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Hobson Prior continues global expansion within life sciences recruitment support

Hobson Prior continues global expansion within life sciences recruitment support Life science recruitment company Hobson Prior has further expanded its global presence this month by opening a new office in Cape Town. This is the second international office the UK-based firm has opened in 2020, after establishing itself in Basel, Switzerland earlier this year. As life sciences recruitment partners for pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical devices companies around the world, scalability and global coverage have always been key to Hobson Prior’s success. With clients from around the world and a headhunting and candidate network spanning several continents, Hobson Prior continues to grow its international presence throughout 2020. International presence Hobson Prior prides itself on delivering expert recruitment solutions to candidates and clients around the world, covering the core life sciences hubs and beyond. It is through these international connections that they have access to the highest calibre of candidates and can headhunt rare and nicely specialised talent. Notably, Hobson Prior has placed life sciences workers in over 30 countries in interim and permanent positions. Also, Hobson Prior’s interim recruitment team hit a landmark 200 live onsite contractors across Europe amidst the global pandemic. “The currently global situation has proven the possibility of embracing more remote working, particularly on an international scale,” comments Patrick Forster, Managing Director of Hobson Prior. “As our network and internal coverage expands, we can continue to connect life sciences professionals with the companies that need their services and offer innovative and efficient recruitment solutions for our clients”. Global expansion This year, Hobson Prior relocated their Switzerland office from Lausanne to Basel. They also secured a SECO interim recruitment license, enabling them to payroll Swiss contractors and provide compliant interim recruitment services to Swiss clients directly from their Basel office. This has enabled them to improve their solutions for clients, as well as support international businesses source talent to launch new sites within Switzerland. Most recently, they’ve helped US based clients overcome the challenges of hiring in Switzerland from the states, using the recruiters based in Basel to impart their knowledge and experience of the Swiss candidate market. Introducing Hobson Prior Cape Town Following the Swiss move, Hobson Prior is also opening a new office in Cape Town, South Africa, expanding their team to establish themselves within a new continent and ensure they can continue to provide expert international support to their life sciences clients, wherever they may be.South Africa is home to sites for many biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, including GlaxoSmitheKline, Pfizer and Sanofi and is a growing hub for development within the life science. This new office aims to support Hobson Priore's global efforts and ensure they can support their clients with recruitment solutions, regardless of time differences.   “These steps are key to Hobson Prior’s plans for sustainable global growth and will empower us to continue our mission to provide exceptional recruitment solutions to candidates and clients across the life sciences sector, on a truly worldwide scale”Patrick Forster- Managing Director, Hobson PriorFor more information on Hobson Prior’s international recruitment solutions, please visit the employers section of the website or contact the client services team directly:Email: clientservices@hobsonprior.com Telephone: (+44) 01892 612612

Why are there so many pharmaceutical companies in Switzerland?

