Careers in Discovery is your window into the world of Pharma & Biotech. Featuring interviews each week with leaders in Drug Discovery and R&D, you'll learn about the careers of these influential figures, the work they are doing, how they got to where they are and what advice they'd give their younger selves.
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"There's no-one talented enough to do the whole thing themselves. This is a team game, and you have to ask for help along the way."
Steve Gardner, CEO & founder of RowAnalytics, joined us on the latest episode of Careers in Discovery. After meeting his co-founder by answering a question posted on LinkedIn, Steve set about applying a powerful algorithm used to tackle a huge range of real-world problems to the challenges of healthcare.
In this insightful interview, Steve talked about:
💥 The state of AI in drug discovery
💥 Why diversity is so important to success when building a company
💥 The future of personalised medicine, and what it means for the Pharmaceutical industry
💥 His learns and insights from his NINE start up companies
"If you want to become a specialist, be a specialist in a biological question rather than a technology. The biology becomes obsolete much more slowly than the technology does."
Jonny Wray is Head of Discovery Informatics at e-therapeutics, a company whose novel in silico platform is making great strides in treating complex biological conditions. After a career at the frontier of science and technology, Jonny joined us to discuss:
🌟 Complex systems biology and the new understanding of disease behaviour it enables
🌟 How computational approaches are transforming drug discovery
🌟 Why software development practices are so important in bioinformatics
🌟 Finding a question you care passionately about answering
"The companies that tend to be the most successful are the ones that leave their scientists alone and allow them to innovate.".
"Just because you've spent five or ten years in academia, it doesn't mean people will pay attention. You have to prove your value."
These are two of many fascinating insights from Bill Haynes, VP & Site Head at the Novo Nordisk Research Centre Oxford. Bill joined us on the latest episode of Careers in Discovery to discuss his distinguished academic career, leading to a full professorship at the University of Iowa, his move into industry with Novartis and then AstraZeneca, and the work he's doing at Novo Nordisk.
Among other things, we delved into:
🌱 How photosynthesis sparked a career in science and drug discovery
🌱 The lessons Bill learned from big Pharma
🌱 What he looks for when hiring scientists from academia
🌱 The role of genetics in decreasing waste in the Pharmaceutical industry
🌱 Thinking big and taking risks
"Successful people like to talk about their mistakes more than their successes, because that's where you learn."
Satnam Surae is the Chief Product Officer at Aigenpulse, an innovative technology business whose platform enables Life Sciences companies to structure, connect and augment their data.
Satnam shares with us what he's learned from a career at the cutting edge of Life Sciences technology, including:
💎 His experiences as the first employee at a start-up technology company
💎 Why bioinformaticians should learn to be more like software engineers
💎 The importance of data literacy to modern scientists
"You expect the technology to work - it'll cost more and take longer than you think, but it will usually work - but having good management in place is what makes the difference in the success of early stage companies."
Adam Stoten is the Chief Operating Officer of Oxford University Innovation, one of the world's leading technology transfer groups with over 160 successful spinouts under their belts.
Trained as a biologist and immunologist, Adam tells us about his career spanning academic research, the commercial end of Pharma & Biotech and his current position working with companies in industries as diverse as quantum computing and digital entertainment - whilst maintaining a healthy interest in drug discovery.
Adam shares what he's learned along the way, including:
💎 Why finding the right managers is critical to career success
💎 How an understanding of "life on the other side" is invaluable to those in tech transfer and VC
💎 The cultural differences between academia and industry
💎 Engineering serendipity in your career
"For me, drug hunting is almost the perfect job. I like chemistry, using it to interact with biological systems is really challenging, and ultimately you're trying to make something that benefits patients, which is incredibly worthwhile."
This is what drives Phil Jones, Chief Scientific Officer at drug discovery CRO BioAscent, to keep pushing for good science done by good people. We sat down with Phil recently to talk about his career and what he's learned along the way.
🔬 The importance of becoming an expert in your field
🔬 Why having good people around you is vital
🔬 How the role of the chemist is changing, and what's remained the same
🔬 The crucial role of networking and interacting with different kinds of people to expand your knowledge
"It's a little like a Formula One car - it's extremely fast, it's very agile, but you've only just got enough fuel to finish the race."
David Cook is the Chief Scientific Officer of Blueberry Therapeutics, a dermatology company using nanotechnology to treat several common conditions.
We talked about how his childhood and particularly his mother nurtured his interest in science, the differences between academia and industry, his experiences at the forefront of the early days of bioinformatics and Blueberry's journey from start-up to clinical stage Biotech.
