Any start of something new can be considered as a challenge. Yet, as the CCEdit Team we have challenged ourselves with more than one thing. This has put us on a mission to enhance the gene-editing technology, translate it to commercial applications and enrich the Slovenian biotech Start-up sector.
Without much precedence in this specific industry, Slovenia is missing an important socio-economic pillar. Biotech Start-ups present an important provider of added value jobs, enabling leadership positions to young generations of researchers and entrepreneurs. They also add on diversity of the domestic industry, which increases its resilience in ever-changing global economy. However, the most important aspect is bringing novel therapies to patients with unmet need or providing safer and/or efficient therapeutic options to existing possibilities. Biotech Start-ups are translational vehicles for excellent research. The Department, under the leadership of Prof Dr Roman Jerala, has proven research excellence many times, opening new chapters in synthetic biology and immunology. We are now opening a new chapter in the national biotech Start-up landscape, by training young Department’s researches and providing examples from the United Kingdom. The CCEdit reflects a biotech Start-up-like image, creating an example for future ventures.
‘Meet Biotech Business’ was the first CCEdit workshop, offered to the Department’s researchers and research students. In total 28 participants addressed topics, via an e-conference, about biotech Start-ups on general. What are the hallmarks of such ventures, how are they created, what is their role in the healthcare economy and the challenges that they face on the path of opportunities. The whole workshop was designed around a case-study, the CCEdit’s technology that we actually try to commercialise. This enabled translation of theoretical concepts to a practice, and an example of this was a decision making process whether to commercialise the technology via out-licensing or starting a Spin-out.
To provide a case-study we invited Charlotte Casebourne, CEO and co-founder of biotech company Theolytics (harnessing viruses to combat cancer), and Board Member of the UK BioIndustry Association. She was able to provide her entrepreneurial perspective, and insights from the process of spinning-out, and building an early-stage biotech. She spoke to the importance of your team and network in overcoming challenges, authentic leadership and decision making in the face of ambiguity.