An established project pivots to the startup world to expand its nationwide impact
Across Ohio, researchers and health care organizations are developing new treatments and therapies for diseases that have previously been untreatable. But the process of bringing those experimental treatments to the patients that need them is a long and expensive one that requires collaboration, testing and research. Columbus-based Battelle, a global research and development organization, has been working to develop new therapies for years. To expand their reach, however, the company has spun out AmplifyBio into its own for-profit startup, armed with significant capital for quick growth. The newly formed company is working to accelerate the development of next generation therapies by creating and optimizing new platforms and technologies.
“We want to have drug development companies and people who are trying to develop advanced therapies come to us for safety and efficacy testing,” said President and CEO J. Kelly Ganjei. “We can eventually augment those platforms that could help accelerate and scale that technology. We’re also putting advanced analytics in place. Drug discovery development is only as fast and good as the analytics you have built, so by augmenting our ability to analyze the data of our clients, we believe we can help accelerate their development efforts.”
The newly formed company only launched in May, but in addition to Battelle’s history, Ganjei has spent decades in the field, and previously served as CEO of Cognate BioServices, Inc. AmplifyBio’s emphasis on bringing novel therapies to the point of commercialization and wide usage is a mission he’s passionate about, and one that he said anyone can find a personal connection to.
“All of us know someone who has been affected by a cancer there’s no hope for curing or a genetic disorder with ineffective therapies,” he said. “We all have a friend or a family member affected by one of these conditions. So it’s been remarkable to be a part of the development of therapies that are changing lives. We all have examples that drive us to do everything we can to accelerate these life-changing therapies. We’re staying active and trying to find ways to make these products and therapies applicable to more people and more diseases.”
AmplifyBio isn’t the only organization working to advance these new treatments, but Ganjei believes the company’s methods and team set them apart. Not only are they inheriting Battelle’s “long history of working with federal government agencies,” but Ganjei said their newfound startup status helps them get involved with other organizations’ technology and platforms earlier in their life cycle, maximizing their potential impact. And on top of those organizational pluses, AmplifyBio has talent and people capable of big things.
“The thing that’s really exciting for me is our team,” Ganjei said. “Our culture is something I haven’t seen in my history of working in startups and other jobs. It’s such a huge part of what we do. We’re a business that relies on its people and each individual experiment requires a lot of care and attention and flexibility. We have a really motivated group with a lot of attention to detail, caring people and curious individuals. I can’t emphasize enough how important culture is in an organization. Our culture enables us to drive forward and be a flexible partner. We’re helping people, and that drives us all to go the extra mile.”
Ganjei expects AmplifyBio to “grow exponentially” in its first few years, expanding in-house expertise and increasing the focus on analytics capabilities. He said the company has plenty of major projects and collaborations planned, but isn’t ready to make any announcements just yet. With an eye on the future and AmplifyBio’s exciting potential, Ganjei said there’s nowhere he’d rather be than Ohio.
“There’s a tremendous amount of activity and investment coming into Ohio,” he said. “There are great universities that can be centers for development of therapies and other advanced technologies. The environment and talent we have access to is remarkable. I like operating outside of the very dense, populated areas because it leads to less turnover and a better culture. You can still recruit great talent, but you aren’t losing people every time they go to lunch.”