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Start-Up Life Sciences Companies vs Big Pharma: What’s Better to Work For?

Posted on March 2023

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If you’re considering taking on a new challenge in the Life Sciences sector, you may find yourself facing an important question: Big Pharma vs small pharma?  

Is it better to work for a start-up Life Sciences company or a large, established pharmaceutical company? Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Instead, it’s best to consider the benefits of both options and then decide based on your priorities.

The benefits of Big Pharma

We begin by looking at the benefits of working for Big Pharma companies.

Processes are more structured

While small companies tend to give individuals greater autonomy, larger pharmaceutical companies have developed and refined their processes over the years. This means more processes are pre-defined, and there’s more that goes into making decisions. This is a benefit if you prefer a more structured approach to your work and within your role.

Big Pharma often requires focus on projects’ smaller elements

Big Pharma tends to be more process driven, since they work on bigger projects involving larger teams. This means you would focus on specific aspects of your role or the projects you work on. This enables you to focus on a specific niche and as a result, enhance your expertise and become more specialized in this area. In doing so, you will also receive more exposure to best practices.

Greater job security

Working for Big Pharma often offers greater job security, as they have large portfolios of approved assets for which clinical trials have been completed, and they are unlikely to be severely affected by their pipeline results. Even though larger pharmaceutical companies may see failed trials and launches that could lead to redundancy, they are better placed to move you to another area of the business if that happens.

The benefits of start-up Life Sciences companies

Working at start-up Life Sciences companies also comes with numerous benefits.

Easier sign-off and faster processes

There’s usually much less red tape involved in processes and procedures at start-up Life Science companies. The lack of red tape means that sign off and other processes are faster, offering you opportunities to see the benefits of the products or assets you work on much quicker.

Seeing the bigger picture

One of the big differences when it comes to start-ups vs Big Pharma is that working for a start-up allows you to see the bigger picture in a way that’s not always possible in a larger company. There’s a much greater chance of you seeing how your project will benefit patients, and of seeing how processes, procedures, and the final product are implemented.

You can influence company culture

The company culture in start-up Life Sciences companies is still evolving, which is good news for you if you prioritize company culture and are considering a new role. The reason for this is that you can influence the culture with your own ways of working and by expressing your ideas.

Find the right role for you

A benefit of a position at either a start-up Life Sciences company or at Big Pharma is the opportunity for career progression. Job growth and career development prospects look promising across the Life Sciences industry, in line with the growing demand for research and development, clinical and drug information and advanced technology.

Both Big Pharma and start-up Life Sciences companies have numerous benefits to offer you. Whether one is better than the other depends entirely on your working preferences and goals.

Ready to take the next step in your career? EPM Scientific is a leading talent specialist partner in Life Sciences, helping candidates find their next permanent or contract position since 2012. Register your resume on our website and have the latest career opportunities across Big Pharma and start-ups come to you.

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