Your company makes a test that
can measure protein levels in single cells. Why is this important?
Proteins are the functional molecules
of the cell. Measuring them is vital to
understanding and targeting disease.
But they’re much more challenging
to measure than DNA because they
can’t be amplified—you have to measure the molecules that are actually
in the cell.
Measuring proteins in single cells
could help us understand a tumor.
Are all the cells in a tumor going to
be targeted by a drug, or do some of
them lack the drug target? Which
cells will metastasize?
Who uses your test?
Right now we’re focused on the
research market. Before we started
our product development, we
interviewed over 100 biomedical
researchers to find out what applications people were interested in,
and designed our hardware to meet
You say you followed the “lean
startup” model, which comes from
the software industry. Why did you
You see a lot of academic publications that are innovative, but they
never make it out of the lab. One barrier is the willingness of investors to
fund early-stage biotech companies.
Life sciences startups can be incredibly expensive. We did it with only
$1.8 million in private and public
funding and seven employees. We
were acquired by ProteinSimple [a
division of a public company called
Bio-Techne] this spring, after two
and a half years.
Are you already antsy to start
I’m an entrepreneur at heart,
and in the Bay Area it’s hard not
to be distracted by shiny things.
But it’s important for me to make
sure this technology is successful.
—Katherine Bourzac T I M
did it with only
This bioengineer figured out how
to handle a key challenge facing