Digital Therapeutics: 3 Tips for Finding Talent in this Growing Segment

Digital Therapeutics, DTx, may be one of the newest innovations to arrive to the biotech party, but it’s certainly not being shy now that it’s here. This already-$3.73 billion industry is expected to grow at a 20% CAGR through 2026, creating software and digital applications to help patients treat, manage, and prevent behavioral, mental, and physical diseases and disorders. Companies like Virta and Pear Therapeutics are using DTx technology to help patients manage diabetes and insomnia.

 “To a patient, trying a digital therapy can feel more accessible than traditional therapies”, says Paul Sinclair, who leads Mix Talent’s recruiting in the DTx space. “DTx can often be delivered at a lower cost, and nearly everyone has access with a smartphone.”

 Our clients are certainly excited, and so are we. Here’s why. Used with — and sometimes in place of — medications, devices, and therapies, DTx can be a safe, affordable, and accessible treatment for conditions including diabetes, ADHD, autism, depression, and substance abuse. DTx tracks and measures data as patients wear or use these technologies, and it removes the potential for human mistakes or gaps in reporting, which can lead to improved outcomes.

 “This different approach to treating illnesses and disease requires a different approach to hiring,” says Sinclair, who outlines three strategies for finding great DTx talent.

 1. Make a new mold

While more traditional pharmaceutical companies are searching for the best scientists to join their team, DTx organizations need programmers and people who work in artificial intelligence, people who may not be on your radar today.

 Given DTx is a relatively new space, don’t expect to find people with years of experience in the role you’re looking for because they likely don’t exist. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t qualified candidates eager for the job.

 Start with the competencies you’re seeking in a candidate and then get creative about filling roles to deliver on them. This could include finding a programmer with an undergraduate degree in biology, for example. “Look at their backgrounds for a mix of science and technology,” says Sinclair. “Consider a software engineer with a biology background or someone who’s worked with a device and a drug.”  Also think about filling the skills you need with a team. If you can’t find one person with experience across all the competencies you’re seeking, you might be able to find a team that can work together to create this profile.

 2. Give yourself time

Don’t try to rush. “Finding the technical talent, UX expertise, and agility needed to drive these solutions from initial ideation to commercialization isn’t easy,” says Sinclair. “This specialized talent is in high demand, not just in DTx, but in so many other fast-growing technical spaces.”

 As you build your workforce planning, consider extending hiring timelines to accommodate for this type of search. If your typical time to fill the role is 45 days, consider planning for 60. Also, since these candidates are often in high demand, be prepared to make the offer when the right person comes along. This includes having your interviewing team lined up and decision criteria set early so once you meet the right candidate, you’re in a place to extend an offer quickly.

 You’re going to need to plan ahead and tap into the strength of your network to find people with the right skills, experience, and, of course, cultural fit. You may also want to consider reaching out to a recruiter who is widely networked in this space.

 3. Tell your story

This is a candidate-led market so you may need to think differently about your offer if you want to compete for the best talent. That means considering more than compensation and perks. Even without the pandemic forcing so many people to work from home right now, the candidates you’re looking for are over the Silicon Valley office culture of glossy perks and freebies.

 Ultimately, people want to do something that matters. “What candidates really want is a culture where they can make an impact, bring the founder’s idea to life, and create something important,” says Sinclair. Let them see how, at your company, they can make a difference in the lives of others on the grandest of scales. Make sure you show them the role they can play today and how it will go far beyond the initial launch.


About Mix Talent

Mix Talent is a talent acquisition and consulting firm that specializes in pharmaceutical and biotech. We partner with companies to plan for, identify, assess, and recruit the talent they need to make their business successful. At Mix, we believe culture is the key to securing top talent and top talent is the key to building and growing a truly magnetic culture. We will help to bring your company’s mission and story to life, and then find the right candidates who will make your story stronger. Our experience, knowledge, and network help our clients go beyond hiring just headcount to truly creating dynamic organizations.

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