Mark Kotter - bit.bio - Part 4

Democratizing Access to Cells & the Evolution of bit.bio | A Financial Journey from Angel Investment to IPO | Building a Tech Bio Platform & Mark’s 10-Year Vision

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Show Notes

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Part 4 of 4. 

My guest for this week’s episode is Mark Kotter, neurosurgeon, stem cell biologist, and CEO and founder of bit.bio. He has also been a professor and researcher at Cambridge for more than 15 years. 

Bit.bio is an award-winning human synthetic biology company providing human cells for research, drug discovery, and cell therapy. The company applies a patented safe harbor gene targeting approach to inducibly express transcription factor combinations that reprogram human-induced pluripotent stem cells into highly defined and mature human cell types. Bit.bio spun out of the University of Cambridge in 2016 and has since raised approximately $200 million from Arch Ventures, Foresight Capital, Milky Way, Charles River Laboratories, National Resilience, Tencent, and Pulau Capital, among others.

Mark is also the co-founder of Meatable, scientific founder and chairman of rejuvenation startup clock.bio, and co-founder and trustee of Myelopathy.org, the first charity dedicated to a common yet often overseen condition causing a slow-motion spinal cord injury. His diverse experience as an academic and serial entrepreneur offers a wealth of insights aspiring scientist founders can draw from. 

Join us this week and hear about:

  • The evolution of bit.bio and their mission to democratize access to human cells and therapies
  • Building a solid infrastructure and hiring the right people
  • The early hurdles of securing funding and managing co-founder dynamics and bit.bio’s financial journey from angel investments to institutional funding 
  • Mark’s plans to take the company public

Please enjoy my conversation with Mark Kotter.

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Mark Kotter is a neurosurgeon, stem cell biologist, and CEO and founder of bit.bio. Bit.bio is an award-winning human synthetic biology company providing human cells for research, drug discovery, and cell therapy. Bit.bio applies a patented safe harbor gene targeting approach to inducibly express transcription factor combinations that reprogram human-induced pluripotent stem cells into highly defined and mature human cell types. Bit.bio spun out of the University of Cambridge in 2016 and has since raised approximately $200 million from Arch Ventures, Foresight Capital, Milky Way, Charles River Laboratories, National Resilience, Tencent, and Pulau Capital, among others.

In addition to bit.bio, Mark is also the co-founder of Meatable, scientific founder and chairman of rejuvenation startup clock.bio, and co-founder and trustee of Myelopathy.org, the first charity dedicated to a common yet often overseen condition causing a slow-motion spinal cord injury. Mark has also been a professor and researcher at Cambridge for more than 15 years. His diverse experience as an academic and serial entrepreneur offers a wealth of insights aspiring scientist founders can draw from.

Episode Transcript

A hand holding a question mark

TBD - TBD

Intro - 00:00:01:

 

Welcome to the Biotech Startups Podcast by Excedr. Join us as we speak with first-time founders, serial entrepreneurs, and experienced investors about the challenges and triumphs of running a biotech startup from pre-seed to IPO with your host, Jon Chee. In our last episode, we spoke with Mark kotter about his transition from academia to founding BitBio and the challenges and breakthroughs he faced transitioning into entrepreneurship, as well as the pivotal collaboration with the Stem Cell Institute and its impact on BitBio. We also touched on the contrasting demands of academia and entrepreneurship and the impact of bridging scientific discovery with entrepreneurial action in the life sciences industry. If you missed it, be sure to go back and give part three a listen. In part four, we talk with Mark about the evolution of BitBio. Mark shares the early hurdles of securing funding and managing co-founder dynamics. And details BitBio's mission to democratize access to human cells and therapies. We'll also cover BitBio's financial journey from angel investments to institutional funding and Mark's plans to take the company public.

