Person looking at the camera in front of R&D facility equipment

Case Study

Building the R&D function of a newly established biotech

Person looking at the camera in front of R&D facility equipment

Case Study

Building the R&D function of a newly established biotech




Process Development

Analytical Development

Translational Science

Data Science


  • We began working with this Singapore-headquartered mRNA biopharma shortly after they were founded. As a brand-new firm, they were unknown to the candidate market within Massachusetts, where they were looking to launch their new R&D facility.

  • They were yet to begin operations in North America, but had a good presence in the APAC market.

They were looking to place directors, senior managers, and scientists into this new Boston-based facility. With their core office functions based in Singapore, they had struggled to attract and engage local candidates with the mRNA experience and skill level to lead the new facility. They were also unable to manage candidate processes given the extreme time differences.

  • Q2 2021

  • Q4 2021

  • Q1 2022

  • Q2 2022

  • Q3 2022

  • Company Founded

    Company Founded

    The biopharma begin operations from their inaugural offices in Singapore, and begin setting up an R&D facility in Shanghai.

  • Partnership begins

    Partnership begins

    ​We are approached to begin building out the US R&D function ahead of a proposed facility launch in Q2, 2022. The first placement, a Senior Scientist, is secured before year-end for onboarding in Q1.

  • First Appointments Made

    First Appointments Made

    Additional roles are released to us, seniorities ranging from Associate through to AD level. Associate Director of Data Science is appointed, with a start date at the beginning of Q2. Associate Scientist in Process Development appointed.

  • Site Launched, Capital Raised

    Site Launched, Capital Raised

    The R&D site is secured and additional placements are appointed, including a VP of Protein Therapeutics who was secured within 35 days of the job briefing. A Series B funding round of $140m is announced.

  • Further Build-out, Trials Launched

    Further Build-out, Trials Launched

    ​Additional placements are made, Nanoparticle Technology Platform Lead and a Quality and Compliance AD. The company announce the initiation of their first-in-human clinical trials for one of their mRNA vaccine products less than 15 months after their inception.

As the firm held limited influence in the US market, we focused on employer branding to engage candidates; directing messaging toward the cutting-edge mRNA tech, venture funding goals, and potential product pipeline to sell what could be considered a risky career move to candidates working within more established firms.

Being their first set of hires in the US, we provided the salary and benefits benchmarking information that informed the total package offered to candidates.

Given the tight turnaround time, we also provided guidance on hiring process stage lengths, ensured interviews were timely and progressed speedily, and maintained close candidate relationships to minimise the risk of drop-outs.

Project Highlights

  • R&D Case Study 3

  • R&D Case Study 4

  • R&D Case Study 1

  • R&D Case Study 2

We supported the firm in building an on-the-ground R&D team consisting of a VP of protein therapeutics, three associate directors in data science, process development, and quality and compliance, as well as several scientists from associate to senior level.

Shortly after the setup of the R&D centre, the firm went on to secure a $140 million Series B funding round, funds that will further their research capabilities and strengthen their mRNA pipeline.

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