Editorial Article: What to look for in a life sciences partner

Susie Harborth explores what it takes to be a scientist entrepreneur and highlights the technology driving innovation in bioscience

23 Nov 2020



Susie Harborth, Executive Vice President of Business Operations, Breakthrough Properties

Susie Harborth is the Executive Vice President of Business Operations at Breakthrough Properties, a real estate company dedicated to the provision of world-class spaces for life science communities. Here, Harborth speaks with SelectScience about her company’s goals and explains how a collaboration with PHCbi has been critical to delivering high-quality resources that enable scientist entrepreneurs to develop pioneering therapies, diagnostics and vaccinations.

What are the key goals of your company? 

SH: At Breakthrough Properties, we believe that scientist entrepreneurs need innovation ecosystems to support their research. Our goal is to create environments that foster innovation, where discoveries can be made that transform lives. We do this in a number of ways, not only through providing world-class spaces but also access to industry partners, potential capital sources and general peer-to-peer learning. One of the things we think is really important is engaging the community, as supporting entrepreneurs takes a village. We look to connect researchers with this village and its multiple pillars – real estate, funding sources or industry partners like PHCbi, for example.

What challenges does the life sciences industry face?

SH: The life sciences industry faces many challenges, especially in this COVID-19 era, but has proven very resilient during this time of uncertainty. The industry is at the forefront of developing pioneering therapies, diagnostics and vaccinations to advance human health and its main challenges are therefore the multiple factors surrounding the development of these and the potential for failure. I think if we can eliminate friction from innovation, all the way from discovery to patient experience, this will help to elevate and accelerate the development of life-saving therapies.

How has your partnership with PHCbi helped to overcome these challenges?

SH: We’ve had an amazing collaboration with PHCbi over many years and the team has been instrumental in helping us provide entrepreneurial scientists with the best products and services for their groundbreaking research. One of the important things to recognize with PHCbi is its strong legacy as part of the Panasonic family of providing best-in-class products and services. For early-stage researchers, it is critical to get the scientific data right – it’s the currency of their business – so having high-quality products they can rely on is a real gamechanger. PHCbi products are world-class, made with precision engineering, and we rely on them heavily for the research in our labs. We hope we will continue to partner with them in innovative ways for the benefit of human health going forward. 

What should an entrepreneurial scientist seek in a partner?

SH: Seeking out mentors, peers and partners who understand or share your entrepreneurial trajectory is really critical. Peer-to-peer collaboration is such an important element of our industry and that’s why we aim to create environments that encourage this. Most importantly, I think you should look for someone who understands what you do, how you do it and why you do it.

At Breakthrough Properties, we want to create the best experience for our tenants through providing a wealth of resources and taking care of all the peripheral services, such as operational facilities and health and safety, as well as connecting scientists with industry partners. PHCbi has been at the forefront of this, supporting our different innovation hubs by bringing the best products to researchers so they can do what they do best – focus on science.

Find out more about Susie Harborth’s work here>>

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