Introduction – Peter Weijmarshausen

Introduction – Peter Weijmarshausen

Peter Weijmarshausen
Peter Weijmarshausen

The third and last in a series of Questions and Answers with the co-founders of Humane Genomics.

Q: Tell me a bit about yourself.

I am a serial entrepreneur and one of the co-founders of Shapeways. I am a big tech and science nerd and have too many interests to keep up with. Some of the things I am passionate about, besides Humane Genomics, are: astrophysics, internet of things (Raspberry Pi’s), writing software in various different languages, brewing beer, cooking, growing pepper plants and (online) car racing. Last but not least, I am the proud father of two amazing girls.

Q: Why did you decide to become a founder of Humane Genomics?

I love cool technology, a good challenge and I love helping people. When I got in touch with Andrew again, after several years, he told me about the idea of Humane Genomics, making synthetic, or as I like to call them, artificial viruses. The first application of our artificial viruses would be as cancer therapies. Immediately, I became very interested. We are using state of the art technology, we are boldly going where no one has gone before and when we succeed we are going to help lots of people. I knew I had to join and help make this company and its mission a reality. 

Q: Why is your background a great fit?

I have built several companies before. I have learned a lot as a founder and CEO of my previous companies and I hope (and think) that I can apply what I have learned at Humane Genomics. It is actually a lot of fun starting a company again and I already notice that quite a few things are a lot easier now than they have been before.

My background in applied Physics has trained me to solve complicated problems. As such, I bring an engineering angle to the science in our company. It makes working with Chad, our Chief Science Officer a lot of fun.

Also, I believe the new generation of biotech companies need a lot of software and I have experience in designing and building software. I will share a few of the things we are building in a following post.

Last, Andrew likes to point out that Humane Genomics, just like Shapeways, transforms bits to atoms and he is right. We are digitally designing viruses and then making them real. I have seen the challenges of such a process before and it is remarkable how similar the challenges and concepts of 3D printing and DNA synthesis are.

Q: What is your role and what are you working on?

As CEO of the company, my most important role is to make sure there is always cash in the company. I am continuously meeting new investors, working on our pitch and thinking about how to have enough money to make our vision come true. Next comes recruiting. We are a small team now, but we obviously need to find many more enthusiastic smart people to join our team. Currently, I am also our head of product and head of software engineering. I wrote our own DNA editor in Javascript and PHP and am currently working on a digital image processing tool to track growth rates of our viruses. More on this as said in a future post.

Last, I take care of all matters legal and financial. 

As the company grows, I know that most of these roles will be taken up by professionals who will help us get even better. For now, I love the multiple disciplines of my day-to-day.

Q: What are you most excited about?

We are working on therapies for a disease (cancer) that causes a lot of grief for so many people. Unfortunately, almost everyone has lost someone to cancer. If we can create a breakthrough and help a significant percentage of cancer patients I would be thrilled. I am convinced that we have a truly unique approach, with a lot of potential and I cannot wait to see the next set of results come in from our lab.

Artificial viruses have even more potential than making great cancer therapies. They can be engineered to help treat multiple resistant bacteria infections. They can be used to make therapies for genetic diseases and more. 

I am thrilled to be part of the frontiers of science and part of an awesome team.

 


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