The culture of ABS plays a fundamental role in our work environment and the outcomes for our clients. It is a set of guidelines and principles that guide our behaviors.
Little will work without the right people. You can design and optimize processes. People make these processes work. This blog describes how we find the right people at ABS. We want people who can share in our mission of doing meaningful work that speeds and enables high quality biomedical research.
Each process is an experiment. Based upon current knowledge, we construct a hypothesis as to what we think will produce a particular outcome. Then, we run the process and evaluate if it produced the specified outcome. Based upon various iterations, we settle upon the most effective process that will produce the desired result. For ABS, the desired result is most often an elimination of errors and acceleration of operations. This methodology is based upon real, preferably quantitative data.
Many of us have the feeling that we can’t afford to make a mistake; and, for many of us, it is true. In pre-clinical research no one is going to die because we make an error, but our career or business could be seriously damaged by mistakes. For ABS, if a large cell culture order for a high-throughput screen is late because of a contamination, then the screen is delayed, and timelines are missed. If patient samples in storage are lost because a freezer failed, there may be no replacement. If a fresh blood sample from a cancer patient doesn’t arrive on time, it may be useless, etc. These kinds of mistakes are bad for everyone.
Day One is a bit of an over-simplification. As I remember it nearly 30 years ago, there wasn’t really a clear day one. The transition to starting ABS was more gradual. While working on Seroquel® at ICI Americas, I leased a small laboratory at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy to use at night to make membrane preparations. I and two technicians would drive up to Philadelphia after working all day and then sacrifice 100 rats that were delivered that day and begin homogenizing and centrifuging rat brain membrane preparations well into the night. I had purchased one centrifuge and there were various other centrifuges on two separate floors that we could access by running up and down flights of stairs so that the membranes were quickly processed. This was a low-cost test of the feasibility of the idea for the business and good exercise.
Why would anyone want to start a biotech or any company? The answers to this question are as varied as are personalities. If you choose this path, your answers will be different from mine. Your answers will determine the type of company that you wish to start.
In 1990, I founded ABS Inc. and continue to own and run ABS along with an excellent team. Either out of curiosity, an entrepreneurial itch, or a desire to pursue a passionate scientific goal, many scientists ask me how I did it and how they might do it. These blog postings will be an attempt to answer those questions. This blog will also introduce ABS to you as a company striving to create value for the scientific community. It will provide a close hand look at how we operate and continue to evolve. It is my hope that you will learn from our mistakes and choices or at least find the journey interesting.