2018 was a year in which we saw explosive growth at Mimetas. After such a hectic and promising year, it is important to take a moment to sit down and recap some of the highlights. Today, we sit down with our CEOs, Jos and Paul. In this conversation, you will read their thoughts about the Mimetas culture, corporate dynamics, amazing new products, and the strengths they perceive in each other.
What are the biggest accomplishments from this past year Which one are you the proudest of and why Jos I think by far the biggest accomplishment is the Series B investment which was closed in March of this year That was 165 million euros which is unprecedented in the organ-on-a-chip world Paul Absolutely A second great accomplishment is the fact that we hired about 30 new employees including 6 director positions That is a huge amount of people that we managed to include into the Mimetas structure quite smoothly We did not run into complete organizational chaos we still run as we have always run We selected the right people that are compatible with our corporate culture which is a huge accomplishment and something I am proud of How did you manage to retain the Mimetas culture Paul We trusted our instincts and we stayed close to ourselves Another important aspect is that we hired the right people We selected them for compatibility Interestingly our directors do a lot of the hiring as well and they also select people who are compatible with the company It comes down to us choosing people that recognize good people as well Jos Yes that is a good point Some people have stayed with us for about 5 years or something and they took the company values to heart and translated and propagated it in the company We are less involved than we used to be and its so nice to see that everything keeps moving in the right direction Its like picking a flowerbed and making a new one We set the pace by selecting the rights ones at the start You can only be as good as the people who you select and who they select in turn Thats very important What goals are we aiming to hit in the upcoming year Jos We have a lot of goals I think you can say we have been preparing for growth and we are not finished Because of financing we can bring in new people and put them in the right place We are still working on giving these people the right information so they can keep delivering good work The first item on the list for next year is a tremendous growth in plate revenue Right now all the systems are in place to start funding that We will be training more people and we will be producing more plates Everything will scale with that activity Paul I think our challenge is to get the OrganoPlate in each and every cell culture lab in the world In a year we should make it so that the OrganoPlate is an essential part of every cell culture lab Another important goal is to follow up with some fantastic new products that are in the pipeline and close to launch We have huge expectations for the products but we are sadly not allowed to disclose any information Our new marketing department would beat me up Jos On top of that what I find really exciting is that we have been developing biology for 4 years not only the hardware We have seen many good models and results and happy customers Now we are on the verge of finding the pinnacle of biological content We dont work only on having the best plate but also the best in everything involved with cell culture We deliver the combination of our existing plates new plates and new biology How is Mimetas going to change as a company in the upcoming year and what will that accomplish Paul We are currently transitioning from a start-up to a scale-up company That is at times quite difficult The most important change we will be making is the way people perceive Mimetas We are not just a cool start-up with great technology We are the company that sells amazing hardware that people use in the lab every day It is a daily thing in the lab-life to work with Mimetas products Thats the change we are aiming for That is an important change for the outside Of course Mimetas will change on the inside as well but I hope we can maintain the culture and the people and how they function Otherwise if this company becomes boring I would really dislike it Jos To be fair The Boring company is really successful However we are not like a huge company with thousands of people working for us From our perspective we are big we are scaling up We aim to make the company seem small from the inside out The immediate environment we work in is in fairly small teams We do not want to create kingdoms but just people that lead departments that are made up by multiple teams that work together well We want to keep a very small feel to the company What will stay largely the same and why Jos Im afraid we are going to be in the same building Paul I hope not though Jos I think thats a difficult question Some very fundamental things have been changing all the time However some things do not change at all such as the people who carry our culture You can only deal with difficult circumstances which are always there when you have a firm fundament that does not change For the most part that firm fundament consists of our employees which are truly the greatest support of the company Paul I would summarize it as great people fun and cutting-edge science and technology What would you recommend to a new scientist starting out with 3D cell culture Jos First things first buy an OrganoPlate Paul That is exactly my thought Jos We are hardly unbiased there I think the people that start to do 3D cell culture should be willing to reboot their systems As a developmental biologist I am always amazed by how things just work in an embryo Cells always end up in the right place it is 999 foolproof In traditional 2D cell culture it is much more difficult Moving from 2D to 3D you have to wipe your expectations You need to completely start from scratch and rethink how you do biology I am totally convinced that the world is on the edge of making a huge leap in biology One of the crucial aspects of that step is that we are going to 3D cell culture Paul Just jump on it full-blown So many technologies are better now than they were a few years ago You are wasting your time by going back too far If you want to make a difference go to the best of the best right now Jos Thats right When you want to sequence you buy a recent sequencing machine That is also true in this case An OrganoPlate might look less impressive than a sequencer but it is still the same principle What new products will Mimetas have to offer our clients in the upcoming year Paul The OrganoTEER which enables electric measurements in tubules in all 40 wells in parallel That product will get a full-blown launch soon It will definitely be the best instrument available The OrganoTEER is quite disruptive for the field because you get rid of all the artificial membranes Jos We will also launch a new type of OrganoPlate that enables vascularization of tissues I cant say too much but it will support standard 3D cell culture stem cell technologies patient materials and a wealth of new applications that we have not even thought of We have great expectations of the field that this product is going to create Also the world is going to see the first OrganoPlate that is assay-ready which means that the tissues are already growing in there From our perspective that is less spectacular but for the outside world you will be able to buy a plate with fully developed human tissues thats almost unimaginable Everything is already there It is a unique step forward What is the future of tissue culture and how are we going to get there Paul I think there are two sides to this Firstly get rid of the old quickly So many habits got into cell culture that were very rational in the time they were introduced With the tremendous increase in knowledge that cell culture has seen these habits have become redundant but seem to be very stubborn We need to be fast since we are in a revolution in cell culture So many things are changing in the whole world All protocols that are created now will be redundant in three years Jos 2D culture will still be here but more for a plasmid prep and other specific purposes From my perspective 3D should get more like biology self-driven and self-organizing We need to be able to ask the right questions to these self-organizing tissues And of course on the OrganoPlate Could you tell me what you have learned from each other these past years Jos I can start I think I have learned a lot from the way that Paul keeps pursuing anything he deems important right now with unwavering energy We are quite different and we have very different styles I am sometimes focused on too many things and it makes me a bit envious that he is able to focus hard on one thing I have picked it up a little bit although Ill never be the same Paul There are definitely things we learned from each other There are also things that I do not want to learn from Jos and Im happy I dont have the quality but I am thankful that Jos has those qualities Jos is world-champion in overcoming and mastering difficult situations involving emotions and egos He is able to smooth things out and proceed towards something final We are big trees that catch a lot of wind Jos communication skills are great in overcoming that Jos can be much harder and tougher in some situations and he takes bolder measures than I tend to take though it might seem different on the outside That is something I try to copy although I am still a beginner Things I dont necessarily need to copy but happy with Jos having them I focus hard on one thing but you need to water all the plants in your garden It is important that we balance each other out If you focus so hard you tend to forget all the other plants Jos never loses sight of the garden We have a pretty good complementarity Jos I think that the complementarity makes us better than each person individually