Turnstone Biologics Inc.: Turning Ideas Into Commercialization

Ottawa S2BN Post-event blog

On Tuesday February 26th, 2019, the Ottawa chapter of the Science to Business Network was pleased to host a talk by Dr. Chantal Martin, Group Leader of Analytical Development and Quality Control at Turnstone Biologics.

Founded in 2015, Turnstone Biologics is a privately-held immuno-oncology company primarily focused on the development of viral immunotherapies simultaneously targeting the immune response and modulating the tumour micro-environment.

Speaking to a diverse audience of trainees representing the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, and Algonquin College, Dr. Martin delivered an engaging talk describing her journey from academia to industry, information on the scientific work completed at Turnstone Biologics, as well as her perspective on being part of a biotechnology start-up in Ottawa.

Key points of Dr. Martin’s talk

  • While helpful, it is not mandatory to have a background in a scientific startup’s particular field of study. While candidates with an academic background in oncolytic virology hold a competitive advantage when applying for research positions at Turnstone Biologics, candidates who have acquired relevant work experience (i.e. knowledge of viral techniques) would also be considered for relevant opportunities.

  • Having the appropriate technical skills for the position does not always mean you will be the best candidate. How you fit in with the team is also very important, especially in a small company.

  • Scientists working in industry are not restricted in the types of experiments they can perform, compared to academia. Dr. Martin highlighted that the focus is not on the specific work performed, rather the ability to answer a specific research question.

  • At Turnstone Biologics, cross-functional collaboration is key. Members from different functional teams (e.g. research, regulatory, clinical, etc.) often work together to identify issues and solve problems.

  • Individuals interested in scientific positions in industry should select opportunities that align with their skills as a scientist. Certain industry positions require more creative scientists willing to think outside of the box, while others require scientists who are meticulous and value precision. Focus on your strengths as a scientist and apply to positions that require those strengths.

  • Knowledge of GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) is important in this type of industry. Dr. Martin described having to acquire GMP knowledge when tasked with getting an oncolytic virus from bench to bedside.

  • Turnstone Biologics is hiring! For more information, check out: http://turnstonebio.com/ - careers

Thank you to everyone who contributed to making this event a success and a special thanks to Dr. Chantal Martin and her Turnstone Biologics colleague, Andrew Yeh, for addressing questions and engaging with attendees!

For details on our next Ottawa Chapter S2BN event, please visit: https://www.s2bn.org/upcoming-events

Ottawa S2BN Chapter: Turnstone Biologics Inc. Event

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