Chad Faulkner, Principal - Life Sciences
Chad sits within Trinity’s strategic advisory services group. Since joining Trinity in 2010, Chad has developed deep expertise in integrated research solutions, bridging elements of research, analytics, and strategy to inform some of our clients most complex and challenging issues.
Chad’s specialty lies at the nexus of corporate strategy and asset diligence, helping our clients to decide how to invest in both internal and external development opportunities, but also shape larger franchises and portfolios in an ever-evolving and competitive landscape.
Chad’s work has touched billions of dollars of acquisitions over the years, both on the buy- and sell-side. His knowledge of a wide range of markets brings a unique perspective and set of learnings, which are applied to help clients tackle new challenges as they seek to find commercial success. He has worked extensively in orphan diseases, CNS disorders, infectious disease, hematology, dermatology, and broader immunology. Chad is a member of Trinity’s Waltham, MA office.
Chad is a graduate of Princeton University with a degree in Molecular Biology.
Please provide a substantive overview of what your practice area entails.
I work within Trinity’s Strategic Advisory group, and you can essentially think of us as generalist Consultants. We support the continuum of services Trinity offers our clients, and we integrate perspectives from the various Centers of Excellence (CoEs) into our overall work. We support a broad range of project types and bring in a diverse set of methodologies, depending on the challenge or question with which our clients are faced. A lot of the project work Trinity supports is integrated in nature, incorporating insights from Real World Evidence, Market Research, Secondary Data, etc. The Strategic Advisory group helps to bring those insights together to support the recommendations we make to our clients. What this means is you could be working on any one of a number of project types depending on the project, the client, and the question at hand. The Strategic Advisory group will give you a breadth of understanding of the Healthcare Industry, how our Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology, and MedTech companies fit within it, and the broad set of questions and challenges that Consultants support.
What types of clients do you work with? Please provide representative examples where possible.
Some of my clients include a top-20 Pharmaceutical company, an innovative biotech who is launching their first drug into a rare disease space with high, unmet medical need, and a variety of other clinical stage pharma & biotech companies who are trying to develop and bring their first drug to market. The work of these companies each take on its own flavor, as the companies themselves are in a very different stage of their own life cycle. For the large pharma, we think a lot about how the work we’re doing fits into their broader strategy and how we can help our clients to get alignment across their organization. For the company launching their first product, we think a lot about how to help them build on their initial success to be leaders in the space beyond any one product. And for the emerging biotech companies, we take our learnings from other companies to help them work through challenges they may not have faced before.
What types of projects do you work on? Please provide representative examples where possible.
Over the past ten years I have spent at Trinity, I’ve developed a particular focus in two areas: early asset/portfolio strategy and Rare Diseases. The former involves helping clients to understand in which assets and indications to focus and how they will need to invest in order to ensure that their therapies will continue to bring value to patients in the future (they come in the form of opportunity assessments, indication prioritizations, and larger strategy “think-pieces”). We are often helping a client decide how they need to design clinical trials and what therapies will need to deliver on in order to be successful in the future. A lot of the work I do also falls into the category of Rare Diseases; high, unmet need conditions that impact a small number of patients individually, but together, impact many people globally. These projects involve different thinking, as it requires a very different approach to launch a drug into a space that has very little awareness amongst the physician and patient community, versus a much more established disease space (e.g., Diabetes).
How involved are you in the actual implementation or execution of your recommendations? Is this more reflective of your firm’s specific services or your practice area in general?
I have the privilege of working with a number of our clients on an ongoing basis, so the majority of work I do is a continuation of prior work that we’ve done in partnership with our clients. This means that the projects I work on are typically not a one-off engagement, where we provide an answer to a question and move on. As a partner to our client, we get to follow the client along in their journey and support them across the product life cycle. For one client, this could mean that we support the acquisition of a product and then help them to successfully commercialize the asset thereafter. For another client, this could mean supporting an asset from early clinical development, through the launch phase, and through LCM (Life Cycle Management) and LoE (Loss of Exclusivity). This is very similar to much of the work we do here at Trinity. The majority of Trinity’s growth over the past 20+ years has been attributed to delivering high-quality insights and recommendations to our clients and continuing our partnership with subsequent research thereafter.