Switzerland is one of the most popular places for a pharmaceutical company to establish a new site. Global industry leading companies including Roche, Novartis, Merck and Celgene have a large presence within Switzerland and there is continued interest from international biotech and pharma companies, particularly from the US, to open new sites within the country. Over 40 new biotechs and pharma companies established themselves in there in 2019, so why are so many pharmaceutical companies in Switzerland? Why are European pharma companies concentrated in Switzerland? Switzerland’s relationship within Europe Over a third of Swiss exports come from the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry and the territory has established itself as a leading hub for life sciences development within Europe. With over 250 pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies based across Basel, Zurich, Geneva and other core cities in Switzerland, there is already a proven and well-resourced access to talent, resources, funding and clinical development within the country. Similarly, being geographically close to other leading life sciences hubs within Germany, France and Italy provides Switzerland a very beneficial position to expand a life sciences business. Switzerland and the EU and EMA Switzerland is not a member of the EU or the EEA (European Economic Area), but maintains a confidentiality agreement with the European Commission and European Medicines Agency (EMA) through the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products (Swissmedic). Similarly, the sovereign state maintains a strong connection to the European Union with a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) for good manufacturing practice (GMP) compliance, as well as strong ties to the FDA. This unique political and commercial position can be advantageous for pharmaceutical companies to have a presence in this booming market that has more financial and political freedom, whilst ensuring strong connections to the EMA and FDA global markets.   Top life sciences talent from Switzerland A core consideration for any site selection is ease of accessibility to top talent within the industry; ultimately, it is a strong workforce that drives success in pharma. Attraction and retention of talented professionals relies on the appeal of the country and its cities, the quality of life and understanding of local customs and employment laws. Whilst it is difficult to quantify analysis for employee potential and happiness in their environment, Switzerland ranks highly across numerous studies in workforce satisfaction and quality of life. Switzerland and access to talent Switzerland has consistently ranked highly in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI), which measures and ranks countries based on their ability to grow, attract and retain talent. Switzerland was ranked first place in the GTCI 2020, with notably high rankings in employee retention, enabling employees’ development and encouraging personal growth. With a particular focus on how AI and adoption of technology have impacted the index in 2020, Switzerland’s high ranking demonstrates a promising consideration of innovation alongside talent attraction and business development Similarly, the country ranks highly for many aspects of workforce skills in the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness report 2019, with 1st place rankings in extent of staff training, quality of vocational training and skillsets of graduates. Switzerland is also home to 4 out of 100 of the Times Higher Education top 100 universities worldwide, with 7 in the top 200 universities, promoting Switzerland’s reputation for education and research. Strong performance in these areas highlights the promising growth Switzerland has in attracting top talent internationally, as well as producing skilled workers within its education system and employee development.   Switzerland and quality of life for employees Switzerland scores highly in employee retention on the GTCI 2020, suggesting a satisfactory lifestyle provided for potential employees. This is further supported by Zurich’s position as 2nd, Geneva as 9th and Basel as 10th globally on the Mercer Quality of Living Index 2020, which reviews quality of living standards in line with typical compensation packages.    The combination of all these factors, alongside the proximity to other leading life sciences hubs in Germany and France, suggest Switzerland can be a highly beneficial place for skilled professionals to establish their career across biotechnology and pharma, enabling Swiss based pharmaceutical companies access to talented individuals, at a local level, across a range of specialist fields.   “Practically all the specialist life sciences candidates we work with are aware of Switzerland’s appeal within the industry. There is no shortage of talented professionals already based or looking to locate to the vicinity so there is often a surplus of viable candidates.” Matthew Vickers, Principal Consultant for Swiss Clinical recruitment at Hobson Prior. “In fact, it is often more difficult for the companies we work with to compete for the attention of this talent, particularly if they don’t know the swiss recruitment system.”   Switzerland’s investment in R&D With biotechnology and pharma making up 40% of Swiss exports, Switzerland has the largest export surplus of pharmaceutical products worldwide, producing 88.4 CHF billion in pharmaceutical industry exports in 2019. It is no surprise that Switzerland invests heavily in its research and development schemes to ensure continued growth and innovation. Around 7,000,000,000 CHF was invested into R&D from Swiss pharma companies in 2018, with continued investment and innovation across the pharma and biotech spaces within Switzerland. This led to the development of multiple new start-ups as Switzerland continues to continue to build its life sciences industry. As a core industry, the country is very supportive of its innovators.   Switzerland and innovation Switzerland ranked number 1 against EU countries on the in European Innovation Scoreboard 2020, which assesses the relative strengths and weaknesses of national innovation systems within the EU and neighbouring countries. With Switzerland globally renowned for life sciences innovation, the pharma industry is likely to have contributed significantly to this.   For life sciences, Switzerland’s commitment to funding innovative ideas provides a great advantage for pharma development. The registration process for obtaining a license for a new pharmaceutical product from the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products is one of the fastest in the world and with one of the most sophisticated healthcare systems, it lends itself to efficient pharmaceutical development and clinical testing. With leading biotechs specialising in new technological advancements such as cell and gene therapy, CRISPR and AI integration across the life sciences, the country’s influence in life sciences is visible on a global scale. With a landscape centred on innovation and scientific development, many pharma companies enjoy the benefits of being based there.   Switzerland and future stability Through investment in innovation, Switzerland ranks highly across core areas of future development and readiness for changes and advancements within the life sciences industry and across the global business outlook: 1st for change readiness - 20191st for growth promise indicators - 2019 1st for economic freedom in Europe - 20202nd for global resilience - 20203rd for world competitiveness - 2020 Whilst the future is never fully certain, with strong investment and dedication to promoting its life sciences, Switzerland appears to be at the height of pharmaceutical development and with no plans to slow down.     Switzerland as an international investment Overall, there are various reasons impacting a pharmaceutical company’s decision for a site location and Switzerland has established itself as a proven global leader in many of these aspects, including talent attraction, investment into innovation and pharmaceutical success. With a large focus on the life sciences and pharma as a core export, it is unsurprising to see so many talented professionals - educated within Switzerland or living locally - and numerous start-up labs and biotech research teams establishing themselves across the country. It is also unsurprising that many growing companies in the pharmaceutical industry who are looking to expand internationally, choose Switzerland as the location for their sites including Hobson Prior, who have a team based in Basel. It is worth noting that, as with any international expansion, the customs, expectations and processes for recruitment within Switzerland can vary significantly.“We see particularly with US pharma companies looking to build teams in Switzerland, they can come across difficulties with time differences and slight differences in processes that makes it difficult to secure top talent in a competitive market.“With so much competition for strong candidates, we help them promote their career opportunities and navigate the local nuances of the typical Swiss recruitment process”.James Inwood – Client Services Manager at Hobson Prior For more information on hiring life sciences professionals in Switzerland as part of an international expansion, you can contact our Swiss recruitment team, or read our case study following how a US company launches its Swiss office despite the time differences and different hiring culture.

