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Career Story: Founder Of A Biotech Start-Up

Founder Of A Biotech Start-Up

Job Title: President And Chief Technical Officer Of A Small R&D Biotech Company

Type of Company: The mission of my company is to develop new medical devices such as artificial arteries, wound dressings or antibacterial sutures by using either cutting-edge technology or by modifying existing devices.

Education: BS, Biochemistry, UMass-Dartmouth

Previous Experience: After graduating from college, I worked in a basic research laboratory at a major Boston teaching hospital. While there, I began to work with various small companies and eventually helped to start a biotech research & development company. Not too long after, my wife and I started our own.

Job Tasks: My job is to oversee all of the operations of my company. But my duties can be broken down into 2 main areas: the business side and the science side.

On the business side, I'm responsible for bringing in the money to fund our research. I do this mostly by applying for grants and contracts, both to the federal government and private organizations. This takes lots of time and energy, and only 2 out of 10 applications will ever get funded, which makes the writing a challenge. Once we do get the grants, though, I'm responsible for doling them out and for using them to stake our operations: everything from paying our employees to paying our bills.

On the science side, my job is to develop new technologies that will benefit people who have diseases of the pancreas or heart. Our research is aimed at developing new devices that improve a patient's quality of life. Once we come up with an idea and determine the research that we'll have to perform, we do what are known as "proof-of-concept" studies. The data from these is then employed to write a contract or grant. And the money-raising cycle starts once more.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is developing new materials and devices that may one day see generalized use. It's a rewarding feeling to know a thing we worked on here could save lives.

The worst part of my job is securing the funds we need to carry out research. This takes a lot of time and effort which I would rather be devoting to lab work.

Job Tips: My first piece of advice would be: make sure you want to be in the field. You can do this (or something very like it) with far less anxiety by working in a lab or shadowing a person in the field.

The second piece of advice would be to take as many business courses as possible. This will give you a huge advantage when you're looking at different aspects of the science field (e.g. management vs. working at the bench top).

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