06 Oct 2023 Aspire to Tech – Aspect Biosystems
Tell me about your company. When were you founded? What do you do? And where are you located?
We are pioneering the development of bioprinted tissue therapeutics, which are implantable cell therapies designed to replace, repair, or supplement biological function that has been lost or damaged due to disease. These tissues have the potential to transform the treatment of currently incurable diseases such as diabetes and various genetic and acquired liver disorders. We are creating these next generation therapies by applying our full-stack tissue therapeutic platform, which combines our proprietary bioprinting technology, therapeutic cells, biomaterials, and computational design.
Aspect Biosystems was founded out of an interdisciplinary collaboration between medicine and engineering at the University of British Columbia in 2013. We moved off campus in 2017 and have built integrated facilities in Vancouver totaling approximately 50,000 square feet.
What is the big problem that your company is tackling?
At Aspect, we are focused on treating the root cause of currently incurable diseases. Cells offer an incredible therapeutic potential to do this, but solutions to restore lost or damaged organ functions require more complexity than cells alone. Our full-stack tissue therapeutic platform possesses the ability to move one order higher from cells into tissues that can capture that complexity and tackle the treatment of serious diseases. By redefining cell therapy, we are pioneering and owning an entirely new category of curative medicines: bioprinted tissue therapeutics.
As an example: In the case of the 300,000+ Canadians living with type 1 diabetes, the pancreas is unable to produce the insulin required to process glucose. Our bioprinted tissue therapeutics are designed to restore this missing function, enabling insulin independence for those living with type 1 diabetes without the need for immune suppression. This would be a gamechanger for the patients and families affected by type 1 diabetes.
What are you most proud of in terms of company Milestones?
In April 2023, we announced a partnership with biopharma giant Novo Nordisk to develop bioprinted tissue therapeutics for diabetes and obesity. This partnership, worth over US$2.6 billion, marks the largest-ever deal in the bioprinting industry and the largest preclinical deal in Canada. This partnership is a testament to the technology, people, and mission at Aspect and we are proud to be working with Novo Nordisk on a collaboration with such tremendous potential to transform the lives of millions of people living with chronic disease. And in Sept 2023, Aspect Biosystem was awarded both the Gamechanger – Ambition and Company of the Year – Scale awards at BC Tech’s 2023 Technology Impact Awards acknowledging this tremendous milestone achievement.
How would you describe your company culture?
The uniqueness of our company culture stems from the incredible diversity of our team. Not just diversity of demographics, but the broad diversity of educational backgrounds and expertise. We have scientists, engineers, therapeutic developers, and experienced industry professionals who all come with unique skill sets and perspectives. This makes for really interesting collaboration, team interactions, and problem-solving, and creates a vibrant energy in our workplace.
Aspect’s work environment is dynamic and evolving, where no two days are the same. We emphasize the importance of multi-directional communication and ensure that people from all corners of the organization are empowered to bring their questions and creative ideas to the table.
What are three words you would use to describe your company culture?
- Curious – Aspect is full of curious people who like to engage in solving complex problems and tackling big challenges.
- Mission-driven – while we all have important roles to play as individuals, we are driven by the knowledge that we are working towards a common mission to make a meaningful impact.
- Confidently humble – we are a team of bold yet grounded people who recognize our strengths and are confident in the ability for our cutting-edge science and technology to make a difference in the world.
What is it like to work for your company, and why is it a great place to work?
We are a collection of people who are driven by a common overarching goal to improve the lives of those living with serious diseases. While we each contribute in different and evolving ways, it is only with our collective efforts that we are able to overcome the challenges that we will face in pursuit of our vision.
The mission always comes first, and we prioritize the science and technology to get us there. But we are also focused on building relationships within and across teams which makes for a dynamic and energizing environment. Aspect is full of interesting and caring people – people who care about the mission and also for each other. We enjoy getting together for monthly socials, games in the park, and regular all-hands meetings.
Ultimately, the best part about working at Aspect is feeling the impact of your contributions. Feeling that you are making a meaningful impact as an individual to a mission that would make a meaningful impact in the world.
Are you hiring?
Yes, we are looking for people with a broad range of skill sets and experiences who can bring their own creative approach to how we tackle big problems.
We are building an anchor company in Vancouver and are looking for best-in-class talent to join our bold mission. Join us as we work together to create bioprinted tissue therapeutics that will transform the lives of people living with serious disease.
Visit our careers page to learn more: www.aspectbiosystems.com/careers