Should I be a bio-entrepreneur? Some considerations

by Jia Jun Tan Amidst the clicking of pipettes and spinning of centrifuges, 4 years have passed. After spending the better part of it on my PhD project, I came to a sobering realization that I had no idea what I wanted to do after obtaining the doctorate degree. What was the next step? Should I continue the pursuit of knowledge? My fellow travellers on this arduous journey offered several suggestions. “Be a postdoctoral research fellow and continue advancing the frontiers of knowledge,” one replied. Incidentally, she was the only one among us who genuinely enjoyed being in the laboratory. “Join the dark side, otherwise known as industry,’ another suggested.” He had dreams of earning enough so that he could retire by forty. “How about starting your own company?” The most entrepreneurial one among us quipped. He also happened to spend the least time in the laboratory. While I wasn’t sure if my friend’s entrepreneurial castles in the air were firmly constructed

The Art of Effective Networking – For Scientists

by Chengxun Su For most scientists who are drawn to the pursuit of scientific questions, networking may not come naturally. If spending years in the laboratory with only machines and fellow socially awkward humans for company has left you with non-existent social skills, you may find networking a daunting task. “Why network?” you may ask. While a solitary existence performing experiments in the laboratory and publishing in scientific journals may be your idea of the good life, a successful career in science requires you to socialize; both with scientists and non-scientists. Unlike graduate school, where the selection criteria for the best and brightest are clear, a successful career path is rarely as straightforward. Career paths nowadays resemble a web rather than a ladder. Instead of climbing a straight ladder step by step, having the vision to connect with different people, seeking new opportunities and embracing them is oftentimes more crucial in advancing one’s career.

The importance of patents to biotech start-ups

This is the second article of a two-part series on intellectual property for biotech start-ups. Read the first article here. Why do patents matter to biotech start-ups? Early-stage biotech companies are often founded based on the exciting results of pre-clinical research relating to a new product or treatment. However, due to the need for refinement/development, as well as the extensive work required to demonstrate safety and efficacy in order to obtain regulatory approval, early-stage biotech companies are often a long way away from bringing a new drug or therapy to market. Unlike in many industries where a new company will have a product/service that can be readily commercialised to generate revenue, early stage biotech companies often find that they have a concept for a new product/treatment that could ultimately generate billions of dollars in sales annually, but have no obvious way to commercialise or finance the technology in the short-term. This problem…

Hummingbird Bioscience: an agile start-up takes to the skies

Hummingbird Bioscience is a highly innovative biotech company founded in 2014 to leverage the power of systems biology so as to transform oncology drug discovery and development. Harnessing its proprietary rational antibody discovery platform and supported by deep experience in integrative genomics as well as proteomics strategies, Hummingbird develops precision therapeutic antibodies for patients with the highest unmet need. With facilities in Singapore and South San Francisco, the company has built a pipeline of oncology and immuno-oncology drug candidates, and will start clinical trials at the end of 2019. Biotech Connection Singapore spoke to Dr. Piers Ingram (PI), co-founder and CEO of Hummingbird Bioscience to find out how the start-up spreads its wings and flies. The bee hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae) is the smallest bird in the world. Why did you name yourselves after a small bird? PI: Firstly, it is a unique name for an agile and nimble company. The…

An exclusive interview with Esco – from cleanrooms to containment systems

Esco Group is a Singapore-based life science company with a diversified portfolio and sales in over 100 countries. As a leading manufacturer of laboratory and biopharma equipment, as well as IVF medical devices, Esco offers tailored solutions that fit the needs of laboratories. Esco Group provides equipment and services to support cutting-edge research as well as commercial manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals in the Life Sciences, Medical and Healthcare divisions. In an exclusive interview with Esco, Biotech Connection Singapore spoke to Mr. Xiangliang Lin (XL Lin), Founder & CEO of Esco Aster, an independent Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) in the Esco Group of companies.What is the mission which drives Esco and its spin-offs? XL Lin: Regardless of what we do, the intrinsic mission of Esco is to invent, discover and commercialize enabling technologies to make human lives healthier and safer. For example, our biological safety cabinets (BSCs) and…

Insight to InvitroCue’s Success – from Invention to IPO

On Jan 27 2016, local biotech company InvitroCue made its debut on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX: IVQ) - just four years after its founding. The company, a spin-off from A*STAR, just announced that it had raised an AUD 3.15 Million (SGD3.17 Million) on the ASX through a reverse takeover. In an exclusive one-on-one interview with Biotech Connection Singapore (BCS), the InvitroCue team (co-founders Dr Steven Fang, Prof Hanry Yu, and two of the first pioneering members, Dr. Abhishek Ananthanarayanan and Dr. Shuoyu Xu) shared their experience and appeal as a success formula for entrepreneurs in the local startup scene. BCS: Can you share with us what are the critical drivers underlying InvitroCue's success? InvitroCue: We focus on four components essential to every company's success – technology, market strategy, business model and leaders. Technology: We focus on two core technology developments – cell-based assay model and digital pathology. The beauty of our…