Corbus Will Interview Twice as Many Candidates in 2015 as Its Ranks Grow
May 28, 2015
By Riley McDermid, BioSpace.com Breaking News Sr. Editor
Yuval Cohen is the chief executive officer of Corbus Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focusing on rare, life-threatening, chronic inflammatory diseases. BioSpace chatted with Cohen about hiring trends and where the company will be hiring in 2015. Based in Norwood, Mass., Cohen said Corbus is growing by leaps and bounds and this year expects to interview more than twice the number of candidates it did in 2014, as it grows its ranks and reaches new milestones.
Cohen: We launched Corbus Pharmaceuticals last year with a team consisting of only three senior executives. It has been a whirlwind 12 months of growth and new opportunities for us with the rapid increase of headcount in all business areas: preclinical and clinical operations, finance, business development and general administration. With our needs, we screen multiple candidates and narrow the pool to two or three finalists. This amounted to approximately 15 in-person interviews with 20 qualified candidates in 2014. So far this year we have already met with the same number of people to keep pace with our growth. It is an efficient process that will lead to us conducting more than twice the number of candidate interviews by year-end compared to 2014.
BioSpace: What hiring trends are you seeing right now in your sector, and how have those been affected by such a boom year for biotech stocks?
Cohen: The biotech industry continues to grow and evolve. This is mainly driven by larger pharma companies but is also influenced by up-and-coming, innovative businesses, including many start-ups. Today, we’re seeing a demand for talent that is much greater than the available talent pool, especially in the area of clinical operations. At Corbus Pharmaceuticals, we’re actively recruiting for several positions to our growing team. This is tied to the advancement of our lead asset, Resunab, into two Phase II studies. In light of the market for experienced clinical development personnel, we’re finding ourselves having to spend more time and resources than previously to identify and bring in ideal candidates.
Cohen: In the past year, we have added a chief medical officer, head of clinical operations, a clinical research associate (CRA), a clinical trial assistant (CTA), a senior regulatory administrator and an office manager. We are about to launch two Phase II clinical studies and are currently looking to add four members to our clinical operations team: CRAs, CTAs, CMC and regulatory. In addition, we have open positions in the areas of business development, pre-clinical development and finance.
Our headquarters are located in Norwood, Mass. We participate actively in the internship program sponsored by the Mass Life Science Center, a state-funded agency with a mission to support life sciences innovation and create jobs in Massachusetts. We are also a member of MassBio and utilize that organization’s programs and support to help locate talented individuals whom we believe would be a valuable addition to the Corbus team.
We have had three interns at Corbus so far and are pleased to announce that one has now joined us full-time in regulatory affairs.
BioSpace: How important is corporate culture when you look at, and potentially hire, a candidate?
Cohen: We’re an emerging biotech company comprised of a team of industry professionals who are passionate about what we do. We are focused narrowly on developing new drugs to treat unmet medical needs, with an emphasis on rare, life-threatening inflammatory and fibrotic diseases. Therefore, we are actively seeking candidates who are willing and able to work as part of a small but growing team in a structure that is largely horizontal and devoid of cumbersome hierarchies.
While experience is important, we’re willing to hire somewhat less-experienced candidates and invest in them as long as they demonstrate a real start-up mentality: hard work, independent thinking, creativity, self-confidence and team spirit.
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