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The Talent Gap in Cell and Gene Therapy: Effects on Recruitment

Despite the amount of investment money that’s pouring into cell and gene therapy startups these days, there is a real shortage of experienced professionals when trying to fill many senior-level positions, like chief technical officer (CTO) and vice president of manufacturing. [1]

After the first known patient of an experimental gene therapy trial died in 1999, investment and research in gene therapy slowed for about ten years and mid-level professionals were, in effect, prevented from advancing in the field and gaining any further experience. 

Gene therapy has recently rebounded, however, to once again be a thriving area in research and investment. In fact, the news organization BioCentury reports that in 2017 alone, gene and cell therapy companies were able to raise $4.5 billion in investment dollars. [2]

This surge is exacerbating the talent war as new companies and senior-level job openings are popping up at an escalated rate.  Senior-level professionals in cell and gene therapy can expect to pull in annual salaries anywhere in the range of $260,000 – $400,000+. [3] In addition, there can be a significant amount of equity options and performance bonuses being offered to off-set the risk in order woo these supply professionals.

What to Expect When Recruiting

With so few experienced professionals out there, finding the right talent to fill high-level positions in cell and gene therapy will require companies to be patient. The candidate experience will be a key and essential component to attracting top talent away from their current employment. This can result in rather long searches versus the mere weeks that were needed for recruitment a few years ago.

And while searches for permanent hires are underway, cell and gene therapy companies will likely need to rely on many important actors, such as outside consultants, advisors and other employees during this time.

Why Choose Regional Personnel

Our CEO, James F. Lynch, PhD, MBA, brings over 25 years of pharmaceutical experience to the Regional Personnel. “At Regional Personnel, we know pharmaceuticals because we came from pharmaceuticals.  Our clients benefit from our inside knowledge of pharmaceuticals. We bring this deep knowledge to every recruiting partnership,” said Dr. Lynch.

Start a conversation by emailing us at [email protected].

 [1] [2] [3] Robbins, Rebecca. “Stock, Sky-High Salaries and a $10,000 Watch: Startups Desperately Compete for Top Experts in Gene and Cell Therapy” STAT. 31 Jul. 2018,


James F. Lynch PhD, MBA – Regional Personnel Services ©2019

About James F. Lynch

Dr. Lynch founded his first recruiting firm, Strategic Access Inc. (SAI), in 1998 with over 17 years of experience within the pharmaceutical industry in business development, new product & market development, strategic alliances, operations & administration. In 2000, Dr. Lynch joined Reliant Pharmaceuticals as a founding member and Executive Director of Business Development, subsequently forming Commercial Operations as Vice President. Dr. Lynch returned to SAI in 2004 to assume the role of President, and in 2014 acquired Regional Personnel.