What is a typical day like for you? What are some common tasks you perform?
I spend most of my day meeting with our clients: discussing the issues they are facing or reviewing findings from our work; our project teams- discussing our ongoing project work and providing guidance to shape the recommendations we make to our clients; and internal groups- working on various initiatives related to Trinity’s operations. One of the things I have been impressed with at Trinity is that the collaborative nature of our day-to-day has continued as I progressed to the leadership level. As a Principal, I focus on not only growing our relationships with clients, but also on developing our internal teams to be successful and grow along with our clients; a large part of my day-to-day is working to help achieve that vision.
What training, classes, experience, or skills development would you recommend to someone who wishes to enter your practice area?
The most important thing we look for at Trinity are people who are passionate about the life sciences. In my time at Trinity, I have seen new hires join with backgrounds ranging from Biology majors to Economics majors to Art History majors and be successful at Trinity. So, there is not one path for someone who wants to work in Life Sciences Consulting. What matters most is the ability to think critically, problem solve, and be intellectually curious.
That said, I feel my science background (whether it be the classes I took or the lab experience while researching for my senior thesis) helped me to more quickly understand some of the work we do. Some schools offer Consulting clubs, which can help apply your academic learnings to real-world problems that you may face in a project setting.
How did you end up in your practice area? Did you actively pursue it, or were you assigned to a client in this practice area?
I’ve been working in Strategic Advisory since I joined Trinity ten years ago. Though, if I dive into the “question behind the question” (sorry, I had to throw in at least one good Consulting phrase), over time, I found myself more inclined toward the types of projects I work on now. Right now, there’s a lot of focus and investment in the industry in Rare Diseases. It’s fantastic to work with companies who are willing to invest in new therapies for ultra-rare disease, which in turn provides care to patients who may not have received it in the past. Secondly, I have always been drawn to working in early asset and portfolio strategy and Trinity has provided me with the opportunity to pursue this interest.
Do you feel that your firm provides you enough flexibility or opportunities to explore other practice areas?
One of the things I have really valued of my time at Trinity is the breadth of experience I’ve obtained. An early priority for our new hires is to expose them to a diverse project mix, so, as they continue to progress in their career path, they are able to leverage those learnings from prior projects as they take on more responsibility. The way we have focused on developing our Centers of Excellence (COEs) at Trinity also provides individuals with an opportunity to further specialize over time, if they choose to do so. This could mean focusing on Patient Centricity (i.e., how do we put patients at the forefront of our strategy and thinking) to Health Economics and Outcomes Research (HEOR) (i.e., how do we define, articulate, and support the value that new therapies bring to the broader HCP, patient, and payer communities).
What do you like best about your practice area?
What I like most about the area I work in is the diversity of project experiences/questions I get to tackle on an ongoing basis. I feel like each day and each project presents unique topic or point of discussion, and that ‘always learning’ mentality is something that has always appealed to me. Additionally, I appreciated the fact that work on multiple projects at any given time. I never wanted my day-to-day to feel monotonous or stale, so it has been re-energizing for me to be able to switch back and forth between multiple projects to keep things fresh and challenging. The variety of projects, questions and topics has been a major reason why I have stayed in consulting for so long and not transitioned into industry. The breadth of experience I’ve obtained in terms of therapeutic areas, project types, client types, and business questions is something that would be difficult to replicate in another environment.
How is your firm innovating in your practice area? What are the biggest opportunities for innovation? How have your firm’s capabilities evolved since you joined the firm?
Trinity’s goal is to be able to support our clients’ commercial strategy across the company’s (and/or product) lifecycle. This ambition has driven us to build out Centers of Excellence (or CoEs) in various new areas that we believe allow Trinity to be a better partner to our clients and support them in new, impactful ways. Over the past ten years, we’ve built out a deep expertise in Primary Market Research, Real World Evidence, Health Economics and Outcomes Research, and Commercial Analytics, just to name a few. And this brings me to where I think a lot of the exciting work we’re doing at Trinity is happening - it’s how we bring these capabilities together to provide the BEST recommendations to our clients, as while having expertise in any one of these areas is valuable, when they come and work together is where we get the best outcome.