It seems counterintuitive, given that only a handful of life sciences companies of any size have women at the helm, but the biotech startup world is a relatively good place to be a woman. A 2006 survey of New England biotech firms found that 21 percent were founded by women. By comparison, a nationwide study conducted in 2010 by the Kauffman Foundation found that only 19 percent of all companies started in 2004, and one percent of high tech-focused startups, were founded by women.
Still, the ratios in life sciences could certainly be better, given that 51 percent of the engineers and scientists employed by that industry in 2008 were women, according to the National Science Foundation.
That’s the belief of Suzanne Bruhn, the newly named president and CEO of Promedior. The six-year-old biotech is developing drugs for rare diseases involving fibrosis, a disease process that can cause excessive scarring on any number of organs, including the kidneys, heart, lung, and eyes. Bruhn, pictured top right, took the helm in May, at the same time as the company announced it was switching headquarters from Malvern, PA, to Lexington, MA, in order to be closer to the biotech action. That move was just completed this month, with a formal opening ceremony on Dec. 17th attended by representatives of Governor Deval Patrick who specifically heralded the arrival of a woman-helmed biotech firm.
That’s a rarefied group in Massachusetts, despite the promising statistics. One of the few prominent woman biotech … Next Page »