A self-described language-lover with a background in publishing, Nicole Shelby joined Syapse in 2017 in part because of her personal connection to the team’s mission. Below, she explains how her own battle with cancer informs her work — and how the culture and leadership at Syapse help set the company apart.
What motivates you in your work at Syapse?
I am a cancer survivor myself, so that’s my main driver — to see that all cancer patients get to have the treatment they need, and get to have the most effective treatment possible for them. In my position, it is obviously very personal to me. It’s something that I care deeply about, and I really appreciate that our focus here is on the providers who are giving this care to the patients. I want to make sure that precision medicine is not restricted to certain hospitals or certain subsets of the population. Something that matters a lot to me — and matters a lot to Syapse — is the idea that everyone should have access to the latest treatments and therapies.
What’s the culture like at Syapse?
I really like the work culture. I like that it’s not a ping-pong and beers type of place — I was not looking for that. This is the kind of place where people are serious about what they do. Our mission is a very important one, and we don’t take it lightly at all. We do get along and have fun; we have great events, and this is a great office. We have cool activities and snacks and all the good stuff that kind of sits on the edge and improves the experience. But I think at its heart, this is a culture that is driving toward a goal, and I love that energy. It’s very positive here. From the leadership down, that really comes through.
What sets Syapse apart from other companies?
I feel a faith in the leadership. I feel that they are doing a great job navigating this space. Not only the biotech space, but the health care space — and it is a crowded area. There are a lot of industries, players, companies — everyone attached to oncology. It’s a big area to be in, and I think the leadership is very realistic about who we are and where we’re going. I really like that they are honest with us about the company’s trajectory. They’re honest with us about the growth we’ve been seeing; they’re honest about any bumps in the road. As opposed to some other companies where I’ve worked, where the executives and the board felt very removed from your everyday worker, here I do feel like they are in touch with us, and they listen to our feedback. In my career so far, that has definitely distinguished Syapse.
Tell us about a recent company win.
One of our customers, Intermountain Healthcare, recently published a paper that details some of the improvements they’ve seen from their precision genomics program, which is powered by Syapse. They were actually comparing the precision medicine program to historical treatments with chemo and the standard lines of therapy, and they found that they have doubled their overall survival rate while also lowering costs at the end of life. That was really impressive for us. It’s validating for the idea of using and scaling precision medicine programs for these large health systems, so we were all definitely excited when that paper came out. It was a lot of validation for us, but it was also just great to know that over at Intermountain, they’re really finding so much value with Syapse.