re: Generation

January 8, 2021

How well do your core values guide your organization? 2020 was the year we found out. (Part Two)

Celebration sneakers for our IPO.

We couldn’t be together to celebrate our IPO with champagne, so we celebrated with 87 pairs of custom sneakers.

This is our story, offered as a reflection from the hearts and minds of many across our organization. We are writing this post the same way we got through 2020. Together.

An IPO during a pandemic is a mixture of planning and trust.

One major objective of 2020 was to secure financing that would allow us to conduct the work needed to enter the clinic. When the pandemic sent shock waves through the world economy and changed how we work, we had to take a step back and consider whether this was the right time to make this move.

Throughout the process we remained purposefully connected, grounded and focused on what we needed to accomplish, no matter what was going on around us. There was obviously no chance of holding traditional investor meetings, but even when not face-to-face, our commitment to our mission was easy to communicate. And, with the new openness of investors to meet through video calls, it turned out we were able to share our story with more people in a shorter amount of time.

“Executing the IPO in the middle of a pandemic reinforced our faith in our work and our belief in the importance of what we are doing. It was reassuring to be moving forward even in the middle of this crisis.” – Leslie Wolfe, SVP Chemistry, Manufacturing & Controls

Did we mention we gained over 6,000 pounds this year?

And not just from eating chocolate. Not even a global pandemic could hinder our need to grow our team. We are proud to say on this front we did not slow down for a minute. Since the year began, we’ve added 40 people to our roster and are still opening new positions.

“Even with this unconventional approach to recruitment, we are attracting some unbelievable talent. The future of this company is exciting.” – Matthew Norkunas, CFO

But finding the right people was only half of the challenge. Bringing new people into our tapestry while we are all separated by schedule and space has been another story. Our Culture Team is working to create innovative connecting experiences, but there is no way around the fact that there are suddenly more people who have never experienced a weekly Town Hall in our vibrant café than there are who have. Some even wonder what it will look like when we are all back together, but we know being open to change isn’t the same thing as changing who we are.

Communication is key. Even when it’s hard.

When racial injustice became a focal point of 2020, we stopped to purposefully reflect on what it meant to us as individuals and as a whole. We have since initiated an Acting for Justice forum that provided a space for personal learning and growth, and opened important, but sometimes difficult, dialogues around systemic racism and injustice in the US and in the biotech industry specifically.

We have made personal growth a priority, creating learning plans with outcome metrics around understanding our own racial biases and integrating racial justice into our living culture. We have also aligned with affinity groups that have helped those who’ve experienced trauma process and share, and those who haven’t to begin to understand its impact on those who have and our collective responsibility to anti-racism.

These first steps are helping us advance how we recruit new team members, how we listen to each other, and how we share what we are learning. But we acknowledge that we are still very much a work in progress. Important questions remain around how we continue this conversation within our growing company as well as outside our walls with our communities, both local and professional. How do we move forward, taking further actions that put this new understanding into motion? What reflections can we put in place to ensure we are continually living up to our ideals?

“As a Black woman in a field with few people of color, I appreciate the changes we’ve made as a company this year. They are important, but at the same time we are still only scratching the surface. I look forward to seeing us put these conversations into action — finding ways to celebrate different heritages and continuing to increase the diversity of our team.” – Mari Gebremeskel, Associate Scientist

We can’t know exactly how Generation Bio will evolve over the next few years, but we are clear on that fact that these conversations, and the willingness of our team members to learn, to work and to grow, will continue to help guide us.

Moving forward there are no easy answers and that is a concept we need to be comfortable with.

We are not kidding ourselves that we have made it through to the “other side.” The world has changed dramatically, and we have changed with it.

Our previous style of working is adapting to a new world. We know many of the questions the world is facing won’t be answered for decades. Socially and economically, there’s a heightened state of volatility. As we move forward, our decisions will be informed by this understanding of our new world.

But things will get better. Vaccines are beginning to be approved and distributed across the US. There will be a return to a new baseline. We will, once again, pile into our café to best each other in trivia contests, crowd around data to debate the latest, and celebrate scientific breakthroughs big and small. And we move forward more connected, with a deeper respect for our need to understand each other’s experiences.

Of course, if 2020 has reinforced anything, it’s our belief that there will always be an X factor. But we know where we are headed and who we are as a community.

Thoughtful. Inclusive. Courageous. All-in.

We are Generation Bio.

“When we can all finally come back together, it will be different, absolutely. But the level of enthusiasm and energy is going to be extraordinary.” – Ben Parkhurst, Senior Manager, Process Development

Read Part 1 of our reflection on 2020, where we discuss the shutting down and reopening of our labs due to the pandemic >

Contributors: Matt Chiocco, Senior Director, Preclinical Development; Mari Gebremeskel, Associate Scientist; Sarah Lagoy; Scientist; Matt Manganiello, Associate Director, Platform Research; Geoff McDonough, CEO; Matthew Norkunas, CFO; Ben Parkhurst, Senior Manager, Process Development;  Joyce Pinkham, Vice President, Program Management; Matt Simmons, Director, Analytical Development; Leslie Wolfe, SVP, Chemistry, Manufacturing & Controls; Zhong Zhong, Head of Gene Therapy

Safe Harbor Statement: Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for the company, including statements about our strategic plans or objectives, our technology platforms, our research and clinical development plans, the expected timing of the submission of IND applications and preclinical data, our manufacturing plans, our expectations regarding our new facility and other statements containing the words “believes,” “anticipates,” “plans,” “expects,” and similar expressions, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including: uncertainties inherent in the identification and development of product candidates, including the conduct of research activities, the initiation and completion of preclinical studies and clinical trials and clinical development of the company’s product candidates; uncertainties as to the availability and timing of results from preclinical studies and clinical trials; whether results from preclinical studies will be predictive of the results of later preclinical studies and clinical trials; uncertainties regarding the timing and ability to complete the build-out of the Company’s manufacturing facility and regarding the new manufacturing process; expectations regarding the timing of submission of IND applications; expectations for regulatory approvals to conduct trials or to market products; challenges in the manufacture of genetic medicine products; whether the Company’s cash resources are sufficient to fund the company’s operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements for the period anticipated, including the funding of the new manufacturing facility; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the company’s business and operations; as well as the other risks and uncertainties set forth in the “Risk Factors” section of our most recent annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly report on Form 10-Q, which are on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and in subsequent filings the company may make with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the company’s views as of the date hereof. The company anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause the company’s views to change. However, while the company may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the company’s views as of any date subsequent to the date on which they were made.

Take a seat at the table.

We are always looking for those who are ready to share their vision, talent, and tenacity—who believe in our mission and themselves.

Imagine a world without genetic disease.

What do you see? More health? Fewer doctor appointments? More bike riding? More peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? More life?
See our shared vision.