COLUMBUS, OH -- The life sciences industry, comprised largely of small and middle market companies, is the focus of a new report from the National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM). Pharmaceutical, biotech, dietary supplement and medical device product makers, among others, revealed the most pressing challenges faced by companies in the industry as well as the capabilities they need to overcome those hurdles and sustain successful growth.  

The report, Life Sciences in the Middle Market, highlights five key insights that, together, reveal a complex environment for growth and success in the industry. These include: managing innovation and knowledge, protecting complex supply chains prone to disruption, creating partnerships in commercialization and distribution, identifying complicated risks and exposures and navigating the regulatory environment.  

The biggest challenges companies face fall into four areas: innovation and knowledge (23%), competitive environment (19%), cyber threats (17%), and managing and accessing capital (13%). Within the competitive environment area is the challenge companies face in getting to the finish line ahead of industry peers, protecting innovations from competitors, and amassing and coordinating resources to scale up to distribute new products.   

“Middle market life sciences companies are among the most dynamic in the world. We conducted this research to understand what drives — and prevents — growth for top-performing life sciences companies,” said NCMM Executive Director Thomas A. Stewart. “By understanding what makes them tick — and what top-performing life sciences companies do differently — we hope to help the industry do even better.”  

“We also believe there are lessons in this study for businesses in other industries — especially other knowledge-based businesses.”

The report was compiled following a survey of 400 mid-sized companies in the life sciences ecosystem. Additional life sciences businesses include those that conduct clinical trials, contract research and manufacturing companies, analytics labs and distributors. The survey included pre-revenue companies if they met criteria for invested capital and number of employees. The survey was fielded just prior to the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The NCMM conducted follow-up interviews with industry executives to learn about the impact of COVID-19 and how it might change the industry.  

The report shares the findings and serves as a resource for middle market life sciences executives, regulators and economic development agencies invested in the ongoing vitality of the sector. 

“As a majority of life sciences companies are in the middle market, these insights can help much of the industry understand and address its biggest challenges,” said NCMM Managing Director Doug Farren. “By understanding the industry and their peers, these companies can find their strengths to achieve greater business success.”