Biotechnology Leadership Series

– Hi, I’m here with Brent Barnes, the CEO of LBT Innovations, to discuss some of his leadership perspectives of the sector. Brent, what are some of
your favorite aspects of being involved in the biotech sector? – Yeah, I think for me, fundamentally, this sector’s about helping people. And whether it’s a drug
or a diagnostic device, or whatever it might be, everyday I wake up, anyway,
knowing that something that we’re doing is in some
way going to help a patient somewhere around the world, I
think, which is really great. I worked with Cochlear for 11 years, and part of that opportunity
I had was restoring hearing for those patients who
were profoundly deaf, and I think really, that’s
what energized my excitement for the sector and for the industry. And seeing an activation where
a child, or an adult even, being able to hear for the first time, is quite an emotional thing. Translating that into
where I am at now with LBT, we’re in the diagnostic
piece for pathology labs, and while there’s a bit of a distance with respect to seeing
that direct influence, we still very much know that if we’re able to get
results back to doctors, to deliver patient care, that’s also going to
help people get better, and so, that’s really
my key motivating factor for why I really love the industry. – Okay. What are some of the most important traits a leader should have in the sector. – One of the things about
this technology in general, is the amount of time it takes, you got to go through the clinical trials, and there’s a high degree of complexity, and so I think, given that
these things are many years, I presented this morning, and told the LBT story
about an eight-year journey, from invention through to
early commercialization. So having that strategic long-term view, I think is a really important attribute that leaders in the business should have. – What’s the most challenging
thing you’ve dealt with as a leader in the sector? – We’re a small biotech company, market cap about 30 million, and part of that is just managing capital, and importantly, raising money. And I think as a small micro-cap company, that’s something that
keeps me up at night, and one that I think is
a bit of a challenge. – What are you proud of achieving? – Look, I think if I can put
it from a company perspective, when LBT received FDA clearance in 2016, that was on the back of
many years of development, and a fantastic milestone for the company. And it was part of a de novo submission, meaning there’s no predicate that existed. And so really, what that
translates to, it’s a global first, and we now have an improved indication for the use of our product in the US as a Class-2 medical device. – What leaders do you admire and why? – Yeah, I’ll relate it
back to my Cochlear days, and I was quite fortunate enough to work with three CEOs of Cochlear during my time of eleven years, so Chris Roberts being the first, then Chris Smith, and then Dig Howitt, who’s the current CEO of Cochlear, and when I was four
years working in the US, Chris Smith was the
president at that time, and so, I worked with him in
a bit of a different capacity, and then Dig Howitt I worked for directly, when he was running Asia Pacific, and the way that they were able to really provide some mentoring
and guidance for me, I feel very fortunate, being leaders of such a
large business in Cochlear. – What is the best piece of
advice you’ve been given? – This whole thing about
taking longer and costing more, early on I was told the
advice, and I’m like, “Oh I know, but in this case
it’s going to be different.” But really, it’s true, and there are long lead
times for this business, and you still need to have a cost base, you still need to have a
schedule that you work through, but just acknowledging,
having some of that buffering, and trying to be truly
realistic as best that you can. – Well thanks Brent, I really appreciate you taking
the time out of your day to provide some insights into
your views on leadership, I really appreciate it. Thanks very much.
– Thanks so much. Alright, cheers.