BioBoss

#06 - Doug Manion: CEO of Kleo Pharmaceuticals

April 09, 2019 John Simboli Season 1 Episode 6
BioBoss
#06 - Doug Manion: CEO of Kleo Pharmaceuticals
Chapters
BioBoss
#06 - Doug Manion: CEO of Kleo Pharmaceuticals
Apr 09, 2019 Season 1 Episode 6
John Simboli

"What we do in small pharma is very much like movie making, in a way, because you have the story that you want to flesh out and you bring together the team that you need for the movie." -  Doug Manion, CEO of Kleo Pharmaceuticals

Show Notes Transcript

"What we do in small pharma is very much like movie making, in a way, because you have the story that you want to flesh out and you bring together the team that you need for the movie." -  Doug Manion, CEO of Kleo Pharmaceuticals

John Simboli:

This morning I'm with Doug Manion, CEO of Kleo Pharmaceuticals. Doug, how did you find yourself here at Kleo?

Doug Manion:

First, thanks for having me. It's great to be here. I joined Kleo as CEO in in May of 2017. I had been in big pharma with three different companies for 20 or so years and just kind of thought at this stage of my life it would be fun to do something much more entrepreneurial, for me to be much closer to the action that I was as a senior person in a large pharmaceutical company. And I met with the leadership of of Kleo and I thought that the science was incredibly intriguing. I thought the potential for us really making a dent in improving the lives of patients with cancer was real. And I just couldn't wait to join.

John Simboli:

So I asked a similar question for a couple of folks I've spoken with them and one of the answers I got was "Why didn't I do this before?" Did that thought occur to you?

Doug Manion:

I didn't really do that. I don't think I was ready. I think that I really had to kind of grow and mature as a leader and as a manager and I learned a lot from other people in large pharma. And I think it was just the perfect time, to be honest with you. And the thing about biotech is it's not for the faint of heart, right? So if you're going to dive into those waters, you really have to be ready to thrive in those waters. And although I probably could've done it earlier. I'm not one to kind of second guess my decision making. This was exactly the right thing to do with exactly the right time for me. And it's working out really well.

John Simboli:

Early in your career was this a goal or was it just the right thing at the right time, as far as being a CEO and leader?

Doug Manion:

So I had thought, starting my career in pharma, that by the time I got to my mid-fifties, if I had done well, so if I had done well in terms of, most importantly, helped to bring patients medicines that were going to improve their lives, and I had done well financially, personally, such that I could take a little bit more risk on that front, that I would want to take a bit of a flyer and do something much more innovative. I wasn't sure it was going to necessarily be CEO of a biotech. It might've been go back to teaching, which I love to do. I might've wanted to start to write, I may still want to start to write. I certainly do want to become much more involved in, in venture capitalism. I think that that's an exciting thing. I'm kind of on the receiving end of venture capitalism. I thought maybe I might be on the, actually, within the venture capitalist community. That may come, yet. You just never know. I don't know what I'm going to be when I grow up.

John Simboli:

Me, too, Doug. What were you hoping to achieve here at Kleo that you couldn't do at another company? You must have had lots of opportunities to go lots of different places. What, what was the draw here?

Doug Manion:

So always the draw is, are you actually going to have impact on helping people with a serious disease? I went into the drug industry specifically because of the love of HIV/AIDS and wanting to really have a macroscopic impact on that disease. And I really feel that I did, which is awesome. And so the overarching reason to be in cancer is that I want to have a similar impact in cancer as I had an HIV. And cancer is a much bigger problem yet. Why Kleo, in particular, is I love the fact that Kleo is kind of going against the current and the current is ever more complicated bio-engineered molecules that do hold out some promise, but they also bring up a whole lot of complications. And there's no certainty they're necessarily going to work better.

