Robert Thong has 30 years experience in biopharma, medtech, healthcare and most recently, precision medicine data and digital health. He has worked with over 100 different organisations across 14 countries in Europe, North America and Asia—as a management consultant, senior executive adviser, board director or P&L-accountable business leader. Over the past 15 years, he has focused on mid-sized & smaller biopharma companies, research-stage biotech firms, platform technology innovators and service providers (CROs, CDMOs), including their R&D and commercial partnerships with multinational biopharma companies.
Robert was formerly global co-head of the Life Sciences Group at Capgemini, European Bioscience Business Unit Head at COBA Consulting (now absorbed into the PwC Deals Strategy group) and Managing Director Healthcare Division at Datamonitor (now Informa). He was a non-executive board member at Alpharma Inc. (US-listed mid-cap pharma group, now part of Pfizer) for four years, and founded three small boutique consultancies focused on bioscience business.
In recent years, Robert has focused exclusively on advising and mentoring startups and SMEs across Europe, either retained directly by the companies or representing their investors as a Partner with Selvedge Venture—an advisory firm focusing on deep tech in life sciences and healthcare that supports and invests alongside venture investors. He has also held interim senior management roles, e.g. Chief Business Officer at Repositive.
Experience in different types of business
- Innovators in dermatology, inflammation, neurology, oncology, pain and women’s health
- Generic APIs and finished dosage forms
- Branded Consumer Health
- Information and software providers—market intelligence, R&D management, healthcare delivery, genomics and marketplace portals
- Technology and service providers—CROs, CDMOs, antibody engineering, cell & gene therapy and drug delivery
Experience of multiple business issues
- Strategy and business model development
- Management process and organisational development
- Leadership of commercial teams
- Business development and licensing
- R&D strategy and management
- Operations improvement, systems integration and culture change
- M&A planning and due diligence
in first person narrative
Born in Malaysia, I had a stint at boarding school in Gloucestershire, England before graduating with a BSc in Mathematics from Imperial College London in 1982. Joining the life and health insurance industry after my first degree, I qualified in 1986 as a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries, a PhD-standard professional accreditation in applied statistics and risk management. I soon became bored with working on complex mathematical models for risk analysis and pricing and decided to study for an MBA in the United States.
After graduating from the MIT Sloan School of Management in 1990, I was recruited by a boutique strategy consultancy (The MAC Group) that was subsequently acquired by Capgemini very soon after I joined. My adeptness with organisations relying on high-risk product innovation very quickly led me into the biopharma world, a sector I have now been working in and around for nearly 30 years.
What drives me is the immense professional and personal satisfaction I get from helping others improve their leadership, strategic decision-making, action implementation and day-to-day management. I live in London, England, with my wife Marie and our lovely west highland white terrier. We have two grown-up children and a lovely daughter-in-law.
Cover Photo by Darius Bashar from Unsplash