Brexit and its effect on Pharmacovigilance in the EU - a recruiter's perspective

Our own Matthew Jenner, Pharmacovigilance Staffing Specialist, shares his insights on how Brexit will impact the EU and UK pharmacovigilance job market. The term ‘Brexit’ has been used so much in the past two years, it’s almost become a cliché. With Brexit deals and no deals dominating the news and few definitive decisions, it would be fair to say that, it’s not a term that brings about much positivity, particularly for the UK and EU job market. That said, as a recruiter focusing specifically within the area of Pharmacovigilance (PV), I have quite a different view on the whole matter. Not only because I can see the abundance of PV career opportunities that will result from it in mainland Europe, but also the fact that it will change the shape of what we know as ‘Drug Safety’ in the UK if the UK leaves both the EU and EEA (European Economic Area) So, what effect will Brexit have on PV jobs for both the UK and the EU? With the lack of decisive action coming from those orchestrating the follow-up of Article 50, it’s difficult to predict the future of the pharmaceutical industry post-Brexit. Although the UK will be leaving the European Union, it’s relationship with the EEA is still not confirmed and there are various issues that are still to be negotiated, including how the UK and EU pharmacovigilance will operate. In terms of PV, currently, the only change that has been announced from the EMA is that the EU Qualified Person Responsible for Pharmacovigilance (QPPV) will be required to be based in the Union (EEA). Despite some murmurs of optimism, it is unlikely that UK-based EU-QPPVs will be able to continue to operate in the UK following Brexit. It was confirmed by the EMA this June via a Q&A report that EU-QPPVs and the Pharmacovigilance System Master File (PSMF) will legally have to reside in the Union (EEA). This means that, regardless of whether the UK continues to operate under the EMA’s regulations or not, to remain compliant with EU drug safety, the EU-QPPV and PSMF will not be able to operate in the UK if the UK leaves. This is not the only potential upset in PV due to Brexit as it is being widely debated whether Deputy QPPVs will also need to be based in the Union (EEA), as well as whether the deputies will operate as Local Person for Pharmacovigilance (LPPV) or a Local Responsible Person. This will certainly cause disruptions and both pharmaceutical companies and qualified workers are stuck in limbo while these decisions are slowly being finalised. With approximately 1,300 EU-QPPVs based in the UK who, under this current legislation, will have to be relocated to or replaced in the Union (EEA) by law, there is understandably a great deal of concern regarding these decisions. As senior lead for the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry’s (ABPI), Virginia Acha commented back in 2017: “Moving house is the fourth most stressful thing in your life! How are we going to make sure that we don’t have a major slowdown in procedures?” Whether this means the entirety of Drug Safety jobs are moved with the QPPVs and PSMFs to the Unions (EEA) remains to be seen. These grey areas have caused a great deal of unease amongst pharmaceutical companies and workers alike, especially with high costs and job security at risk. So, what does this mean for EU and UK PV job opportunities? From my perspective, it would be illogical to move all PV out of the UK: there has been a great deal of investment in the PV market in the UK, as well as a large talent pool of PV professionals. Moving entire PV departments to the Unions (EEA) purely because the QPPV and PSMF is operating there, is extremely unlikely with the costs and sacrifices involved. Moreover, though there is a huge amount of talent in Europe for PV professionals, this is a niche area and there is not currently enough to backfill the deficit that would be left from the UK-based PV talent pool. Various questions remain for UK based workers that wouldn’t want to relocate. If you are concerned about UK PV jobs and how Brexit will impact them, get in touch with the career experts and we can discuss the market and opportunities with you. One question I’ve been asked a lot is if there will be opportunities in the EU that weren’t there before due to Brexit? In short – Absolutely. As recruiters, we are already seeing more demand from leading pharmaceutical companies for European based PV professionals – from Case Processors to Safety Physicians, from Drug Safety Scientists to PVQA Managers; there’s an abundance of new opportunities being created (which you can take a look at here). UK PV professionals will have new exciting offers to work abroad as more permanent and contractor opportunities open. We’re seeing global pharma companies with strategies to move large sections of their PV group to offices in Europe due to Brexit. We’re also seeing global pharmaceuticals who are looking to move their QPPV out of the UK, but keeping their wider PV team based in the UK. The key takeaway is that despite the uncertainty regarding the role of QPPVs, the demand for pharmacovigilance jobs and talent is still high and there are opportunities for all qualified QPPVs, regardless of their location. What is certain is that, until told otherwise, it is business as usual for both UK PV and EU PV workers. The pharmacovigilance industry is anticipating a shake up, but as many of you who have worked in this vital area of the industry, this is nothing new and it will settle…eventually. At least, that’s what I think based on the what I’ve seen working closely with top talent and pharmaceuticals across the UK and Europe. What are your expectations on how Brexit will impact drug safety and pharmacovigilance? What’s been your experience with the PV job market since Brexit was announced? For more information on the pharmacovigilance job market and to see the latest PV job opportunities across the UK and EU, check out the latest jobs, exclusive to Hobson Prior here. This blog includes views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Hobson Prior.

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