Speaker 2:

What I love about David Spiegel's vision at Yale, that is now the cornerstone of what we're doing at Kleo, is that small is beautiful and simpler is better. And if you can actually get, for instance, the immune system to double down in terms of killing tumor cells by doing it with synthetic, simpler molecules and potentially with better mechanisms of action, it just makes sense to me. And as a former engineer, because I actually trained as an engineer before I was a doctor, I was a big fan of Occam's razor, which is if there's a simpler solution, you should probably follow it. And we're actually coming up with remarkably simple solutions to major problems. And it just, it excites me.

John Simboli:

When I was, as far as I can remember anyway, when I was eight or nine, I really want to be a baseball player. I wanted to be a pitcher. Your equivalent of that story . . . as you can remember, when you were that age, what did you think you were going to be?

Doug Manion:

So it's hard for me to remember all the way to the then to be honest with you. But I think I wanted to be a fireman and I don't really know why I wanted to be a fireman because I never saw a fire and I didn't know any firemen. But when you're a kid, you know you want to be an astronaut or you want to be a fireman or you want to be a policemen. I think it's more just like these phenotypes that you see on TV. I do know that later when I was in my teens, I went to a school where a lot of my classmates were sons and daughters of doctors and a lot of them were kind of destined to become doctors themselves. And I actually felt sorry for them. I felt like they were not really following their own muses, that it was very much kind of coming down from above that, that that was the expectation and they didn't seem to be particularly happy about their choice and they seemed to be very over focused on what you would need to do to get into med school. And they weren't living their lives as fully as they should have. So I said, well, I definitely don't want to do that. So, actually, I became an engineer and was doing water supply and sanitation work for non-governmental organizations, but applied to sub-Saharan Africa. And this was in the early eighties, so this was 79, 80, 81 when slim disease, which turned out to be HIV disease, was rearing its ugly head in Africa. And of course the AIDS epidemic kind of hit the airwaves in the United States in 81. And by 82—I wasn't finished with my engineering training yet—I decided I was going to bite the bullet and actually do all of my medical prerequisites on top of my full load of engineering courses to start med school in 1983 and, a mere 14 years later, I popped out very, very well trained and ready for a career which, surprisingly, I thought was going to be in academia and then I was advised by my mentor at Harvard that, in fact, I should consider going into the pharmaceutical industry. And it's worked out really well for me. I joke with people that I use my engineering degree every day because engineering is all around process management, linear logic systems thinking. It's an unbelievably good training for your brain. And in what I now do is it's a very, very useful training. I joke with people that the only part of my medical training I use every day is my psychiatric training, because I have to deal with human beings all the time.

John Simboli:

When you're speaking with someone who's intelligent but is outside your field, maybe you've met them on vacation or something like that, and they say, what do you do for a living? When somebody says, what's a CEO for a biopharma do, what do you say?

Doug Manion:

So I say that I am a leader of a team of really smart people that translate awesome science into improving, extending the lives of patients with cancer. What that translates to, when you come in as a CEO for a biotech, a small biotech like ours, I mean we have less than 20 employees, we've been around for only about three years. You basically come in with your sleeves already rolled up and you do a lot of stuff. Obviously we have an R&D division. We have other folks as well. A lot of my time is spent partnering with my CSO. Luca Rastelli, in terms of making sure that we have the most robust R&D strategy and plan as possible. But you know, you're very hands on, you see there's data coming out on a near daily basis that you get to respond to, which is really, really cool. You have to kind of track down when you see a successful piece of data, you've got to very rapidly try to double down on this and capitalize on it. And all of this long term line of sight, of course, is to help patients. The surrogate marker of that, of course, is to intrigue and to incite our investors to want to stay invested, invest even more down the road. So it's a really fun puzzle to work through, to be honest with you, because on one side there's all these scientific pieces that you have to optimize and put together into a narrative. And then you also need to work with the people with the deep pockets in terms of them seeing disproportional value in your company. And then the willingness to invest in you, not just in the short term, but the long term.

John Simboli:

There's a director whose work I like a lot, a film director. He was asked what he does and he paused and he said, I answer questions. It's probably something like what you do, right?

