The epic fall from Elizabeth Holmes’ grace is everything from CEOs to investors, commercial partners, the media (social or other), to Silicon Valley hype, always hungry for new breakout stars and unicorns. We offer lessons to people.
For pharmaceutical companies, especially the medical community, an important lesson from this sad and tragic event is as simple as it is powerful. Your advisory board is very important.
Big name, little relevant expertise
These five words characterize Theranos’ board of directors. QuickLook is a (former) politician (George Shultz, William Perry, Sam Nunn, Henry Kissinger, Bill Frist), a high-ranking member of the military (Gary Ruffhead, James Mattis), and a corporate leader with no health care experience (Richard Kobasevic). / Bank) shows and Riley Bechtel / Engineering and Construction).
Then there was William Foege, the only medical expert and former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Bill Frist, who focused on heart transplants that switched to politics long before he joined Theranos’ board of directors. Unless you want to count doctors of medicine. Holmes himself dropped out at the age of 19, and Theranos COO Sunny Balwani was a training and experienced IT professional.
Big names attract attention and increase credibility, but they require domain expertise from the beginning on an advisory board. Real field expertise from advisors who know what they are talking about as they have lived it every day.
With the exception of Faggy, no one first knew about diagnostic tests, the technology behind them, the challenges, logistics, economics, and even biology. Mattis’ testimony at the Holmes trial makes this clear.
“I always thought we were doing that in Theranos gear,” he told the prosecutor. Washington post.. He heard the words of Holmes and the senior leadership team that technology worked. Without experience in this area, that’s probably almost everything he can do.
What the board needed — and members should have long before argued that this expertise needed to be added — was people who could look inside and scrutinize every aspect of the system. .. Looks like a child’s play.
What Theranos added was only in 2016 luck The magazine was called “Amazingly Qualified Medical Commission”. Which was it? But by that time, apparently it was too late.
Lessons learned for the advisory board
The first lesson learned from this blunder is intuitive. Big names get attention and increase credibility, but they require domain expertise from the beginning on an advisory board. Real field expertise from advisors who know what they are talking about as they have lived it every day.
Advisory boards for (bio) pharmaceutical companies usually do not have a Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense, but the risks associated with a committee consisting only of high-level international leaders may be similar. There is sex. You may not be in a good position to delve into the data and details. They will give a panel keynote at the most prestigious conferences, know everyone in the therapeutic field, and may present at a high price. Journal impact factor The magazine is not looking at the patient.
The advisory board absolutely needs these big names to inform strategic decisions, but it goes into weeds, answers relevant detailed medical questions, and addresses the unmet medical needs of different patient populations. You also need a member that can be identified. A very functional and diverse board of directors needs to be set up to advise companies early on.
If things go wrong, even “surprisingly qualified” boards may not be able to turn things around.
Job Description: Rebel with Cause
Lesson 2 is related to an interesting case of the only expert on the board. Faggy is one of the most loyal Theranos supporters and The longest Theranos official When the Theranos card house falls (excluding Holmes).
As this example shows, people, even professionals, are crazy about hype. That’s why it’s a good idea to have one or two “rebels” on the board. That is, experts, often rising stars, are not afraid to question conventions, challenge the status quo, scrutinize data, and discuss with celebrities.
It’s easy to say, “Find some rebels who have been driven to improve patient outcomes,” but this is one of the difficult things to fill an advisory board position. Those who question the established approach may not be recommended by the experts they challenge. Therefore, the general method of building a board by asking established members for recommendations can be ineffective or counterproductive for these important members.
This forces medical and commercial teams in life sciences companies to use a variety of approaches to find these emerging professionals with independent sources.
Scientific publications can be used as an early indicator of emerging professionals. The number of publications, the impact factor of the journal, and, importantly, the actual work they publish, helps identify extraordinary talent.
Social media is a new but increasingly important source of information. What care providers tell and who they target, such as patients and colleagues, can help to get a more complete picture, especially for early career professionals. Awards, active participation in medical societies, especially participation in guideline development committees, and international cooperation are other factors that companies consider.
Once discovered and onboarded, these new professionals may find that they have neck pain, but if that means they don’t follow the wrong path, the pain is. It’s worth it.
Good, bad, ugly
The third lesson is indirect. Much time, energy, money, and sleepless nights are spent building an advisory board. Now use it for everything it’s worth.
Theranos never did this. They couldn’t because their board wasn’t intended to provide real oversight or ask difficult questions. It was designed to help raise money, awe, calm suspicions, and keep criticism out by the power of member reputation. This worked very well — until it didn’t work.
Criticism is not fun, but it is essential. Therefore, the goal must be to foster an open culture that encourages difficult questions, in-depth data research, fact checking, and constructive criticism.
The advisory board is just a place for those open discussions among experts. As the Theranos example shows, if you don’t address the challenges in a circle of trusted advisors, you may need to discuss them in public, or in this case in court.
Your advisory board is important — lots
The board of directors is critical to success, whether it is the success of the entire company or the success of a particular drug development program. To meet that expectation, any explanatory board needs a diverse group of members who are highly qualified, enthusiastic, supportive, not afraid to ask offensive questions, and keep asking them.
The burden on the board of directors of the life sciences industry is particularly heavy as people’s health and life are at stake. It may not be known if the patient died as a direct result of Theranos misdiagnosis, “The false consequences have affected countless people. Some have received unnecessary treatment, misdiagnosed serious conditions, and experienced emotional confusion.”
The board of directors is responsible for reviewing, asking questions, and confirming facts. It is the responsibility of the company to take that responsibility seriously, create an open and credible environment, and build a board of directors that makes it possible by listening seriously to its opinions and feedback.
Theranos clearly shows the possible consequences of not doing so.
The Theranos fiasco shows how much startup advisory boards matter – TechCrunch Source link The Theranos fiasco shows how much startup advisory boards matter – TechCrunch
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