A biotech specializing in blood purification needed a Chief Medical Officer (CMO) as they were embarking on U.S. approval of their technology. Following discussions with the FDA, the company planned to pursue a pivotal registration trial starting in 2017. This role was to lead all aspects of U.S. and international clinical trial development of the company’s pipeline products. Management reached out to executive search firm Ashton Tweed to find the appropriate candidate.



The client required the candidate to have an M.D., M.D./Ph.D., or M.D./MPH degree in addition to a minimum of 10 years experience designing, leading, and managing clinical trials. A combination of academic and commercial experience was desired along with a background in inflammation and immunology. Critical care experience and an entrepreneurial spirit were also strongly preferred.

Medical doctor working with modern computer interfaceThe Ashton Tweed team began researching and reviewing candidates that met these requirements. Due to the rarity of individuals who had both the appropriate degrees and a depth of knowledge in the immunology/inflammation space, the recruiters were able to narrow down the original 350 candidates targeted. In the end, it was the search for entrepreneurial professionals with the right personality to work for a smaller company that enabled the team to shorten the list of qualified candidates to just 13 outstanding individuals.

After interviewing the qualified candidates, the client decided on a pharmaceutical/biotech leader who was very excited by the client’s technology. This candidate had the M.D. and Ph.D. required plus 26 years of clinical development experience. Furthermore, the individual had significant immunology and inflammation knowledge and was a hands-on worker. Although this candidate didn’t have direct small company experience, previously held positions had provided a real flavor of that culture. Lastly, this professional enjoyed building new therapies and had distinct experience as a scientific leader, demonstrating important attributes that made this person a good cultural fit with the client.



Within just 6 months, the client had an ideal CMO with the solid experience and specific background needed. Executive management was pleased with all the candidates presented by the firm and was extremely happy to hire their top choice. With their U.S. approvals on course, the client expects to utilize Ashton Tweed again in the future when faced with a significant hire.


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