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Letter: Yes, there is cause for optimism in N.L.

Sequence Bio Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Michael S. Phillips. — Sequence Bio photo
Dr. Michael S. Phillips is the new chief scientific officer for Sequence Bio. — Sequence Bio photo

The future of Newfoundland and Labrador? Look around, it’s already here.

No one can predict the future, so when we talk about what this province will look like in the coming years, why are we often quick to believe all the negative news and ignore the positive signs around us? I don’t have the answer, but I think in order to change our potential, we first have to change our outlook.

I’m not saying the challenges aren’t real, or difficult. But, they aren’t impossible.

I’m not saying the challenges aren’t real, or difficult. But, they aren’t impossible. In Newfoundland and Labrador, we’re innovating traditional industries and developing new ones. We’re tackling our challenges with some incredible success and showing the world what we’re made of. But to keep this going, we need TO believe that what makes us different is what gives us our advantage.

I just came back from a leading biotechnology conference in San Francisco and was able to tell the story of Sequence Bio, the team we’ve gathered, and the potential of this province to industry experts and investors. Doing this filled me with pride, but it was the response that really impacted me — because I heard the same message over and over — there is no one in the world doing what we’re doing. And when we come to work in our St. John’s office day in and day out, we may not always think that we’re special, but it doesn’t mean that we aren’t.

This was reinforced to me this last week as we proudly added an international genomics expert, Dr. Michael Phillips, to our already world-class team. Michael was so impressed with the province and our participant-centric approach to research that he joined our team as our chief scientific officer. He was previously at Genomics Medicine Ireland as vice-president, genomics and is someone at the top of their field who chose us — because he believes in this province, its people and the opportunity here. And judging by the number of positive emails we’ve gotten over the past few days, the excitement is shared across our industry.

But we shouldn’t need to hear that we are succeeding from external sources to believe it. Sure, validation is great, but we need to be our own champions. Because while these type of success stories may not be obvious, they are here in companies big and small across Newfoundland and Labrador and they need our support. While I hope Sequence Bio continues to be one of them, I also hope you push yourself to believe in companies like ours, in our province and in yourself. Changing our mindset may not fix everything, but it’s definitely an important step to how we look in the future.


Chris Gardner, CEO
Sequence Bio

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