Spotlight Interview: Steve Burton, CEO, ProMetic BioSciences Ltd, ProMetic BioSciences

Steve BurtonDr Burton was appointed to the position of Chief Executive Officer of ProMetic BioSciences Ltd in February 2006 having served with the company since its formation. Dr Burton has over 23 years of commercial bioprocess and company management experience.

Dr Burton gained his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, UK researching novel affinity ligands for use in protein purification. After spending 2 years as a Research Scientist with Delta Biotechnology Ltd (now Novozymes) Dr Burton joined a new start-up company Affinity Chromatography Ltd as Research Manager and, following the establishment of a successful R&D group which developed Mimetic Ligand™ adsorbents and won the Queens Award for Technological Achievement, he was appointed R&D Director.

Following the acquisition in 1999 of Affinity Chromatography Ltd by ProMetic Life Sciences Inc., Dr Burton has held a variety of positions within the company and has established numerous commercial collaborations with medical and biopharmaceutical companies.

1. Why did you decide to do a webinar with Business Review Webinars?

We were looking for an effective way to reach new customers and Business Review Webinars seemed to offer the best solution. With restrictions on travel budgets and the relatively high cost of attending conferences and associated travel time, webinars are becoming a very attractive and cost-effective alternative with the potential to reach a much wider audience than conventional seminars.

2. What are you looking forward to explaining to the audience?

ProMetic has some very innovative products and technologies which are very relevant to modern-day bio manufacturing processes. However, not everyone is aware of what ProMetic has to offer. We wish to use the webinar to explain to the audience how we can help customers develop highly effective purification processes that provide increased yields, enhanced levels of product safety and reduced cost of goods. Central to this is our ability to develop robust and inexpensive affinity adsorbents (Mimetic® Ligand adsorbents) which can be directed to the capture and purification of almost any biomolecule, especially therapeutic proteins. They can also be used for the capture and removal of trace impurities, potential contaminants and pathogens.

3. What is the ideal outcome you would like from doing the webinar? 

We would like our brand to be better recognised and to provide potential new customers with a greater understanding of our core capabilities. Of course, some actual sales leads would be good too!

4. What’s the best book you’ve ever read and would recommend?

That would have the be “Longitude” by Dava Sobel. The book tells the story of John Harrison, an engineer and clock maker who developed highly accurate time pieces as a solution to the problem of measuring longitude at sea which was a significant problem for navigators in the early eighteenth century. There are many parallels in this book with the challenges faced by modern day innovators such as resistance to new ideas and technologies, access to funding, dealing  with protectionist measures deployed by the establishment of the day and the need for focus and sheer hard graft to deliver a product which achieves the required level of performance. Ultimately this is a story of technological triumph in the face of years of adversity and the development of a product that changed the world.

5. What motivates you?

I like to succeed in what I do and develop solutions to problems. I love the challenge of taking a seemingly intractable problem and reducing it to a simple solution. If anyone wants to motivate me just tell me something I am working on cannot be done!

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