1.      How did you come to be in the biopharma industry?

I stumbled into the B2B Conference industry having moved to London looking for a career in Marketing. I interviewed at a small Conference company south of the river, but rather than accept a role in their Marketing team I was fascinated by the role of Conference Manager in their Defence division. After 3 years of managing their division I moved companies, and at the same time, moved sectors into Lifesciences. The sector fascinates me, the science, the research, the dynamics at play between the stakeholders. It’s where I’ve stayed for close to 10 years, and I don’t see myself in any other sector.

2.      What is your biggest work-related achievement to date?

Choosing to start up my own business is my biggest achievement to date. In my previous role as General Manager of Lifesciences at Terrapinn I’d built up a portfolio of events from £40,000 net profit to close to £1m in a little under 3 years, and helped maintain that level of profit for the duration of my time there. The division was the most profitable across the entire business, so deciding to leave what was an extremely lucrative and stable role was a big decision. But I felt it was time to back myself and use the experience I’ve gained over the last 12 years to do something that I passionately believe in.

3.      What activity do you spend most of your working day doing?

As a start up there is not one thing I spend most of my day doing, but between my co-Founder, and myself we are constantly engaging with new stakeholders, new profiles and spending a lot of time getting face time with the people and organisations that we see as invaluable members and partners of our community. In an already congested market, its important we’re building relationships right from the start. We’re also busy developing the exclusive executive insight that drives our community blog and developing the events that we see as integral to our unique offering.

4.      Where does your current role add the greatest value?

As my market background is in Lifesciences I’m able to bring strong sector knowledge to the role, in identifying market trends, core stakeholder profiles and awareness of the key dynamics and relationships within the sector. Additionally, I know what is required to seed, develop and grow executive level communities and events. So combining my scientific and strategic knowledge in my role is invaluable.

5.      Where do you see the greatest opportunity in the biotechnology / biopharma market?

I’m somewhat biased by my own personal experience, but I see the battle with antibiotic resistance as a major opportunity to ensuring common infections are 100% treatable. My Mother died of Septicaemia in 2010, with as little as 6 hours between her diagnosis and her death, so meeting the challenge of creating a cost-effective, accurate, rapid and easy-to-use test for bacterial infections is key to improving survival rates. It’s therefore great to see that the 2014 Longitude Prize is challenging the scientific community to solve this problem once and for all.

6.      Where do you see the greatest challenges?

Its certainly nothing new, but for me the greatest challenge remains around the funding of the hundreds, if not thousands of potentially life-saving drugs that are sitting in labs right now, untested, due to the financial risk being too high. I watched a great TED talk recently from Roger Stein, whose a Senior Lecturer in Finance at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, who along with colleagues at MIT have come up with a financial model that could move hundreds of drugs into the testing pipeline. Roger is not a scientist, but he is an expert in risk mitigation and financial engineering, and his view points on commercialising research through securitisation techniques offers a unique perspective. You can watch it for yourself here

7.      What is the wisest piece of advice you have received from a mentor?

Its not a piece of advice that’s been given to me personally, but for me it’s one that always sticks in my mind. Richard Branson once said “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”

8.      Knowing what you know now, what advice would you pass on to a younger version of yourself just starting out in the industry?

Develop your networks and your business relationships as early and as frequently as you can.

9.      If you could have invented or discovered one thing in this industry, what would you like that to have been?

A drug that permanent protects against sunburn. With a fair complexion sunburn tends to ruin a lot of my holidays.

10.    If you could wave a magic wand over the industry, what would you change and why?

The length of time required to move a drug from discovery to market, massively reducing the prohibitive nature of drug pricing, reimbursement and access to care.

11.    What’s the one interesting fact about you that no one would suspect?

I used to play Australian Rules Football in the UK’s London League for the Putney Magpies.

12.    What book(s) are you currently reading?

For business purposes I’m just finishing off The Lean Start-Up by Eric Ries. For some escapism I’m reading the second book in the trilogy of The Passage, called The Twelve by Justin Cronin.

13.    At which store would you like to max-out your credit card?

It’s not technically a store, but the Western Oriental website and their Pangkor Laut resort in Malaysia. I could see myself easily hitting my limit booking a holiday there.

14.    What are three things still left on your bucket list?

At the moment I can’t look beyond building, growing and exiting a successful business.

15.    Which three scientific pioneers (dead or alive) would you like to have over for dinner?

Nikola Tesla, Charles Darwin and George Church.