibility

Are you leading a Biotech and would like to share your experience with our podcast audience? We ‘d love to hear from you!  Please reach out to us.

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