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Building a Team That Transforms Lives

Posted on May 15th, 2017 by in Pharma R&D


The Rubius Therapeutics team grew by over 300% in 2016, as we brought in talented individuals from industry and academia. Managing a team that keeps expanding is always challenging, but having a thoughtful growth strategy ensures cultural coherence and operational progress:

  • First, we are always working to find the most talented people from industry and academia, in order to achieve our key strategic and operational milestones
  • Second, we periodically review the balance between individual efficiency with collaborative creativity. This means assessing everything from team structures to meeting best practices.
  • Third, we are constantly discussing how to best provide people with the opportunity to learn as they grow.

Rubius recently brought aboard a new Chairman, David Epstein, and a new CEO, Torben Straight Nissen (from Novartis and Pfizer, respectively). Bringing in executives with a clear sense of mission has helped to refine our vision, and focus our day-to-day efforts. Both David and Torben have demonstrated success as experienced pharmaceutical industry “builders”, and that makes an enormous difference when making the transition to running an emerging biotech. Our founder Avak Khavejian was able to make the planned transition to a Chief Innovation Officer role (in addition to his full time job as a partner in Flagship Pioneering). Avak continues to be deeply involved in the science, and in guiding us at the board level.

Rubius is like many start-ups: in some ways we are a family, and in other ways a team with a remarkable diversity of skills, experiences and perspectives. More than half the company was born outside of the United States and we are incredibly lucky to be able to leverage an eclectic talent base as we pursue therapies that will transform the lives of patients and their families.


All opinions shared in this post are the author’s own.

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