Doug Manion:

No, it's interesting that you, you make that allusion because what we do in small pharma is very much like movie making, in a way, because you have the story you want to flesh out and you bring together the team that you need for the movie. And so we have a critical mass of internal folks that are really, really clever. But then we also are culling from the best and brightest outside of the company, to help us. And it's actually really fun to be able to do that. When you're in a larger company, I would say almost everything is kind of internal and you have a lot of subdivision of labor. Here we don't have that, obviously. And so if we need, for instance, to talk to the world's smartest person in any given cancer, we can just pick up the phone and talk to that person, which is great. If we need expertise in a certain area of drug development or even drug discovery, again, we can pick up the phone and do that. And then we had this very, very clever virtual team that's kind of cool to operate, that's helping us make decisions, move things forward.

John Simboli:

So let me ask you about what you have learned over the years about your management style. Did you have a preconception prior to becoming the CEO of this, obviously not just CEO stuff, but did you have a feeling of what your style would be? Did you find out it was the same or different?

Doug Manion:

I'm what you call a reluctant leader. I love for things to be well run and I would prefer that somebody else run things well. But it's amazing to me how often things are just not run well. And so I've kind of had to. I'm a natural introvert and I've had to leave the shadows on multiple occasions in my life to lead because I just thought that there was a leadership gap. And I do think that when it comes to human systems, good things happen because of good leadership and bad things happen because of bad leadership. And I don't like to see bad things happen. My father was actually a pretty senior person in the Canadian government. I learned a lot watching how he leads and I also have plagiarized aggressively off leaders in the pharma Industry who've impressed me. And one who did, very early in my career when I was at a company called DuPont. Merck Pharmaceuticals, was a head of development of the name of Ed Bradley. I remember Ed came in and DuPont was not in a good place at the time and we were in desperate need of sound leadership from, from his role, the head of development. I remember he brought together all of the people under him the day he arrived, or maybe the day after. And for his first town hall meeting and he had a single slide and the single slide gave what he called his leadership credo. And his leadership credo was, if you want to thrive under Ed, work smart, have fun and don't be a jerk. And it was so simple and it spoke volumes. And then he described what that meant. If you're smart, you put yourself in the orbit of people who are smarter than you and you learn from them. And then, so my leadership style is basically a culling together of what I thought were really positive attributes of a whole bunch of great leaders. I mentioned I had a mentor and engineering school who actually got me working on stuff pertinent to Africa. And that's what got me into HIV aids. And when I was studying in Canada to become an infectious disease doctor, I met someone who was brilliant and he was the one who actually convinced me I should go to Harvard. And he actually helped to get me to go to Harvard for my postdoc. And then once at Harvard, my mentor was the one who suggested I go into this industry. So, you should always try to get into the orbit of people who are better than you. And then you should constantly be looking to craft, to hone your skills as a leader. And that's when, when you're asking the question earlier about when I wanted to make the move into biotech, my career in industry kept increasing, increasing in terms of the, the scope of my book of work and the number of people that I was either leading through solid lines or, in most of these companies that are heavily matrixed, but with my last company, there were thousands of people who ultimately were kind of matrixed into me. And that was a great experience. It was a really, really good experience. And although it sounds like it would be way easier to manage 17 people than to manage thousands of people, that is not necessarily the case because when you're managing thousands of people, you also have multiple layers of lieutenants under you. And so, it really is more like being a general in a war. You've got colonels and lieutenants that are beneath you and you can kind of delegate responsibility down to them. When you're in a biotech company, the buck stops with you at every level, even the most mundane detail, the buck stops with you, which is getting back to my roots. But I'm glad I had that other experience, too.

John Simboli:

Doug. What's new at Kleo?

