It Takes a Village

All of the scientific discoveries I have been part of involved teams constantly bouncing ideas off each other, sometimes arguing, occasionally agreeing, only to prove ourselves wrong or suggest a completely new direction later—but always advancing forward step by step, together. This is how science happens.

When Remedy Plan first opened our lab, it was a small windowless room. For the better part of a year I worked there by myself, doing the early genetic engineering required to build, test, and use our drug testing technology. Discussions with our scientific or business advisors were held mostly by phone. At times, I missed working in a bustling lab full of people working on many different projects.

One of the best things that has happened in the last few months is that we have dramatically expanded the community around Remedy Plan. Most importantly, we added a full time team member, Dennise (more about Dennise here), who has been a spectacular addition to the team. While taking the lead on our research program, she also adds her voice to our science and business strategies. She provides invaluable feedback, often pushing back on my assumptions and designing new ways to to test our hypotheses.

In addition to bringing Dennise on board, we have dramatically expanded the circle of scientists and biotech experts with which we collaborate. In Boston, we worked with a phenomenal group of scientists at Harvard Medical School’s drug screening facility to test more than 35,000 drugs (many thanks to Jen, Gary, Dave, Katrina, Richard, Rachel, and Stewart, and Jen). This team helped us work through our early assay work, which can be a frustrating stage in the screening process (see our last post on one of the issues we faced when working with robots!).

Without the help of the brilliant Harvard ICCB-L group, we might still be pounding our heads against this step (this is only a metaphor, Jen. I promise I wasn’t banging my head on any of the robots). We also started a contract with two talented medicinal chemists to prepare for in vitro and animal testing of our drug compounds (shout out to Matt and Dave).

On the business side, our admission into the Maryland Venture Mentor Program has connected us with three knowledgeable, local biotech leaders to mentor our company as we develop and execute our business plan (thanks to Sol, Chris, and Matthew for all the great advice). And even closer to home (or closer to the lab), the incubator we are a part of has expanded, bringing new companies into the Rockville facilities where our lab is based. Along with the existing neighborly labs in the building, we share equipment, reagents, and occasionally work together.

This is all to say that we’ve come a long way from working alone in a small windowless room! In fact, our lab itself has expanded into a neighboring space; we now work in TWO small and windowless rooms! More importantly, we are part of a growing community of scientists and businesspeople dedicated to scientific advancement. Our research program has not only accelerated, it’s also a lot more fun.