 

Mark - 00:01:24:

 

The tagline was, human cells made easy. The thing that's at the core of our ambitions is really democratizing access to human cells and cell therapies. And we think that's... This will enable. A new generation of cures, whether it's self-therapies as a new paradigm, which can be incredibly effective, as we've seen in the cancer case, the whole dream of regenerative medicine, of course. But then, on the other hand, closing that translation gap, which is so important. So our biological knowledge, the world's biological knowledge, is exponentially increasing. The translation is getting harder and harder. It's like inverse Morse law comes to translation. And at the core of that is that mismatch. Of species on one hand, but also disease. And what that means in practical terms, we spent, I think now more than 2 billion to get a drug into the clinic, including the field attempts. And so if we just had a little bit of an effect, let's say we double the chances of success, you could probably shave off on average a billion for a successful drug. Our sense is that because it's exactly the thing that you have in a dish, your ability to translate that into the clinic will be much higher. And that means you're really disrupting and finding a solution to bridge that translation gap. There are other elements that are important. Reproducibility. I mean, there are some suggestions out there that 60% of the research papers published can't be reproduced. Now cynics say, you know, what has more utility, a piece of toilet paper or a piece of research that can't be reproduced? And that's very cynical.

 

Jon - 00:03:27:

 

Yeah.

  

Mark - 00:03:28:

There's some truth in it, though. And what we all need to be concerned about is making sure that our results are reproducible. Now, one of the things that we found, this new paradigm that we are using, you have, and we're going back to that word, deterministic control over self-fade. So BitBio is able to create batches of cells that are essentially the same over time. So there's no drift. That means customers of ours do a screening campaign, let's say, with the neurons at the beginning of the year, and they do another one at the end of the year, and they don't have to change the parameters. So there is a solution for reproducibility in biology. We're just not used to it. We're not applying the same rigors that rigor that other scientists have applied. And what we need to do is think about how we standardize in biology. I'm not saying that our cells are the be and end of everything, but just imagine you had your own model. And you throw in as a control, a cell that always behaves the same. Suddenly you can compare. Suddenly there's a reference. And you can interpret your work in the context of the work of your peers. And the interesting thing about the standard is that it doesn't need to be completely right. So inches or centimeters, we can have a debate what's right. It doesn't really matter. The only fact that matters is an inch on my side is the same length as an inch on your side. A millimeter here is the same length as it is on your end. So biology hasn't thought about this or didn't have a solution for this. And I feel that that transition into synthetic biology, which creates that rigor, which enables that engineering of biology, would be foundationally and very impactful in addition to the AI that everyone talks about. But there's some simple things that we need to do. Well, it's very hard, actually, but simple concepts. We need to standardize. And that together with the maths, which is. In the case of. Biology, and malware is really going to take us to the next level. 

 

Jon - 00:05:55:

 

That's amazing. And correct me if I'm wrong, but as you embarked on the founding of BitBio and starting to build your early team, when you were landscaping the market, I kind of see it fall into two buckets where it's like... The market doesn't even exist and we're blazing a new path, or there is an existing market that's just doing a really poor job and we are going to really step up whatever the incumbent may be doing. It sounds like it's a bit more of the former where BitBio said, this market doesn't exist, but we are going to define it. Would you, I guess, agree with that?

 

Mark - 00:06:30:

 

Yeah. I think on the research grade sales, that is the case. There are some companies out there have a small market presence that generate human cells from pluripotent stem cells. But mostly if you look across the industry, big pharma will have their own stem cell groups. And they will cook their own recipe. And they'll be more or less successful, but the job depends on doing what they do. So when you come up with a totally disruptive product, which is, it behaves like a standard. Then you get two reactions. Some think, oh gosh, thank God we've got something. It makes our life very easy. But mostly, there's huge skepticism. We know that this is difficult. We know that there's variability. And you say, well, try it out. And it's hard. So breaking into those. And then there is other mechanisms at play where people that are doing stem cell work in big pharma potentially feel, well, is that endangering my job? So what we found is that often when they realize that now they can do 10 times as much, because they don't have to worry about how to get the cell type, they can now work on the assay. Actually, their efficiency increases up and their standing in the organization goes up as well. But it often takes a long time for that penny to drop. So these are the natural barriers if you create a new product. And that's why it's hard. Adoption is hard. Penetration is hard. And hopefully over time, it gets easier. And certainly that's what we're seeing as well. People know us and therefore it gets easier.

