I’ve had the unique position to view the Covid-19 outbreak in Seattle from two perspectives – as a long-time resident of the city, along with my wife and two teenage daughters, and as the CEO of a commercial-stage biotechnology company.
From both perspectives, I know that uncertainty and disruption can cause anxiety. We are moving quickly – at home and at work – to adjust to a new reality. More than ever before, we must be nimble, compassionate, vigilant, patient, and responsible with ourselves and others. Most importantly, we must be positive and find the silver linings that arise from this challenge: opportunities to strengthen relationships with family and friends, learn new things, and step up as leaders at work and in the community.
At home, my wife, Kristi, and I are adjusting to two teenage daughters being out of school, with online and app-based learning. We are exploring online exercise classes, taking family walks, and have dusted off games that haven’t seen the light in years. Of course, it’s a struggle to know where to draw the line on who, with and where the kids can hang out.
How can we remain focused at work? For those of us in medicine, there is no choice. To quote a colleague, “We are dealing with patients who are continuing to battle various cancers and they need us. Our doctors and customers are continuing to provide care and make their patients their top priority…our ability to get clonoSEQ to them remains important.” Adaptive has employees that need to be physically present: laboratory staff who process clinical tests and R&D teams who are advancing key discoveries about the adaptive immune system. I also plan to maintain a presence at the company to support my team, albeit within the zone guidelines that our response team has outlined.
I’ve been so impressed with the way my colleagues are handling this moment in time. Adapters are banding together, going above and beyond to do everything possible to move the business forward. We’ve assembled an exceptional cross-functional working group to ensure that we’re protecting all of our employees and maintain uptime. People make the difference and we have the most dedicated people I have ever seen.
Adaptive is in a very healthy financial position, with significant cash reserves to weather this storm. We will be smart about how we deploy these resources and we will continue to build in areas that we can. We need to act with urgency to get our products developed and out to patients. And, we are working to understand the immune response to this pandemic and potential ways in which this information can advance new solutions. We have already identified key research partners and will soon be processing samples to determine what signal we can find. We will have more to share on this soon.
I want to assure you that this will pass, we will get through it, and we will come out stronger than ever. In fact, there’s never been a more important time to deliver on our promise to change medicine and serve patients.
Please stay healthy.