Mads Aaboe Jensen, External Innovation Officer at Roche, was one of the first BII mentors in the Business Acceleration Academy program. Through 11 weeks, he helped the start-up Bainan Biotech by sharing his industry experience and asking all the right questions.
Mads has more than ten years of experience in drug discovery and pre-clinical experience from academia in pharma and biotech. He has spent the past four years with Roche in various positions within drug discovery and RNA. We asked Mads a few questions about the experience and what he gained from it.
Why did you sign up as a mentor?
I reached out to BII myself because I had heard about the institute very early in the process and found the vision so important that I wanted to be part of it. To work in the industry is very different from academia because the challenges you face and the problems you think about are just not the same. I have learned that you can really make an impact when you put some of that knowledge and insight into action so others can benefit from it.
How much time did you invest?
I met with the team in the afternoons or evenings every few weeks in two or three-hour sessions. The BII team anchor made all the arrangements and preparations so I could concentrate on working with the team.
What did you take from the experience?
Start-up teams are full of energy and I like being around that. It was a great experience to see the team develop as much as they did and end up in a completely different but much better position after the 11-week program. Personally, I expanded my network and learned many interesting things about osteoporosis, as Bainan Biotech works in this field.
How could you contribute to the team?
I contributed by asking the team questions and perhaps by providing a different perspective. I know how the industry develops drugs and which considerations they have so I could ask questions that you would not necessarily ask yourself if you come only with an academic background. Some of the things we know and work within the industry might be common knowledge to us, but it is not common knowledge for a start-up – on the contrary, it could hugely impact how their business develops.
Would you do it again?
Yes! Absolutely, no doubt that I would do it again. I can recommend it to everyone in the industry that wants to know more about what is happening on the life science start-up scene and build more network. Creating new life science companies is not trivial and needs a little bit of help. I have spent some years in the US and I see no reason why we cannot create an epicenter for life science in Copenhagen like the one we see in Boston. Of course, it will not be at the same scale, but we shouldn’t underestimate the amount of talent and ideas we have here in Denmark and by being a mentor you can play a role in developing them.