 

 

Jon - 00:08:14:

 

Absolutely. You need to find your early adopters. And then you kind of like go up the curve where it starts becoming more normal and more accepted. And then eventually you get to the other end of the normal curve where there's the true skeptics. As a founder of a company, I'm going to imagine these are big obstacles that you're tackling every day. And you're like trying to figure out what wall do I need to run through today to kind of get this across the line? And I know BitBio, one, you have exactly what you're talking about. The cells in which, you know, we can continue on this example, you know, to kind of convince big pharma, just like, Hey, this is actually will make your job far easier and you'll be able to do far better work. But I know you're also doing therapeutic pipeline development and also, you know, you do partnerships as well. Can you talk about these kind of business initiatives at BitBio and how you think about each?

 

Mark - 00:09:03:

 

So I think that we best describe as a tech bio platform. So it's really data at the core, which is this discovery engine together with converting that data into physical reality. Information transitions to sell identities using this OptoX technology. So our special knowledge and skill is creating new cell types from scratch and being able to manufacture them at scale. So then how do you use that? So the lowest barrier, of course, is research-grade products. And that allowed us to build quality systems, ways of thinking about how you freeze cells, cryopreservation, how you store cells, how you reactivate cells, really the process of productization. And with every cell, we're learning more. So every cell provides more depth and insight. And then that then also can be applied to cell therapies where it's all about even more rigorous engineering, so GMP engineering. And the data packages are not functional data packages that you need to build. You need to build patient data packages. But if you zoom out, we're a tech bioplatform that can generate any human cell type. So in other words, biotech speak, you could say we are a new modality platform. And that means a lot of upfront investment to build it. It's gone into the company. We've built it. The science is de-risked. And then you are in that weird stage where you are relatively late stage. Technology is de-risked. But on the therapeutic development side, you're pretty early. So we're not that far away. We've got about 18, 20 months until we can think about our CTA, which is the IND equivalent. But what typically happens with these new modality platforms is that then they pivot into a licensing model. And this is where we are as well. Because we are good at creating new things from scratch and others are good in taking existing things into the clinic. So when you look at Bitbuyer right now, it's really a new modality platform that has an endless repertoire of drugs. Cells that is probably the leader in this field. And that now wants to enable the industry. Now, there's one other consideration which is important. In most cases, the IPM modality is diffused. And what I mean by that is you have an antibody for a target, and you can't really prevent someone else creating another antibody against the same or a similar target. In this world of transcription factor programming, that is different. VIP is discrete. You can capture the core set of transcription factors that defines a cell type, and if you patent it, it belongs to you. Think about Yamanaka factors. Very strong patent. Held up for now quite a few years. And that creates another dynamic. So as a new modality platform that can own most of the assets of a new modality, I don't think that's been here before. You have a greater chance of becoming the provider of cells to the industry, even on the therapeutic side. So the ambition was always to build a platform that can enable the rest of the industry, which basically also means have others take the clinical risk and become the best. In terms of generating, engineering, producing those cells. Other new modality platforms like the mRNA companies have gone a similar way without the constraints or the specifics of having a discrete IP landscape. And you've seen that they've also been partnering a lot. So that is often the platform play. What happens at a later stage, again, is different. Now you have de-risked the technology. You've clinically de-risked the technology. Investors then often want you to own your own assets and they transition into closed companies. And we've seen this a little bit, I would say, with the mRNA companies. I'd love to be building a company that can enable the entire industry. But we will obviously be very responsive to what is required and where we have the broadest impact.

 

Jon - 00:13:52:

 

Totally. And it sounds honestly incredible that it's almost like picks and shovels. A classic platform. It's like picks and shovels that are enabling everyone to just be that much more productive. And it goes back to what you were mentioning before about just like the $2 billion to get a drug through. If we can whack away at that and try to bring that down, there's a much more efficient ecosystem and much more efficient drug discovery process. And everyone wins. Just thinking about from the perspective of BitBio, it's awesome. I didn't realize the nuance of the intellectual property aspect as well, which is critical. It's critically important when especially getting folks to want to adopt and be the early adopter of said new platform. Something that also stood out to me was your comment about the early days of just like building out the lab, building out the capacity, just like doing all that. Can you talk a little bit about you and your co-founders and maybe just touch a little bit about the early team that went into actually building the infrastructure to make the BitBio magic happen? Can you talk a little bit about that experience?

