Newswise — When Jeffrey A. Duchemin arrived as Chief Executive Officer at Holliston, MA-based Harvard Bioscience in August, it represented more than just a new job for the veteran life sciences executive. In an era of rapid transformation within the field, it put Duchemin at the helm of a leading source of innovation.
Duchemin is eminently qualified for the challenges facing a 21st-century life science company. He spent 16 years with Becton Dickinson (BD) in progressive sales, marketing and executive leadership positions across BD’s three business segments (BD Medical Systems, BD Diagnostic Systems and BD Biosciences). In October 2012, BD Biosciences’ Discovery Labware was acquired by Corning Life Sciences, where Duchemin served as Global Business Director until joining Harvard Bioscience. The depth of his experience spans across a broad range of life science research and products, and has resulted in growth on a global basis.
These are significant times for life science companies in the U.S. and globally. Research from the University of Michigan Health System shows that the U.S. share of the global biomedical R&D business declined to 45 percent—from 51 percent—between 2007 and 2012. Europe stayed steady at 29 percent, but Asia grew from 18 percent to 24 percent. R&D spending in the U.S. dropped from $131 billion to $119 billion, when adjusted for inflation, from 2007 to 2012, while Japan increased spending by $9 billion and China by $6.4 billion. In his new role at Harvard Bioscience, Duchemin is well placed to take advantage of the burgeoning R&D activity across Asia, while at the same time giving U.S. and European companies the tools they need to stay competitive globally.
Mirroring the transformation of the field as a whole, Harvard Bioscience recently underwent a transformation of its own: its wholly owned subsidiary, Harvard Apparatus Regenerative Technology, was spun off as a separate company. The spinoff was driven by HART’s success in manufacturing tissue-engineered tracheas that have been transplanted into patients in a series of high-profile surgeries. When the spinoff went through, Duchemin assumed the role of President in addition to CEO.
That spinoff left Harvard Bioscience to continue as a “pure-play” global developer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of tools to advance life science research and regenerative medicine. Currently, Harvard Bioscience products are sold to thousands of researchers in over 100 countries, primarily through its various catalogs, its website, via its sales force and through brand name distributors including GE Healthcare, Thermo Fischer Scientific and VWR.
Since taking over as CEO, Duchemin has been a whirlwind of activity. He has made key hires to the executive team; made a thorough analysis of the company’s operations; and traveled to many of its subsidiaries to speak with employees and customers around the world. He has also voiced a resolve to strengthen the company’s emphasis on global expansion. He is seeking a truly global footprint for the company, especially in China, which he believes presents a rich opportunity for its services and products. He also sees a need to reinvigorate Harvard Bioscience’s new product development process to meet changing market needs. Duchemin believes the changes he is making will allow Harvard Bioscience to become a more functional organization, focused on increasing growth, expanding in Asia and other emerging markets, building stronger channel capabilities and reinvigorating product development. The initiatives he is implementing are aimed at improving the company’s operational and cost structure, and eliminating redundancies.
Above it all, Duchemin has expressed a desire for Harvard Bioscience to become a world-class life science research company providing solutions to scientists that will lead to drug discovery. Under his leadership, the company is aiming to meet and exceed the demands of life science researchers today and into the future.