He also shared with us the lessons he's learned along the way, and why keeping your eyes open in your career is essential.
"It's hard to find what you're good at and passionate about, unless you put in the work."
We sat down recently with Ajan Reginald, CEO of Celixir, an innovative biotech company who are reversing pathology of currently untreatable conditions through their cell and gene therapy technologies.
From his early days as a dentist through to management consulting, business development and running the Emerging Technologies group for one of the world's leading Pharmaceutical companies, Ajan developed the skills and knowledge which led to his co-founding Celixir with the Nobel Prize winner, Professor Sir Martin Evans.
Ajan shares his insights on operating in the "new new", where there's no roadmap, the evolution of his role as CEO, making sure you're asking the right questions and why you need to do the work to find your passion.
Kristen Albright, Vice President of Business Development & Translational Research at vaccines and immunotherapy company Prokarium, has had a varied career, spanning big Pharma, Biotech, Venture Capital, and working with startups in developing countries.
She spoke with us recently about:
🗣 Knowing when it's time to leave and do something new
🗣 The rise of social responsibility in Pharma and Biotech
🗣 Taking risks and volunteering for things
🗣 The reality of life in venture capital
Check out the episode to hear her thoughts on these topics and more.
"With the right attitude, there's no reason you can't adapt and become an expert in anything."
Dave Leese, VP of Chemistry at Concept Life Sciences joined us on the latest episode of Careers in Discovery, in which we discuss:
🔬 how an early interest in the books of PD James sparked a life-long interest in science, and ultimately a career at the cutting edge of drug discovery chemistry
🔬 the relationship between skills learned as a scientist and broader business skills
🔬 the importance of continuous personal and professional development
🔬 being proactive about the direction your career takes
Along with his work at Concept Life Sciences, Dave is heavily involved with SCI, an organisation which promotes links between science and industry for the benefit of society, giving him a unique view on the transition between academia and the commercial world.
Enjoy the show!
Grahame McKenzie is the Chief Scientific Officer of PhoreMost, an innovative Cambridge biotech with a mission to "drug the undruggable" using their proprietary protein interference platform.
Grahame joined us to talk about his work and career, including:
✴ Breaking out of the existing druggable space and explore new frontiers
✴ Creating a drug discovery "playbook" for future generations
✴ The importance of developing breadth as well as depth in your skillset
In his own words, Grahame has a deep love of science but his real passion is using it to develop drugs that have a direct impact on patients. Find out more in this week's episode.
Jon Green left school with no qualifications and little idea of what his future held - now, he's the VP & Site General Manager of AstraZeneca's Granta Park site and Chairman of the biotech networking body One Nucleus.
Looking back on an illustrious career in drug discovery, he shares with us what he's learnt from his unconventional path, including the key role that passion for what you do plays, the real life impact of working in drug discovery and development and why "walking the floor" is his modus operandi.
Hear Jon's fascinating story on this episode of Careers in Discovery.
Benedict Cross, Head of Functional Genomic Screening at Horizon Discovery, joins us this time.
Join us as we discuss, among many other things:
❇ Functional Genomics and the impact of CRISPR on drug discovery
❇ Why knowing what NOT to do can be the most important thing you learn
❇ How the outcry over GMO kick-started Benedict's career in science
❇ Using your network
Professor Tom Moody, VP of Technology Development & Commercialisation at Almac Group joins us this week, and provides a fascinating insight into a career at the cutting edge of chemistry.
Doing the impossible as part of your job
How technology is changing the role of the scientist
The importance of continued learning
The differences between academia and industry, and what you need to make the transition
This week we're joined by Matt Higgins, CEO of Blue Ridge Bioinformatics, a specialist bioinformatics service provider to Pharma & Biotech companies.
We covered a lot of ground, including:
💡 The impact of bioinformatics in drug discovery
💡 Catching the entrepreneurship bug
💡 Stepping out of your comfort zone
💡 The challenges of proving your credibility as a young founder
"Things that excite me a lot and scare me a little are definitely worth doing."
We're joined in this episode by Zuzanna Brzosko, CEO of Sixfold Bioscience, an exciting early stage company developing novel drug delivery technologies for Cell & Gene Therapy.
Zuzanna shares with us what she's learned in her first year as a CEO, the importance of diversity of background but convergence in direction when building a team, and how crucial it is to take action.
We're joined by Ted Fjallman, CEO of Prokarium, a vaccines and immunotherapy company with some fascinating targets.
Ted shares with us his journey from young LEGO builder to the European Space Agency and eventually drug development, the importance of following your passion, his view on the unspoken war in microbial resistance and how science will survive AI.