 

Mark - 00:14:55:

 

Yeah. I mean, that was incredibly exciting and scary again, because we had some idea of how this could work. And we had some notion that this technology works in certain solve types. So the first thing that we did, we sort of in-housed all the IP and created the first iteration of the company. And we found that we had freedom to operate. And I was able to recruit a PhD student who just finished. And that was my first technical team. And then we went off, we reproduced what we had in the lab, glutamatergic neurons, and we were lucky enough to be able to give it to some customers. Charles River actually was one of them.

 

Jon - 00:15:44:

 

Was that your first customer?

 

Mark - 00:15:46:

 

Yes.

 

Jon - 00:15:47:

 

That's amazing. I can't imagine how you were feeling when you're just like, okay, you know, it's like shooting a three pointer and then just swish for your first customer. That's amazing.

 

Mark - 00:15:59:

 

We had some connectivity because the Stem Center Institute was feeding people into Charles River. But they took a look and they said, we really like it. But here's a few things that you need to change. And then we had our first contract. And the bigger contract came from the sister company that I also spun out called Meatable, which is using the same technology to procultured meat. They really demonstrate scale. They're now in 500 liter tanks. The whole system works like flawless. So they're moving into much higher volume now. So it's incredible. This is completely scale insensitive, this technology. So we had our first contract and that then brought some more money in. And that allowed me to then bring on someone who is still foundationally important for the company name is Thomas Moreau. He was one of the first people who published a forward programming protocol. So applying transcription factors to pluripotent stem cells. And he created Megakaryocytes. And with him, incredible depth of knowledge and experience came into the company. And then another rock star that we got scientifically also came together. So that was the core. And these people are still in the organization. And they're just like the quiet, deep thinkers. That are still there. But the quality of these was so extraordinarily high that it started to attract more people. And really a snowball happened where people got excited about the technology, saw how that is completely disruptive. And we were mightily impressed of the people that joined the company. And then, of course, we used it strategically. So we took out the best genetic engineers from the Sanger Center. I mean, I was pretty ruthless when it comes to hiring. And so when you enter BitBio, it's the best lab that I've ever known in terms of the quality of the people. So we started with many stem cell biologists. And what we then realized is that is not enough. We need much more depth and breadth. Because if you think about the discovery process, we need stem cell biologists. We need genetic engineers, synthetic biologists. We need bioinformaticians. They need data scientists. That leads to ML specialists. And then we need to have people that actually know something about the cells that you want to produce. So tissue specialists. Now, this is quite a wide range of backgrounds that normally never work with each other. And in fact, they use the same language, English, and the connotation is very different. So differentiation, for example, in the stem cell context is completely different to immune cell context. It's actually not related. So we not only had to find the right people that could do the work. But those that were willing to communicate about what they do and what they need. So we created special hiring processes that select for what I would call the communicative nerd. So that's the phenotype in Bit.Bio. We are all communicative nerds. So slowly over time, we were able to build these teams and then, of course, extend it to manufacturing. But actually, the real lift on that side happened a little bit later and we were there and we didn't know how to build the engine because nobody has ever built that engine. So we had a phase, six months, where we broke everyone into scrums and we just explored. Small groups of people would work on one particular aspect and just drive it to a result as fast as possible. Before we had something like Brown in Motion, everyone would be doing what they thought was, that didn't work. So then we put it into these scrums. And at the end of these scrums is something crystallized. And the person that really saw how to bring things together is the person who now leads the science in BitBio. Incredibly. I mean, such a find. I mean, he's a better stem cell biologist than I am. He's a better genetic engineer than I ever was. And he's incredibly strategic. And he was able to think large scale and put everything together. And over time, things are getting better and better. So he actually left the University of Cambridge. He had a tenure track position at the university and he left. So that's the quality of people that are in the company. And then that attracts others. So at Series B, Catherine Corso, my COO, joined. And she lifted the rest up of the organization. Manufacturing teams. We had an incredibly good person who still runs manufacturing of research products. Fantastic, yeah? But the next lift, of course, is GMP. And then the translation bit. So. That organization was only built after Series B. So starting early 22. And the fruits of the labor, of course, you know, entry to the clinic, which is at the end of 25, beginning in 26 or so. So you can see that not everything can be built at the same time. At the beginning, you only have questions and you have no way how you answer them. So you need a lot of creativity. And then you didn't see to somehow. Balance. Angle that creativity. And then if you're lucky, things snap into place in some way or the other. But then the culture changes, the work environment changes, away from giving it a go to something that is much more orchestrated. And now it's a very sophisticated engine. So we have project management that oversees every bit, everything. These are all always multidisciplinary teams that come together. There are processes, well, scientific processes that are followed in a particular way. And that allowed us to sort of turn this wheel faster and faster and faster. So we'll be getting more efficient, more cell types, less time. I mean, it's extraordinary that you can do something like this with biology. It's incredible.

