Plenary session speaker Marisol Quintero shared inspiring thoughts on her professional career and on Academia/industry relationships.
CEO of BiOncoTech Therapeutics, Marisol Quintero runs a biopharmaceutical company based in Spain, and dedicated to the research and development of new treatments in the field of oncology.
- You are CEO of Bioncotech Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of new oncologic treatments. You have an interesting professional career, going from research to technology transfer and then industry, what led you through this path?
I didn’t plan my career in advance, when I was doing my PhD I was dedicated to that task, however once I finished I realized I wanted to “practice” science from a translational point of view. Technology Transfer represents the interphase between academia and industry, and although not everyone that goes into TT will end up in industry, I would say most of them will have the right skills to work in certain industry positions.
- Based on this particular background, how do you think academia/industry dialogue can be improved in order to foster innovation in life sciences?
I think both ends benefit from sharing a common language, and that is why having professionals that understand academia and industry priorities is important. Professionalization of Tech Transfer positions in academia really helps. Now that I have seen the whole picture I also understand the constraints that some academic centres have I will say we need to make sure industry professionals come up with original ideas on how to establish fruitful collaborations.
- How do you see the Life Sciences sector in 10 years ? Which evolutions do you think will take place? What do you wish to see happen?
We are seeing more collaborations between industry and academia, and new models are now being tested. I don’t think there is a model that works best, it probably depends on the circumstances. I think science coming from academia will drive innovation in the life science industry and we will see big achievements in the med-tech discipline. Companies able to identify innovative projects and capable of managing their translation into new products or services will be more successful. I would like to see that academia is a stake holder of the innovation path and as such takes more risks and gets more rewards.
- Who/what inspires you?
I was very lucky to have a great scientist as a mentor. Salvador Moncada has a clear idea on how to translate science into business and was able to inspire me to do what I do now. My motivation has always been the same, to be very close from science and connect it to those able to put into practice.
- What would be your advice to young entrepreneurs in the Life Sciences industry?
Keep trying! Most of the projects that start-ups develop will probably not succeed, however that is not a bad thing, is how it works. I would advice them to dedicate some time to learn about management and finance, and to take advantage from academic collaborations.
- At BioFIT you are one of the Plenary Session’s panelists debating on “Who drives innovation in Life Sciences : academia or industry?”. Why do you think BioFIT participants should attend this session?
It will be a great opportunity to understand how industry and academia would like to work together.
- What are, in your opinion, the 3 words that describe BioFIT ?
“Where innovation meets”
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