For Kevin Isett, the most challenging aspect of switching from a large company to a startup is how failures are not as easily absorbed in smaller organizations.
His business, Avitide, pursues an incredibly cash-lean approach to building a biotechnology company. “I believe that streamlined approach has worked to focus us on solving the most pressing challenges with a strong sense of urgency,” Kevin said.
Before founding Avitide, Kevin worked at a large biopharmaceutical company for more than ten years. He was involved in biologics and vaccines discovery, as well as bioprocess research and development. Kevin considers himself fortunate to have experienced the entire vaccine and therapeutic lifespan, from discovery through manufacture, and he applies that knowledge at Avitide.
Kevin witnessed several biopharmaceutical vaccine and therapeutic programs that underwent significant manufacturing challenges to obtain purity, which is a requirement for administering drugs to patients. As a result, he believes that “the biopharmaceutical industry just needs a better technical solution that works every time, regardless of the drug type, and a solution that could be acquired quickly for accelerated clinical development timelines.”
With input from the industry, Kevin and his team developed their technology as a direct response to the need he observed. At first, one of the biggest hurdles Kevin faced was establishing credibility for Avitide. “We serve a highly regulated industry that is very conservative — and for good reasons,” he explained. “Avitide represents a new way of approaching biopharmaceutical manufacturing, so building relationships is a key feature of what we do.”
The idea for Avitide was born at Dartmouth College, so Kevin believes that it should continue to exist in New Hampshire. Though he had the option of starting the company anywhere, even “the biotech hotbed of Cambridge, MA,” Kevin shared that his final decision was in response to the high rental fees and traffic volume of Massachusetts. He added, “We enjoy contributing to this growing biotechnology nexus located in the middle of great skiing and scenic outdoors.” The New Hampshire quality of life has also been a strong factor in recruiting new team members.
Words of Wisdom
The founders, employees, and investors of Avitide have been some of the best resources for Kevin in starting the company. He emphasized, “We really have a great team, and everyone brings something different, yet compatible, to the table.” His team does a great job of continually evolving the technology they use and the service they provide. Though Kevin admits that they still have a long way to go to reach their desired goals, he remains confident about the prospects for Avitide.
Kevin is unsure if there is a particular piece of advice that shaped his current perspective, but perhaps the sheer wealth of insight he received “frequently and from such bright and dedicated people” is a sign of the great knowledge he has gained. When asked if there were words of wisdom that he could share, Kevin offered the following encouragement:
Find a real-world problem that needs a solution, find like-minded individuals that compliment your skill set, work hard towards the goals, and have fun.
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