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Why a Big Pharma Background Can Give Biotech Leaders an Edge

Many biotech founders come straight from academia and may struggle with the new skill set that is required to run a company. Rob de Ree, CEO of Dutch biotech NorthSea Therapeutics, has a background in big pharma and medtech and believes his earlier experience was instrumental to his success as a biotech leader. 

After spending 14 years working in a big corporate environment at Byk Gulden and Medtronic, de Ree decided to take the plunge into the world of biotech. Following a short time working in business development at the large biotech Crucell, he made the move to the cardiovascular medtech company BMEYE where he later became CEO. 

Since then, de Ree has seen both BMEYE and his next company Dezima Pharma — a cardiovascular-disease focused biotech — through successful acquisitions. In 2016 he became an operating partner at the Dutch VC Biogeneration Ventures, before becoming CEO of NorthSea Therapeutics in 2017. 

What inspired you to get into biotech?

During my career at Medtronic, I interacted more and more with people in the startup environment, which is a totally different world, but when I learned more about that, that sounded really attractive to me. 

It’s at the forefront of science, so you really work on things that matter,

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