 

Jon - 00:22:18:

 

I'm in awe, to be quite honest. Obviously, the sheer talent that BitBio has on the team is incredible. But also just in terms of just number of people, it was you and a PhD, and then now having 200 people, very different organization just on a sheer scale. And so for those who are just still at the you and a PhD, maybe, or just a team of two, how are you financing this? Was the original BitBio Lab at the lab at Cambridge? Or, you know, I know now it's like very commonplace. You share a bench at J-Labs or NBC or BioLabs or wherever. What was it for you? Like, how did you navigate those like very early days of like, okay, where can we do this work? And how do we finance it?

 

Mark - 00:23:02:

 

I mean, we were really scrappy. We raised 300,000 to start off. And that just gave us a little bit of runway and air. There's some communal labs in the university called Maker Lab. And then there's a space called Idea Space. So rented desks, essentially. The university is starting to build these kind of facilities. So that is really the origin. I guess when I think back, what did I do? Because before having money, you don't have anything. And even after you have money, it's not the thing that allows you necessarily to build a company that is successful. What you have in the beginning and still what remains is a concept, an idea. And you can't force anyone to join you. You can't force anyone to be part of your journey. If you try and bribe people by overpaying them, it's not going to work out. It's not a solution either. So really, the only thing that you have is... The idea and the way that you communicate it. And that's why, you know, going back, that's why it's important to think about what you do, what's your purpose, what do you want to achieve with this company, what is the culture. So all you do as an entrepreneur is casting spells on people.

 

Jon - 00:24:26:

 

Yeah.

 

Mark - 00:24:27:

 

And then you see them hopefully materialize. And sometimes... You're surprised that the spell you cast has created a reality that is much more sophisticated than you actually ever thought it could be. That's certainly the case when I think about Bitbuy as such a sophisticated company now. It's way beyond what I dreamt would be possible. Because people bought into that. They projected their ideas into the company and built the thing that I didn't even think about in terms of, you know, sophistication. And so it's quite an amazing thing. So you've got to will this thing into existence and you've got to be somehow relatable to people because if you're not, you know, nobody will follow you in the absence of having anything. So it's very rare that people can start a company with their own money and finance it. And even so, people who can do that, you know, if they can't attract the right talent, they don't go anywhere. So, of course, success creates this aura. But I was totally unknown, you know, I mean, I've never done anything like that before. Now, after seven years doing this, six, seven years, you know, I feel I've got, you know, every battle scar that you can think of. But then, you know, I didn't. And so there's a little bit of naivety. That's probably not bad as well.

 

Jon - 00:25:58:

 

Yeah, that's so funny because I'm thinking back on my experience too. And our first hire, because for the longest time, Excedr was me at a dining room table. And for a long time. And it's like thinking about how do I convince someone to work full time at Excedr when it's a dining room table? I don't have anything ornate or beautiful. I was just like, trying my best to communicate exactly. You said the mission and why do we do this? And as you're casting your initial spells and you're like, the spells are working, you land your first contract with Charles River. Clearly, that's some, you know, validation from the market. And then, you know, you got your first slug of capital for 300K. When was it time and how did you conceptualize bringing in larger pools of institutional capital?