Doug Manion:

Well, first maybe I'll just start by saying what's Kleo? So for your listeners? So we are a company based on the breakthrough science of David Spiegel, who's a full professor of biochemistry and pharmacology at Yale. And David, his entire career, has been of the belief that if you're really smart in terms of, of chemistry, that you should be able to do with synthetic chemical molecules, what some people would call small molecules or synthetic peptides, what others can only do with complicated biological drugs. And there's a lot of energy right now around using biologicals to activate the immune system against tumor cells. It's called immuno-oncology. There's been several drugs have been approved, of late, that are getting an awful lot of very positive press because they are actually very good. But I think that there's a false belief that the only way that you can kind of perturbate protein-protein interactions or cell-cell interactions is with these large biological drugs. These are made through fermentation, not through chemical processing. So it's a completely different kettle of fish. And you even have companies that are either all biological or all small molecule. And in fact, when people talk about biotech, it was because the first biotech companies were biologicals, usually looking at replacement enzyme therapy, but ultimately at the result of the monoclonal antibodies and there's much, much more complicated things now. So Kleo is basically the opposite of that trend. We are steadfast that you can do with small molecules what others can only do with large biological molecules. And that brings a whole lot of positive attributes to it. We have a lot more chemical diversity. We have shorter discovery cycle times. We have significantly more tunability in terms of of binding at either end. So we, like others, have our foundation of these bi-specific molecules. One binds to the tumor cell. The other one binds to an immune activator, which could actually be an antibody, in some instances, or it could be directly to immune cells. But because of the fact that we have all of this chemical diversity, we can fine-tune at either end, we also have a tunable linker in between, through which we can dial in a whole bunch of attributes. So for instance, longer half-life or improved tissue penetration in certain places, that harbor tumor, for instance, bone or brain or prostate. So that, in a nutshell, is what Kleo is trying to achieve. Recent news for us, we actually completed a successful series B financing round in November of 2018 so that actually gives us sufficient resources to actually take what had been basically platform validation work and now go to the next phase of our existence, which is to become a clinical development company. So we've begun IND enabling activities for the first of our putative drugs, potential drugs. We actually will be beginning IND-enabling activities on probably three drugs for this calendar year. And the goal would be for us to be in the clinic for the first of those, ideally, this year, although I think more logically it's going to be in the first half of 2020. So it's incredibly exciting to be going from a pure research company to an R&D company. And the ultimate goal would be to be a fully vertically integrated company that's actually also selling drugs and making money, as a surrogate marker for helping patients.

John Simboli:

When you tell that story to investors you just told to me, and then maybe afterwards you're meeting over coffee and someone asks some questions and validate and say, yeah, they understood that the essential story I was telling . . . you feel great. When some people don't and they misunderstood. What do people get wrong when they hear the story but they just don't get it?

Doug Manion:

It's not sure that they don't get it. Everybody has their own biases. Everyone has their own belief systems. And you know, at the end of the day, investors, drug developers, you know, strategy is all about making choices and you make choices based on your belief system. Some of the belief systems that we run into is just some people believe the biologicals are just better. And there has been such a kind of a groundswell towards biologicals that it's kind of an easy trap to fall into. So what I always tell such people is all that should matter to you is the effect and the route by which you engage that effect really shouldn't matter. And so we then show them data that, in fact, through our approach we can get similar if not even better immune activity against some tumor types, vis-a-vis biologicals. The ones who are open minded will say, okay, you're quite right. I really don't care. In fact, they then start to listen to what are all the positive attributes of a small molecule approach versus a biological approach. And they're the ones with which we do well. The ones who, despite the fact that they see analogous or even better activity just don't want to buy into the premise, we say, well, that's fine. That's it. You have made a strategic choice in terms of where you want to be putting your money. That's totally fine. You know, just watch us.

John Simboli:

What makes Kleo different from other biopharma companies?

