Vancouver company helping to create transformative medicines
Vancouver’s Precision NanoSystems Inc. (PNI) is taking on the next era in drug development: nanomedicine. The aim is to create drugs with improved performance, reduced side effects, and new treatment strategies, like personalized medicine (where medical decisions and practices are tailored to the individual patient). However, drug researchers face significant challenges in producing nanomedicines using traditional methods.
That’s where Precision NanoSystems comes in.
They’re helping drug developers lower the barriers to developing gene and precision therapies used in oncology and rare and infectious diseases. To help them in their mission to accelerate the creation of transformative medicine, PNI has taken advantage of our Innovator Skills Initiative program — four times.
We sat down with Cathy Sindon, HR Consultant at PNI, and Sree Gayathri, a PH.D. student they hired, to find out more about their experience.
Q: What do you do and why are you passionate about it?
Cathy: We provide tools and technologies to aid disease researchers and drug developers in academia and industry by providing a complete solution for nanomedicines. This enables the development of genetic medicines to provide potentially curative treatment for rare disease, and new vaccines to address the pandemic response to infectious disease.
Q: What made you decide that the Innovator Skills Initiative was the right fit for you?
Cathy: We wanted to tap into the potential of Ph.D. students coming from B.C.’s top universities. While there are different funding sources for undergraduate co-op programs, there aren’t as many options for Ph.D. candidates. At PNI, we have a great entrepreneurial mind set. Precision NanoSystems’ R&D program is highly focused on continuous innovation making the Innovator Skills Initiative the right fit for us.
Q: How did hiring B.C. students help your business?
Cathy: Our Ph.D student Sree got to be part of launching the NanoAssemblr® Ignite™ platform. She got to design, develop, execute and validate novel nanomedicine applications and became a crucial part of the multidisciplinary team — enabling her to hone her skills in bringing a product to market and contribute as co-author to several conference abstracts. This grant has given us the unique opportunity to employ a highly skilled candidate from a Ph.D. program in BC.
Q: Why would you recommend the ISI program?
Sree: This program really helped me learn entrepreneurship skills — something I would never learn in school. The online market validation training allowed me to understand what goes on behind the scenes in launching a company and gave me an understanding of the commercialization process.
Q: What tips or advice do you have for companies looking to hire students?
Cathy: Students bring value to the workforce for any growth-driven companies in B.C. In addition to their technical contributions, students provide our scientists, product managers, engineers and other staff with valuable mentoring opportunities. This experience helps to develop a collaborative workforce and future leaders that know how to manage, lead, mentor and coach employees.
Q: What would you say to students who want to work at a tech company?
Sree: I would advise students to take advantage of this opportunity to learn how technology companies operate and how knowledge leads to innovation. Tech companies are usually very diverse, so it’s a great chance to build your professional network, find mentors and learn about future career opportunities.
Could your tech company benefit from hiring Ph.D. and Master’s students? Our ISI program give you up to $10,000 a year to hire the right talent for your team. Apply today.