Welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview with Jo Varshney, the visionary CEO of VeriSIM Life. In this captivating discussion, Varshney unveils the transformative power of AI in revolutionizing drug development.
In this interview, Varshney shares insights into the company’s mission, unparalleled innovations, and strategic collaborations.
Discover how VeriSIM Life is reshaping the future of healthcare by harnessing the power of AI to mitigate risks, reduce costs, and bring breakthrough treatments to patients.
Join us as we delve into the world of biopharmaceutical innovation with Jo Varshney, and witness the remarkable advancements that AI is bringing to the field of drug development.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Jo Varshney: Pleasure to be here! As someone who was introduced to the biopharmaceutical industry at a young age by my parents, I developed a passion for science and technology much earlier than most.
Being an only child and growing up in India, my parents made it very clear that I had to work hard at my studies in order to be at the top in school.
This instilled a thirst for knowledge in me which would later allow me to acquire skills in computer programming and visualizing data to tap into its value.
After gaining my PH.D. in Comparative Oncology/Genomics from the University of Minnesota as well as graduate degrees in Comparative Pathology from Penn State, and Computational Sciences from UC San Francisco, I recognized the gaps in AI and machine learning and statistical data and how they were being applied to translational medicine.
I felt that harnessing the power that they both bring to the table was where the most potential could lie. So, I took my experience and understanding and created VeriSIM Life, a drug development technology company that accelerates and de-risks pharmaceutical research and development.
In the past year, what is the greatest business achievement you’d like to celebrate with your team? Please share the details of that success.
Jo Varshney: Earlier this year we signed a co-development agreement with Mayo Clinic to team up with their drug development team on several new therapies.
This is cutting-edge research that we are hopeful will be moving into clinical evaluations soon.
While we can’t disclose the nature or status of this research at this time, it has the potential to impact millions of patients, so we’re looking forward to seeing its impact on the future of healthcare.
We also recently announced a partnership with Clarivate which now allows us to provide our clients with additional, world-class capabilities and R&D insights to de-risk and accelerate drug discovery even further and avoid failures during clinical trials.
What advice do you wish you had received when you started your business journey and what do you intend on improving in the next quarter?
Jo Varshney: One of the mistakes we made, and I think it’s common for a lot of start-ups with technical founders, was leaning too much into building the product at the expense of really investing in commercialization.
You can’t just say, “If I build the best platform, the customers will come–everyone will use it.” Because it doesn’t work that way. This is especially true when you take for granted the non-scalable ways you sell to customers early on.
So now we are really focused on predictable, repeatable and scalable sales processes–including being very refined in the way we hire, to how we train and coach.
Online business keeps on surging higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for the year to come and how are you capitalizing on the tidal wave?
Jo Varshney: Well, you left out one really incredible driver of a new tech tidal wave–and that’s generative AI like ChatGPT! This has actually been a huge unlocking event for us.
If you were to sit on calls with our team and pharma clients, you’d often hear a lot of skepticism. But since ChatGPT has gone “mainstream”, people are having an “ah-hah” moment with artificial intelligence.
Now there’s less skepticism and more conviction in AI’s potential. We’re able to spend less time validating the technology and more time digging into the application to a client’s specific challenge.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
Jo Varshney: The macro-economic climate is still the number one concern I see right now. Uncertainty breeds hesitation.
I’m extremely optimistic about the future for VeriSIM Life and the biotech industry. But a lot of biotech companies are hurting.
The Silicon Valley Bank closure was a pretty big punch in the gut for a lot of us, even though the government prevented what would have been a catastrophe for innovation.
These challenges motivate me to continue building the company, because I am confident that we can help the biotech industry realize the promise of their science without having to spend so much money on physical research.
We want to provide biotech companies with the insights they need to go to their shareholders and get that next fundraise faster and easier.
2020, 2021, and 2022 threw a lot of curve balls into businesses on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past years, how can businesses thrive in 2023? What lessons have you learned and what advice would you share?
Jo Varshney: I think if anything, the past couple of years has taught us courage–courage to work through a pandemic, courage to endure financial stress, and courage to take on hard problems.
I know we’re not alone in this! So, the one piece of advice I would share is to lean into that courage with your customers.
One of our customers recently challenged us to take on a project we really didn’t know we could handle. It was in an emerging area of biologic therapy that frankly our scientists had limited experience with.
But knowing that our tech is strong and that our talent is capable of much more than what they’ve already accomplished, we collectively found the courage to deliver for our customer. And they were blown away with the results. Be courageous!
What does “success” in 2023 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Jo Varshney: Our mission at VeriSIM Life is to accelerate the drug discovery and development process so that patients get access to life saving therapies faster and at a lower cost.
Along the way, by using our technology, clients will also reduce animal experimentation. Success this year will be driving value to our customers in their pipeline and building new commercial partnerships.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Jo Varshney for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Jo Varshney or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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