Doug Manion:

So I mentioned already that we're taking a synthetic chemistry approach to what others are doing with large molecule biologicals. But what I didn't mention is the fact that we really do have disproportional expertise in terms of innovative chemistry and that's on a couple of different fronts. One of them is using computational chemical design, which is a fairly new way to actually hunt for small molecule drugs. And our head of chemistry is extremely well versed in that, as is David Spiegel, our scientific cofounder. And so part of our secret sauce is being disproportionally good at leveraging that technology. And then the other piece is that we are partnering with similarly clever drug discoverers using different approaches. So for instance, we're public on a discovery collaboration deal with a company in Japan called PeptiDream. And I think 17 or 18 large pharma companies actually have deals with PeptiDream. PeptiDream leverages its screening technique of non-natural peptides to find high affinity binders to whatever antigens they want. So we have a multi binder deal with them that was announced in July of 2017 and the cycle time for them to get a hit once we direct their screening against the antigen of our choice is actually quite spectacular. So the lead asset that will be going into the clinic this year or early next actually contains a peptitic moiety that stemmed from that collaboration with PeptiDream. So, long story short, part of our secret sauce is disproportionately strong non-natural amino acid peptitic chemistry as well as computational chemistry.

John Simboli:

What kinds of folks make good partners to Kleo?

Doug Manion:

We only have one partnership today and that's PeptiDream. They've been terrific and what makes that relationship so good is their now CEO, former CSO, Patrick Reed, although they're now a fairly large company, they're worth about 6 billion US dollars on the Nikkei stock exchange in Tokyo, but they still function like a biotech company. They're very, very nimble, very rapid cycle times. They're not laden with a bunch of undue process. So you're not constantly kind of feeding the beast in terms of, of SOPs, and the like. I mean, of course you need to have standards in terms of how you do things but it shouldn't . . . in some larger companies, those SOPs can basically become speed bumps that don't really allow you to put the pedal to the metal in terms of moving things forward, Nimble, high accountability, non, unduly kind of process-laden or focused is what you ideally want to find. Now we're open to having partnerships with pretty much any type of company. Even if we were to have partnerships with a large pharma company that is very process focused ,and most of them are, there are still ways for you to actually craft things with the interface with them such that you're not going to be a victim of those. In my last company, a large pharma company, I was overseeing a program in Hepatitis C drug discovery and development. And Hepatitis C was an unbelievably kinetic space where, literally, on a weekly, if not daily basis, new data were coming out that was changing everyone's thinking. And within the span of less than a year, people went from thinking that HCV was probably not curable at high rates and so it could not be cured without, for instance, Interferon based therapies—to realizing that it could be cured with a relatively short exposure to as little as one or two drugs. So that was just a complete mindset shift. So you really had to be nimble. So, even within this large company, we were able to carve out a small team that worked very, very much like a biotech. They actually were given a budget, a discretionary budget, they could spend, it didn't have to go back to dad all the time for like, their allowance. And so they were given kind of broad degrees of freedom in terms of being as innovative as possible because we knew that was the only way that they could actually compete with other like companies. In fact, it worked out really well. So, so even within large pharma it's feasible. So we would always try to find that kind of win-win collaboration. So if we're interfacing with them, we'd move at the speed of the faster, not the slower of the two partners.

John Simboli:

When you're hiring, what characteristics are you looking for?

Doug Manion:

So we are hiring, and it's very simple. So what I look for is, I'd look for very, very smart people. And just like you can't teach speed, I think is one thing they say in athletics, you can't teach smart either. So people have to have a good microprocessor to start with. And so once you have that, though, you want to find people who can also play well in the sandbox, are high-EQ individuals, emotional quotient, emotional intelligence. Also you want people who are relatively minimally ego-driven, which is difficult to do in terms of, of scientists, doctors and PhDs. They tend to be pursuits that attract people with fairly big egos. That being said, you want people who can share the glory, are more concerned about getting success than claiming success. And also people who don't mind getting their hands dirty, very much want to be hands on. And most importantly, they need to be very high accountability. And one of my favorite questions to ask people when I'm interviewing them is how do you define performance? When I ask you, like, performance, what does it mean that you have performed? And a lot of people stumble over that question, but the right answer is really simple. Performance is doing what you said you were going to do. And that's what's great about that is, one, you have to articulate what you're going to do, which means you set a goal and that has to include what, when, right? And then you have to achieve that "what" at the time that you said that you're going to do it. And as long as you have people who get that . . . a handful of such people and you can move mountains.

