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Living Our Values at Aurion Biotech

We’re a new company, formed just over 18 months ago. Early on, the founding team had an offsite meeting, to hash out our mission, vision and values. If you’ve ever been through this process, you know it goes one of two ways.

Either it can “stick” – that is, people really resonate with the words, and those words and behaviors can take root into your emerging culture and flourish.

Or not.

Eighteen months into Aurion Biotech, I’m delighted to see that these words are sticking. In fact, they’ve embedded into our people: I see evidence every day. Our team lives, breathes and embodies our values of grit, stewardship and transformation. Every day. Aurionians are inspired by our mission: to restore vision to millions of patients with our life-changing regenerative therapies.

A recent example from last week illustrates the inspiring work of this team. It’s worth sharing, especially as we all look forward to a well-deserved Labor Day weekend:

We are in the thick of preparations to submit an IND, in order to initiate clinical trials in the US. One pre-clinical study has been especially thorny to schedule, conduct and complete with the vendor. Turns out that even the world of pre-clinical development was upended by Covid, causing ongoing supply chain shortages, unpredictable inventory gaps, over-scheduled third-party labs, and not enough specialists to perform procedures.

We like our vendor, so I won’t complain. But we’ve been sorely challenged by logistics problems and their collective impact on this particular study (as straightforward as it should have been).

The heroes / heroines of this story are my own team. I marvel at our principal scientist / project manager who just won’t take no for an answer. She is relentless (and relentlessly polite) in her efforts to keep the project on track, meeting every logistical hiccup with a work-around, and helping to problem-solve with the vendor. Her grit is extraordinary.

Her herculean efforts have been matched with a team-wide effort from other Aurionians. The vendor struggled with conflicting surgeon schedules, so our head of clinical affairs tapped one of our KOLs to perform these procedures. Our scientists pitched in to prepare OR materials and lab supplies. When summer thundershowers prevented direct flights to the lab venue, the scientific team drove more than 300 miles at the last minute, to ensure the supplies would arrive and the procedures would occur on time.

The stewardship demonstrated by our people (looking out for each other, offering to help before they were even asked), their transformational thinking (creative problem-solving despite all the unexpected roadblocks), and of course their grit in overcoming all obstacles to complete the study was really inspiring.

Most days, I wake up and feel very lucky to work with such smart, dedicated (and fun-loving) people at Aurion Biotech. In the past week, my gratitude and awe for these exceptional people has grown even more. Theirs is a well-earned Labor Day holiday.