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Why HealthTech and MedTech start-ups need a CMO.

Increasingly technology-based companies are evolving into the MedTech and Healthtech verticles. This evolution has led to a common theme amongst companies: Hiring a Chief Medical Officer (CMO) to support continued growth. But why is this role important? Especially in MedTech startups and scale-ups?

Today we explore the benefits of hiring a CMO early in the growth plan and why we believe this adds value to the organisation.

In sectors like Pharma, a CMO's two critical functions were nicely articulated in 2015 by McKinsey. These functions include ensuring the patient is heard at the highest level of the organisation and representing the company as its primary medical spokesperson.

As more companies recreate the model, many have established an authoritative voice to represent the science from inside the company. This adoption can provide a credible person who can validate the science and technology and contribute to the understanding across all stakeholders. In addition, they can take responsibility for crafting the strategy and scaling it through the workforce.

Besides being a voice within the organisation, a CMO can also take up vital operational functions. For example, they may focus on the research effort to move the products forward or on increasing colleagues' understanding of policy that might otherwise be lacking in a technology-focused workforce.

At Indo, we are eager to see if the inclusion of a CMO by the MedTech or HealthTech sector continues. Now, whilst the CMO role may differ from company to company, and for early-stage startups, a full-time hire is only sometimes practical. This practicality has led to revised versions of the role emerging, including part-time CMOs and virtual CMOs. A part-time appointment supports the startup for a few days a month. This part-time appointment allows companies to benefit from their expertise without needing a full-time salary and oncosts. Whereas a virtual CMO can be a more on-demand resource, working on either specific projects or whatever your business decides to go, it is keen to understand the role's requirements before starting your journey to an appointment. Although this will be specific to your company, you must incorporate common themes.

Product development focused on patients must be at the forefront of any appointment. This focus ensures the primary aim stays in front of the mind.

Furthermore, a CMO must bring together clinical evidence and data to help support regulatory approval. This evidence-led approach will help the organisation navigate their product onto the market as efficiently as possible.

Finally, the CMO must support the brand and marketing of the product using their network and level of influence to increase awareness, drive sales, and position the company to help secure future investment.

In summary, scrutinize what you need and how much time you need when considering a CMO appointment. Work closely to develop and communicate the clinical strategy and position them as the voice of healthcare and patients inside a company. Ensure they can support you in finding product-market fit so that your company solves real (not perceived) problems in healthcare, meets regulatory requirements when going to market, and designs products responsibly and ethically. In addition, empower them to create studies to generate the evidence required to prove the products are safe, beneficial and cost-effective and develop the product's global value and reimbursement dossier. Finally, please give them the latitude to ensure that patient care and safety are a consistent company priority and allow them to communicate with medical advisors, key opinion leaders and medical societies. This empowerment will ensure they educate payers and other stakeholders in presentations on clinical utility.

Indo search is a specialist MedTech & HealthTech talent recruitment partner, working with an organisation to help support your company's search goals. If you're considering the appointment of a CMO, reach out today to learn more about how we take your brand and position it in the market to attract the best talent for your role.​

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