John Simboli:

That's interesting because the very act o articulating suggest you're not just receiving information but you're forming it and it's a transaction. It's interesting. I know you must be, I'm sure you are approaching a hundred percent focused on exactly what you need to do each step of the way to achieve what you're trying to achieve. On the other hand, do you ever think to yourself, if this works out, I'm going to help some people, I'm going to do some good in the world. Or do you have to tuck that away while you're in the throes of this?

Doug Manion:

For me at least, it's always in the back of my mind. Being a clinician, having dealt with patients first hand. I mean, you never forget holding the hand of a patient as they're expiring due to cancer or AIDS or . . . that leaves an indelible mark. And so sometimes I wish I could turn it off, to be honest with you, but it makes me a better person that I can't. So it's always at the back of my mind. That being said, you know, you could become paralyzed, as well, if you're kind of over focused on such things. So it's kind of, my north star that I try to convey to folks who might not have had that experience. So I'm happy that my job has never been to just build widgets. I'm not sure what it would be like to be a widget builder. You'd have to really have a sense of purpose around the merit of those widgets. It's very, very easy for me to motivate myself and to motivate other employees. When you think our goal is to cure people of cancer, and we're talking about some pretty bad actors here. So,, it is, as I said, our north star, it's one that I remind people of and what I tend to do, especially, is that if ever people are getting kind of off the rails, like they're kind of whatever, allowing interpersonal conflict, for instance, to kind of get in the way, I always remind everybody, we really have a higher purpose here, so is it really worth it? I mean, patients are waiting for our wares and patients are dying waiting for our wares. So if we lose a minute in bringing curative medicines to people for reasons that are avoidable, that's really, really bad. So why don't we just not do that? And it's amazing how resonant that is with people and they go, yeah, yeah, you're right. In fact, we have a much bigger purpose here. We don't really have the luxury to putz around right now.

John Simboli:

One of the advantages, I believe, of being here in Connecticut is that you know the folks to talk to. You know who to pick up and call on phone. You worked with many of those people before. Is there a community of like-minded and connected bio-CEO folks that you're just talking to every day or frequently?

Doug Manion:

So, absolutely. And I love to answer this question because the biggest investor in Kleo is a company based in New Haven called Biohaven. Biohaven was founded by former employees that used to work for me at Bristol-Myers Squibb in Wallingford. And so they were in the neuroscience division, which Bristol-Myers Squibb decided to divest. And then, so they left, you know, big pharma and then they founded this company. In fact, one of the drugs that they're developing was a drug that had initially been developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb. But the whole reason I was made aware of Kleo was because they had invested in David's vision, David Spiegel's vision. And they wanted to bring in an experienced person to join the team with David and other people at Kleo. And so because they knew me, you know, Vlad Coric, who was the CEO at Biohaven, actually approached me at JPMorgan in January, 2017 to begin the conversation. So it's just such a nice kind of example of like-minded people who know each other, like to work with each other. The opportunity was shared. It made sense to me. I was very much wanting to stay in the state of Connecticut. I was fearing I might have to move to Boston or to San Francisco to pursue my kind of entrepreneurial dreams. And I was thrilled, to be honest with you, to see the opportunity here. And then, of course, there's Biohaven. There's also John Houston, also formerly of Bristol-Myers Squibb, who's the CEO of Arvinas ,that recently went public. And then there's a bunch of other companies that I think are really, really promising. So, there's a kind of a nice nucleus of biotech CEO's, a lot of them having big pharma experience, that are very dedicated to building out the biotech sector here. And it's actually, it's, it's really quite exciting. So we have created this kind of informal network of CEOs and we're helping each other out. We're also helping scientists at Yale to translate very, very interesting scientific ideas into burgeoning companies. And that's not an easy task, to be honest with you. Fleshing something out from an academic point of view, with the intent being to write publications or to get grant funding is a very, very different kettle of fish than you actually translating the idea into something pragmatic that will help patients and, thus, will incite investors. So a lot of us are helping to advise such academics and we're starting to see some new ideas actually turning into burgeoning companies, which is awesome. In terms of access to capital, you know, money doesn't really know any geographic boundaries. And so it's not like anyone really cares. If you have a good idea, they don't care if the good idea happens to be fleshed out in New Haven versus being fleshed out in Cambridge, Massachusetts or in South San Francisco or in Timbuktu, to be honest with you. A good idea is a good idea. And smart money will follow good ideas. And like I said, we have $34 million invested in us, to date, starting in 2015 a successful series B round with 21 million coming in in November of 2018. And it just isn't an issue at all. And I would love to be part of a continued evolution of New Haven . . . Connecticut . . . as a biotech hub. There's actually no reason why what has been achieved in other places like Cambridge, Massachusetts, and South San Francisco couldn't be achieved here. And I think we're already, with Biohaven and Arvinas's success, and I think, our success, our evolving success, I think that, things are going really well.

