Bio: Lee A. Jones, CEO and co-founder of Rebiotix Inc.
Lee Jones, CEO and co-founder of Rebiotix Inc., is an experienced medical technology executive and serial entrepreneur. With deep experience in the medical devices industry and in managing and advising academic scientists on commercialization efforts, Rebiotix marks her first foray into biotechnology. She is leading a fast-paced effort to develop a new way of treating disease through Microbiota Restoration Therapy (MRT). The company’s first MRT is a biologic drug targeted at recurrent Clostridium difficile infection.
Q. Why did you to leave the corporate world and become an entrepreneur?
A. I think I was always an entrepreneur. I fit into small, fast moving corporate cultures better than large bureaucratic ones and prefer to set my own corporate culture.
Q. What have been some of the biggest challenges in being a CEO?
A. Having to be responsible for all the decisions that get made that affect the company whether or not I am involved with them can be challenging. Also, as a CEO, you have to try to see three steps ahead to avoid embarrassing failure. Communication can also be difficult. You have to make sure that everyone understands our organizational goals so that we can move quickly.
Q. How has your background in medical devices influenced your work in biotechnology?
A. I know the general business requirements for bringing a therapeutic product to the market. Because I know the steps, translating that into biotechnology has been easier than if I had no background in medical products.
Q. What are some of the surprises and unexpected events you have encountered?
A. Working in biotechnology required learning a new vocabulary, developing a whole new business network, and learning about new types of deal structures. It has taken more work to “learn the business” than I expected.
Q. What kind of advice would you give other women seeking leadership positions in biotechnology fields?
A. Network. Be clear about your goals. Ask for what you want.