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Three young biotech leaders who are shaping the future of medicine

Advances in biotech bring rewards that we can all benefit from. From bettering our understanding of various diseases to silencing the attributes of undesirable genes, biomedical research makes it all possible.

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Whereas the traditional big name pharmaceutical industries tend to attract older talent for their Adaptive Phase 1 Clinical Studies, biotech attracts younger grads and now, a group of under 30s superstars are making the news.

Narges Bani Asadi

After pursuing a PhD in electrical engineering, Asadi had her eyes opened to biotech by a friend and mentor, and quickly diversified. Biotech is no longer a career just for biology grads who want to spend their days in white jackets. The treatment of the data collected needs to be engineered to become of any value. This was an area in which Asadi could and has excelled.

Through the launch of her startup, Bina, that was acquired by Roche, Asadi took on the role of vice president of sequencing genomics at Roche Sequencing Informatics. In this role, she works at the point where computer science meets medicine, developing clinical applications from academic research and the findings of companies such as

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Aris Baras

With an M.D. and an MBA from Duke University, Baras positioned himself well to take on the role of vice president and head of the Genetics Center at Regeneron. The company is at the forefront of using genomic information for finding and developing medicines. Some of these medicines have been game changers, such as Praluent, which treats high cholesterol, and Arcalyst, which manages a range of rare diseases by inhibiting the IL-1 receptor. Others look to prevent peanut and asthma allergies.

Stephanie Barrett

Barrett is a principal scientist at Merck, with a PhD in chemistry from the University of North Carolina. Her area of specialisation focuses on implantable devices, which have the potential to treat infectious diseases. Although medicines to prevent further infection of individuals with diseases such as HIV are already on the market, managing supply and ensuring correct dosage can be problematic. With implanted devices, the correct dosage is always administered.

So it goes to show that experience isn’t always the way to success in biopharma. New ideas and fresh approaches come more and more from new graduates with bright ideas.

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