John Simboli:

As you stepped back in that ring from the core of the CEOs whom you know, which organizations can you plug into and plug out of on a regional basis? Are there organizations that are helpful to help build that community?

Doug Manion:

So we have worked with Connecticut Innovation, so they're terrific. And I may have this wrong, but my understanding is that the state of Connecticut took public money and basically imbued them with a certain amount of it and then they basically take that money to help to seed companies here in Connecticut. So they were one of the groups that participated in the series A financing round, which was really appreciated. They have very favorable loans to actually help to defray the cost of a renovation that we're currently doing. A representative from CT Innovation actually sits as an observer on our board and is very helpful. So, we have found that to be terrific and I know that they're doing a lot of good for burgeoning companies here in the state of Connecticut. So that's a great example.

:

We're a Yale spinout. The IP that we actually have, was initially generated at Yale, at David Spiegel's lab. So we have a very, very close relationship with a variety of different people at Yale. Obviously academics, including David, but also their business development people and other academics. We leveraged the very, very strong kind of clinical expertise of Yale oncologists in terms of helping to hone our thinking regarding the cancers that we're directing our discovery and development against, so that's been a terrific relationship as well. And then there is, Bio has a Connecticut Division, which we interface with. And of course, there was kind of a regional, group as well that we also use quite a bit.

John Simboli:

Five minutes ago you were saying, you know, I really wanted to do this thing. I really didn't want to have to go to Cambridge to do it. What was the draw for Connecticut for you?

Doug Manion:

So I moved here in 2005 with my family. And so my daughter was three years old at the time that we moved here. And so she lived her whole life here. She's now 17, she's going to high school here in Madison, Connecticut, which is where I live, and so those are pretty big milestones in someone's life, you know, to see their daughter go through all of all of this stuff. So, I have just learned to love it here. I love being on the shore. I love the weather here. I'm a Canadian. I used to live in Boston. I really like the seasons. So it's a really nice place to live. But also I have a competitive streak in me, and I don't understand why Connecticut is not being more successful vis a vis some of the nearby, states. And so I really like the idea of us competing significantly more with New York and significantly more with Massachusetts. And even with California. All of the substrate in this, you know, we have tons of smart people. We've got tons of entrepreneurial people, it's a beautiful place to live and to raise a family and to have fun with your life. So I don't see any reason in the world why Connecticut cannot thrive as much as all those other places. And it's kind of exciting to me to think that I might have a significant contribution to be made in that space.

John Simboli:

Thanks, Doug for speaking with me this morning.

Doug Manion:

My pleasure.