Marin Biologic Laboratories, Inc., Founder CEO/President – Tania Weiss Ph.D.
March 2020 is Women’s History Month and March 8th International Women’s Day. It is appropriate to acknowledge and celebrate the career and success of Dr Tania Weiss, who bravely started a woman owned business in the biotechnology sector.
A consummate professional and with an entrepreneurial spirit, Dr. Weiss founded Marin Biologic Laboratories, Inc. (“Marin Bio”) in 1995 to apply her enthusiasm for good scientific process to benefit her clients. Dr. Weiss is a proponent for balance as a key to success and a good CRO is all about balance and finesse, therefore her laboratory attracts a diverse client base.
Dr. Weiss completed her degree work from undergraduate to doctoral at the University of Michigan. She finished her post-doctoral work at the University of Chicago and Stanford University. While she was at Stanford, she fell in love with the Bay Area.
“I love California and Marin County in particular. It made sense to start a laboratory here, as California nurtures entrepreneurship and has a growing pharmaceutical industry. As I moved from working in cell differentiation to pharmaceuticals, the Bay Area had a high affinity.”
After years in academia and while she was on the research faculty at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) she had an epiphany, that starting her own company was eminently practical. “You just can’t live through grants alone. That’s a difficulty all academic scientists share, we must write grants to pay our way and with funding at less than 17%, grants just don’t offer a stable income.”
In addition to that reality, Dr. Weiss took advantage of the opportunity.
“I consulted for ten companies, on scientific projects, marketing, setting up an immunology service laboratory and report writing. I met a loan officer who believed in women entrepreneurs and in supporting us. With the help of that loan and with my consulting background, I made the move from academia to private industry and stayed in California too and so my adventure began….”
“Our very first project was purifying an antibody. Today, we offer quite an array of services that cross multiple scientific fields, since projects are typically not exclusive to one area. We’ve grown over the last twenty-five years, we purchased the building for our laboratory eleven years ago and completed a total renovation to meet our requirements.”
“We focus on the science and provide services that support the scientific process. Our scientists have diverse backgrounds in cell and molecular biology, immunology, biochemistry, and microbiology. We are flexible and offer diverse and innovative approaches to client projects from basic research to performing PK and clinical trials to drug release projects. Since assays are critical to drug development most of our clients request assay development and validation, in order to analyze their samples. This enables our scientists to be intimately familiar with the assays. Working in a CRO keeps us cutting edge with many diverse aspects of science.”
After years of experience here are a few simple truths:
- Work pragmatically, effectively and efficiently.
- Communicate simply, coherently and concisely.
- Assumption is the mother of all mistakes and always over communicate.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help and work collaboratively. Manage individuals and to enable them to contribute to the team.
- Learn to listen and hear.
- Evaluate the work flow, make your space efficient so your scientists can be efficient.
- Treat your people well and learn to live with their strengths and weaknesses by creating the job that fits them rather than trying to fit them into a mold.
- If you are developing a drug, be ready for a lot of trial and error – approximately, 1 in 5,000 drugs in development make it to market. It may be yours, but it may not, be prepared!
- Join groups and communities.
- If you haven’t yet, sign up for a speaking course. It is always important that you are understood, and you need to be aware of how your information is received.
- “Running a CRO has expanded our services and allowed us to evolve and offer our clients the latest technologies. We hire scientists who can literally think outside of the box. We are creative with how we approach the science and we pay attention to details that often lead to better outcomes for our clients. And we are very good at the art and science of cell culture. I have always found science fascinating – the problems are always diverse; every project is different and our clients are always different in their needs and communication style. It is challenging to run a CRO. That’s what keeps me excited, and what keeps me coming back to the lab!”
Dr. Weiss is an avid musician and plays trumpet and euphonium in two bands, the Corte Madera Town Band and the Sewer Band (the Las Gallinas Sanitary District Non-Marching Band). She also serves on the board for the Mayflower Chorus in San Rafael. Dr. Weiss is an expert skier and spends time with her family in Tahoe skiing and hiking.