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In the Diagnose Stage Biotech Progress Lingers

Laurent Fischer, M.D., was hired by DuPont Pharmaceuticals in 1997 on the condition that the company’s CEO agree to undertake diversity and HIV/AIDS trainings. Nicholas Teti, the executive in charge at the time, signed off. But it didn’t end there. Employees yelled derogatory comments at the CEO when he walked the halls of DuPont with a book on being LGBTQ+ in the workplace, Fischer remembered.

After leaving Switzerland for New York City in the early 1990s because his native country was not gay-friendly, Fischer joined the business to push its HIV medicine Sustiva, which was authorised by the FDA in 1998. At least for some, the instruction was effective. Several factory coworkers expressed gratitude to Fischer for opening their minds, and some even reconciled with family and friends who had been shunned because of their sexual orientation.

Even though it was 1997, many Biotech are still in the early stages of diversity and inclusion activities, which the Biotech Innovation Organization (BIO) refers to as the “diagnostic” stage in industry jargon. This suggests that biopharma has not yet reached the educated, pilot, and scale stages of the diversity-and-inclusion maturity curve, as defined by the industry association.

According to over two dozen LGBTQ+ professionals across life sciences interviewed by Fierce Biotech, a diversity revolution has already reached the IT industry, placing that sector further ahead, and it’s time for Biotech to catch up. According to Emily Drabant Conley, Ph.D., the glacial progress toward becoming a more inclusive industry for LGBTQ+ persons matches the speed of drug development.

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