Unlike traditional pharma or biotech companies, most of the people working at Nimbus Therapeutics are gig workers.
It's to increase their business flexibility and agility and access hard to find, highly skilled talent.
According to their blog post Talent in the Biotech Gig Economy, only 25 of the roughly 150 people working at Nimbus are traditional employees.
Key quote on the composition of their workforce:
"... the vast majority are freelance consultants (Head of Regulatory Affairs, Head of CMC, Head of Stats & Programming, Head of HR) and dozens of scientists at expert CRO collaborators."
As you can see from the list of titles, most of the freelancers employed by Nimbus are highly skilled specialists.
The advantage of this model is summarized in this quote:
.. the gig economy has enabled them <Nimbus> to apply investment capital against projects much more sensitively, limit overhead, and toggle it up and down in a moment’s notice (think flexible spend vs. fixed cost).
In addition to hiring gig workers, Nimbus uses contract lab space, partnerships, cloud based technology and outsourcing to keep their fixed costs down and business flexibility up.
The Wall Street Journal covered the growing use of outsourcing and contracting last week in their front page story The End of Employees. Key quote:
Never before have American companies tried so hard to employ so few people. The outsourcing wave that moved apparel-making jobs to China and call-center operations to India is now just as likely to happen inside companies across the U.S. and in almost every industry.
The WSJ article focused on companies doing this to cut costs.
But as the Nimbus example shows, a growing number of companies are using gig workers to increase their agility and flexibility and access hard to find and/or hire talent.
This is not to say cost isn't a factor.
When we first started our research on the use of contingent talent, corporations told us cost was the primary factor. Today most corporations tell us cost is still a reason, but not the primary reason they are hiring contingent talent.
The top reasons now are accessing specialized talent and increasing business agility and flexibility.
This shift is not yet widely understood, but these reasons are increasingly the main driver behind the growth of contingent workers at corporations.