We briefly introduced you to Spectrus last month and promised more in February. Now from “Team Spectrus”, is an introduction to their company and some entertaining facts about the three partners.
“Spectrus, a Massachusetts LLC formed in 2017, is the brainchild of Enrique Arevalo, Ph.D. with the unwavering support of Michael Ziebell, Ph.D. and Andres McKenzie, M.S., the three of whom form Team Spectrus (left to right in photo – Michael, Enrique, Andres). Spectrus provides full suite proteomics services coupled with advanced analytics. We transform rich data sets by running in house experiments on incoming biological samples into actionnable reports. These reports then inform on drug discovery research projects. Enrique had the notion that the so-called “contract research organization” service model in biopharma drug discovery is ripe for disruption. What some providers lack, says Enrique, is a sense of ownership that is present when chasing one’s own dream. If there is one word that Spectrus holds dear, it is the word “Partnership” because that defines how we want to engage our clients and we want our clients to think of us. Indeed, within the first 6 months of business we landed seven profitable contracts which suggests that Enrique’s original notion is correct — we are in the right place at the right time.”
Read on for the bios of Team Spectrus:
Enrique grew up in place where the average temperature all year round is 85 ℉ with humidity at least 90%. When the temperature drops to 75 ℉ people will use a jacket and some even will wear a scarf. A kid in those places will never talk about how hot it is, rain showers are received as blessings from the sky unless one is dress up for a special occasion. Coming to the Northeast of United States one of my first confusions was realizing that in no time during the day my own shadow will disappear under my feet. Back in the rainforest shadow disappearance signifies twelve noon. Since I was located in an area very close to the equatorial line.
My interest in Chemistry was sparked by strange confluence of events that happened in my city of Iquitos in Peru. A polish entrepreneur happen to start a cable company in the middle of the jungle. Because of that I had the rare opportunity to watch Carl Sagan and another PBS shows such as 3-2-1 Contact. In the back of my house I would try to replicate the experiments showed on TV (except the Ben Franklin’s kite and the key demonstration of course) but some other ones that were affordable and feasible in domestic conditions. That’s how I initiated my taste for learning, understanding natural phenomena and the state of matter. After years of learning chemistry and biochemistry here I am at NSIV. Together with my partners that share the same enthusiasm and scientific interest, we endeavor to support drug development organizations to further knowledge about human biology and to develop drugs for the better of the human race.
As a kid growing in Honduras, Andres loved to climb mango, guava and any tree that presented a challenge to him. One day he climbed his neighbor’s guava tree, saw a golden, delicious-looking guava, begging to be eaten, and ate it right there leaving the core hanging by the stem still attached to the branch. When his neighbor saw the fruit’s remains still hanging by a thread, he said in disgust “darn birds are eating my guavas again”.
Andres disliked shoes and preferred to go around barefoot as soon as he came back from school. His grandmother would yell at him all the time and tell him “those shoes are YOURS, not borrowed, go and put them on”. He’d reluctantly put them on just to take them off a few hours later. Andres learned to read at an early age and would always be found with a book or any reading material in his hand. He liked reading about people and different places in the world. Once, as a child, he read about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the destruction of the city of Pompeii and always wondered what it would be like to climb the volcano and walk through the streets of Pompeii. His wish came true as an adult on a trip to Italy. As he stood on top of the volcano overlooking its impressive crater, and later that day he walked the stone-paved ruins of the destroyed city, he remembered “Fulvius the kid from Pompeii” the article he had read so long ago. Andres came to the United States as a teenager and decided to further his education in America. He enrolled in the engineering program at UMASS Boston, but fell in love with science after his introduction to Biology course. He pursued a Bachelor’s in Biology and Chemistry, followed by a MS in Biology from Northeastern University. After several years in the industry working in the Drug Discovery, Assay Development area, Andres caught the entrepreneurial spirit and decided to join like-minded, exceptionally talented scientists to create Spectrus.
Fun Fact about Michael: Really? Are you sure you want a fun fact? OK here it is — After college Michael thought his role in life was to understand schizophrenia and find non-invasive care methods to improve the lives of persons with mental disabilities. After 9 months of work in a psychiatric hospital, he came to terms that drugs play a big role in helping those afflicted with mental illness. That realization is what drove Michael into a scientific graduate program and a postdoc in neuroscience.
Michael has a background in biophysics and computer science, and now with a gentle nudge into the startup world, he’s mastering the art of watching the balance sheet. Michael is driven by the belief that technology can solve our greatest problems (politics notwithstanding) including driving new scientific discoveries. He wants to enable the next breakthrough through leveraging automation and algorithm development to focus scientists’ efforts on that data that really matters. Michael’s entrepeneurial pursuits were preceded by 13 years in drug discovery serving as both lab scientist and workflow analyst. This combination is beneficial to the prospects of Spectrus as the company engages with the research engines of small and large companies to push the boundaries of knowledge.