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Recruiting for Oncology: Top US Trends for 2019

Posted on May 2019

a lab technician checking vials

In the last decade, innovations in cell and gene-based therapies have changed the Oncology recruitment market. So what does a top Oncology candidate look like in 2019?

In the lead-up to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual conference, we always take stock of current trends in Oncology recruitment. In 2019 new therapies, like gene editing, are driving the market toward niche talent. So how does a recruiter find the best candidates in this market?

The Oncology research market

Where are the best Oncology-focused candidates? The answer lies in the US.

The oncology market is a >$50 billion industry. We know that growth in the Oncology market is US driven, and the US accounts for 46% of global spending. The majority of growth is in novel therapeutics, or drugs launched within the last 5 years. This means new technologies, and competencies, in new technologies have a disproportionate value in the US market and abroad.  

 The top pharmaceutical companies for oncology sales are Roche, Celgene, and Novartis. Certainly, candidates with R&D experience in these environments are very competitive, but we know that pharma companies aren’t the only places where innovation occurs. In fact, estimates are that 33% of all drugs in the pipeline of the world’s top 10 pharmaceutical companies were initially developed in other settings. These settings include academic institutions, hospitals, and biotech hotspots. Let’s talk about each in more depth.

Best US schools for Oncology research

While Alexander Fleming first discovered penicillin, it was Oxford that assembled the team of scientists necessary to make it stable for mass production. Research in academia cannot be discounted. The top schools working on similar revolutionary problems in Oncology are Harvard, the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, and MIT. As an example, a report from 2018 estimated that every single one of the 210 new molecular entities developed from 2010-2016 received NIH funding but academic research on these entities focused on drug targets, complementing industry efforts.  

Best US hospitals for Oncology research

The best performing US oncology hospitals are University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and the Mayo Clinic.

Hospital rankings are based on objective metrics such as risk-adjusted survival rates, patient volume, patient ratings, and readmission rates. These hospitals not only adhere to rigorous standards of clinical excellence and clinical research, but they also set these standards for a rotating core of US physicians doing specialty training at their sites.

Best US biotech hotspots for Oncology research

The benefit of a hotspot is a holistic multidisciplinary environment fostering growth and VC funding. In the US, the best biotech hotspots are San Francisco, Texas, Boston, and New Jersey. These cities have the research funding, lab space, and scientific minds required to hone a good candidate into a top candidate.  

Oncology research scientist makes samples

In conclusion

The Oncology market is becoming more niche. Staying competitive in this market means companies must secure top talent before their competitors.

EPM Scientific has a strong presence in both the US and abroad. We ensure the best talent is in the right place at the right time to help promising products reach the market. Our process is fast, targeted, and efficient.  If you are a US biotech company seeking to stay competitive in the Oncology market, let us help you find the right connections. Please feel free to reach out directly at


EPM Scientific is a leading specialist recruitment agency for the Life Sciences industry. We were founded in 2012 to give companies and candidates peace of mind that the recruitment process is in experts hands. Today, we provide contingency, retained search and project-based contract recruitment from our global hubs in London, Berlin, Switzerland, New York and Chicago.

We pride ourselves in keeping our professional network up-to-date with any changes that will shape the future of work or affect the hiring process. Visit our website to discover more invaluable insights, including exclusive research, salary guides and market trends.

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