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Gender Disparity Being Tipped due to Biotech Tilts

According to a new study by Deerfield Management Company, there is a large Gender Disparity on the boards of venture-backed health care firms, which is unsettling but not shocking. Deerfield, a healthcare investment management company, looked at 140 companies that had raised at least $25 million in venture capital (VC) funding. The company made their board members’ names public on their corporate website.

They discovered that nearly half of these organizations (48.5%) did not have a single female board member and that women only made up about 10% of board director positions. According to BioSpace’s own 2020 U.S. Life Sciences Diversity & Inclusion Study, only 14% of female respondents thought their companies’ advancement opportunities were equal, while 24% said that workers of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply for higher positions. Compared to 35% of males, this was a significant difference.

Alice Zhang, CEO and co-founder of Verge Genomics, said, “I think in biotech, there is Gender Disparity at the entry-level, but it does tend to drop off at senior levels.” Verge is developing the next-generation therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases. This lack of success in a profession where women will be expected to perform better – as of the end of 2019, female medical students outnumbered men by a margin of 50.5 percent to 49.4 percent in the United States – may be explained by the biotech industry’s ingrained culture.

For the past few years, investors have favored investing in seasoned CEOs, most of whom have been guys. The choice is also a logical answer to what is referred to as the biotech “dark ages.”

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