In part №10 of our interview series, we sat down with Dr. Nicole Faust, CEO & CSO of CEVEC Pharmaceuticals to talk about AAV vectors, the importance of enthusiasm for the success of a company, golf and much more. Enjoy reading!
#1 Nicole, please introduce CEVEC in less than 10 words.
CEVEC develops innovative production technologies for advanced biotherapeutics.
#2 What was the initial impetus or motivation to start CEVEC and what is your vision with it?
When CEVEC was started, there was a strong demand for more efficient and safer ways to produce modern therapeutics. So, the company used its skills in cell line development to create novel human cell lines and associated production platforms that could accomplish this task. Initially focussing on adenoviral gene therapy vectors and complex recombinant proteins, we have more recently reacted to the challenges in the production of AAV (adeno associated virus) vectors. We are confident that our technologies will help to solve some of the major production bottlenecks in gene therapy.
#3 What company-related recent accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am very proud of many things at CEVEC, but I am definitely most proud of our stable AAV production technology. Today, CEVEC is the only provider of bona fide AAV producer cell lines, making the manufacture of AAV gene therapy vectors basically as easy as antibody production. This technology overcomes many of the problems posed by the methods which are predominantly in use at present, like supply of raw materials, scalability and reproducibility of the process.
#4 Five years from now, what will CEVEC look like? What will you be doing yourself?
CEVEC´s stable AAV platform will have become the gold standard for AAV production and we will be very busy working with the major in vivo gene therapy companies to adapt the system to their specific needs. I myself will hopefully still be able to be involved in the daily business of the company and not be too much absorbed with representative tasks. I really enjoy the interactions with the highly capable team at CEVEC.
#5 Can you name three adjectives that describe the working culture at CEVEC?
Scientific excellence, dedication, open communication
#6 Can you name a detail that nobody really talks about but that is nonetheless crucial for the success of a company?
I think one very important aspect is the ability of key people within the company to create enthusiasm, be it with investors, colleagues or customers. This is something we Germans sometimes struggle with, always trying to be “down to earth” and focussing on the problems we still have to solve instead of on what we have already achieved.
#7 Which technological solution are we still missing in our lives?
What I am hoping for is that artificial intelligence will at one point be so advanced, that it is actually able to extract meaningful information from data. For example, I am convinced that the answer to many open scientific questions actually exists, it is just buried in so much data that no human being can process that data let alone find the interdependencies between the different data sets. I am really curious to see what the next decades will bring in this respect.
#8 What is worth spending time on other than CEVEC?
A golf course. This is a really good way to take your mind off work and start into the next week with a fresh view on things.
#9 Why did you choose Creathor as an investor?
Actually, Creathor has been with CEVEC for longer than I have. But I would certainly have chosen them for their interest in technology and their understanding of how a technology company like CEVEC operates.
#10 Make it 10! There must be something that you have always wanted to ask us. What is it?
Nicole: What are the most important criteria for you when deciding which company to invest in?
Christian: The most important criteria when looking at a company are the founders and the management team, the medical need adressed by the company and the competitive advantages of the product or the product candidate including IP protection. On top, it is important to have a powerful investor syndicate with further “dry powder” on board that can finance the company through delays and difficult times.
Thank you, Nicole!
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