 

Mark - 00:26:46:

 

So I think we weren't ready before my early tribulations, but then other people joined and they opened up that opportunity. And then sometimes the serendipity, our series A was serendipity. It just happened. I got to speak to Rick Klausner and he was dazzled by the data and he decided to finance the company. And so that was our series A, essentially. Yuri Milden and Eric Klaus gathering a consortium. And after that, our Series B, obviously the market was very frothy at that point in time. And the potential of this company is, let's say, limitless, boundless and so that attracted the next wave of capital. Now we are at a stage where we actually are a company and we've built all of that. And the market conditions have changed again, much tougher right now. And the conversations have changed completely. It was all about science at the beginning. Now it's all about, you know, what you do with the science. We're seeing some good moves at the moment. So I'm very hopeful that at the moment, you know, things are starting to move in a very positive way but what I definitely learned is that each stage is very different, nearly not comparable to the previous stage. And so, again, that requires constant upgrading of yourself. My theme is, of course, reprogramming. So I feel I have to constantly reprogram myself.

 

Jon - 00:28:18:

 

No, that's exactly it. And it also can just change on a dime. It's kind of like you get punched in the face and you just have to, you have to like roll with it. And as you're thinking about BitBio and, you know, we're in 2024 and you're thinking about what's in store, you talked about the horizons in which that you're thinking about. Maybe let's do the thought experiment what does BitBio look like in one to two years? And maybe let's, for the sake of the thought experiment, go even out. What does a 10-year BitBio look like to you 

 

Mark - 00:28:48:

 

Should we start with the big one?

 

Jon - 00:28:49:

 

Yeah, let's start with the big one.

 

Mark - 00:28:51:

 

I think in 10 years, this is going to be one of the fastest growing, probably also one of the biggest biotanks, which has and owns the majority of human cells. You will see bit bio cells being used like antibodies are now being used. Nobody is thinking about creating their own antibodies. You just order them, let's say, from AppCamp. And so human cells will also just be ordered by bitbio. People will use them to create organoid systems, print toys. It will become the standard in people's lab because they know when they do the experiment in Washington, the outcome will be the same as if they do it, let's say, in Reykjavik or in the south of Spain. And then on the therapeutic side, you will have multiple programs at various stages in the clinic. And you look at those that are approved and think, well, this is first generation because the next wave is already coming through. This would be maybe tissue transplants. Maybe by then we can print a liver. So you have organ transplants. And all of that is fueled by the learning, but in particular, the information that underpins this. By that time, we will have definitely read out the operating system of humans, and you will have digital twins of cells that you can access. So we'll have digital cells that you can then use to run millions, maybe billions of experiments in silico. And then you order the IO cells to confirm your outputs, and that will exponentially drive research efficiency. I hope you see that this has the ability to create the base layer for biology, but also for cellular, tissue Therapeutics. So how do we dial it back? What happens in the next one, two years? We're working obviously on the first clinical program, which will prove out that this technology is clinically relevant. By the way, we just had our scientific advice meeting with the MHRA, discussing our translation plans, CMC plans, but also early stage, a good plans and we got full endorsement. This is big thing because we know exactly what data we need to put in front of the regulator. So we're basically both team ahead here. We've got a whole area of different other cell types that we would like to put forward. So we need some cash in order to make sure that we have a nice cadence of additional cells that come into the clinic. You'll see a focus on the research side to expand the cell type catalog and IP position. And we invest heavily into commercial, so that in two or three years, we'll be the leading provider of human cells worldwide. And the nice thing about that is not only its validation, and it's also that this will be able to offset the platform costs. So if you take away therapeutics, we should break even. And that then allows you to continuously expand. So in two years, probably we're already or are at the transition of becoming public, most likely. Depends a little bit on the markets, of course. Not that I'm very keen to become public, but I think it's the right thing. And the capital pools have different timelines and expectations. And I hope in two years, we will be able to continue that continuous improvement of every aspect of the company. So I'm really excited. If I just look back the last 12 months, extraordinary what we were able to achieve. So I would love to be able to look back already what we'll achieve in the next one or two years. I mean, it's super exciting.

