Why We Do This Work

In her keynote remarks delivered yesterday at the 2014 BIO International Convention, Rachel King, president & CEO of GlycoMimetics and chairperson of the board of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), talked about why entrepreneurs pursue opportunities in biotechnology and what sustains these industry leaders through the rollercoaster of raising money, clinical trials, road shows and all the ups and downs of bringing medical innovations from the lab to the bedside.

“Working in biotechnology today, we are building the future in ways that people even a hundred years ago could hardly have imagined,” King said. “We are truly part of the tradition of explorers and discoverers. Like those explorers, we set our sights beyond the horizon, and in spite of the challenges and turbulent terrain, we don’t only dream of getting there but we know we’ll make it. That’s why we can survive the rollercoasters, and that’s why we do this work.“

King also highlighted the enormous opportunity that biotechnology plays in improving the standard of living for people around the globe.

“Biotechnology is a business, and we need to be concerned about the health of the industry, but biotechnology is also much more than just a business,” King noted. “We imagine and work toward a future where people have enough to eat and where we can sustainably produce food for all, where clean and renewable energy supports our economies, and where improved medicines, available to all who need them, reduce suffering from disease and enable people to live longer and healthier lives.”

King also spoke about the experiences of her company, GlycoMimetics, during the previous year. In January, GlycoMimetics was the first company, in any sector, to go public in 2014.

She told attendees, “When you think about what we live through in biotechnology, it’s not crazy to ask ourselves—why we do this kind of work?”

King laid out an answer that resonated with attendees. “First, we have the chance to work on some of the most interesting and important scientific questions facing humanity,” she said. “Second, we have an opportunity to make meaningful differences in the lives of individual people. And third, when we work in biotechnology, we are part of a much larger purpose, contributing to the well-being of generations of people who will follow us.”

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