  

Jon - 00:32:45:

 

I'm holding back my excitement, but I'm super pumped up hearing about these plans and the 10-year vision, to be quite honest. And getting all the background and the context on the most humble beginnings is so amazing to hear. Because I think when people think about entrepreneurship and company building, oftentimes, it looks like an overnight success. And it's kind of this thing where it's like, yeah, just like up and to the right you know, I found it, spun out the company, just boom, we're there. But just like hearing about the scale in which you're operating at, the sophistication, the exciting science that continues to be exciting to this day. And the earliest days were just you and a PhD is something that's inspiring. And I hope any listener can find inspiration in when they're contemplating their journey and potentially jumping into entrepreneurship. So I'm absolutely fired up. And I'm so excited to kind of watch over the next couple of years where BitBio is going. And we always like to round it out with two traditional closing questions. So the first would be, would you like to give any shout outs to anyone who supported you throughout your career?

 

Mark - 00:33:52:

 

Yes, my family and my team. Sometimes I just feel I'm sort of behind them, just basically throwing out the ideas and they make it happen. And on the family's side, they're putting up with a lot of pain. So thank you for bearing with me. This is not a linear path and it is very time consuming.

 

Jon - 00:34:14:

 

Yeah, no, likewise. Sometimes my wife just says, can we stop talking about Excedr for a moment? I'm like, okay, okay, okay. Okay, let's watch some Love Island. We can just like flip on the television show. And the last closing question, if you can give any advice to your 21 year old self, what would it be?

 

Mark - 00:34:30:

 

But that was a time where there was a ton of uncertainty, a lot of enthusiasm, incredibly curious. I probably sent back the message, it'll be okay. You'll be fine.

 

Jon - 00:34:43:

 

And honestly, I'm thinking back about my 21-year-old self, and I feel the exact same way. And sometimes that's all you need is just to know that it's going to work itself out and just continue to keep pushing because for me, there's so many times where also it could have been an easier option just to throw the towel in. So I love that piece of advice. And I honestly don't know a better place to round out. So Mark, thank you so much for your time. You've been incredibly generous. And I'm still very, very fired up about BitBio and everything that you guys have in store for the next 10 years. So thank you. And maybe on the next episode or another interview, we can double click on where you guys are at and where BitBio is in the journey because I mean, it seems like you're moving really, really fast and going to very exciting places.

 

Mark - 00:35:30:

 

It was a wonderful discussion. Thanks for giving me the opportunity.

 

Jon - 00:35:33:

 

It was my pleasure.

 

Outro - 00:35:36:

 

That's all for this episode of the Biotech Startups Podcast. We hope you enjoyed our four-part series with Mark Kotter. Be sure to tune into our next series where we chat with David Lee, CEO and co-founder of Meliora Therapeutics. Meliora's goal is to develop life-saving cancer therapies using cutting-edge science and machine learning. The company derives a comprehensive picture of how drugs interact with cancer biology by combining biofunctional readouts from numerous modalities using cutting-edge machine learning and other computational techniques. Before Meliora, David served as Chief Business Officer at Everest Detection, an early detection liquid biopsy startup, and was Head of Commercial Operations at Benchling, a life sciences software platform company which has achieved a $6 billion valuation. David began his career in Goldman Sachs Healthcare Investment Banking, and KKR's private equity group, where he advised and invested in transactions worth over $10 billion in enterprise value. David's multifaceted experiences in the financial and life science sectors gives him a wide range of perspectives that founders can learn from. The Biotech Startups Podcast is produced by Excedr. Don't want to miss an episode? Search for the Biotech Startups Podcast wherever you get your podcasts and click subscribe. Excedr provides research labs with equipment leases on founder-friendly terms to support paths to exceptional outcomes. To learn more, visit our website, www.excedr.com. On behalf of the team here at Excedr, thanks for listening. The Biotech Startups podcast provides general insights into the life science sector through the experiences of its guests. The use of information on this podcast or materials linked from the podcast is at the user's own risk. The views expressed by the participants are their own and are not the views of Excedr or sponsors. No reference to any product, service or company in the podcast is an endorsement by Excedr or its guests.