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A Conversation With Abhita Batra: Entrepreneurship And Biotechnology

A Conversation With Abhita Batra: Entrepreneurship And Biotechnology
Some people have a mission in life, bigger than themselves. Somehow events seem to drive these people towards their ultimate destiny and for Abhita Batra, CEO of Otomagnetics, Inc. – a leading biotech startup that analysts have praised due to its unquestionable market-altering potential – the commitment to actively improve countless human lives has been her mission and passion for as long as she can remember.

Since she was a child, Abhita witnessed her family´s work ethic and from an early age she was exposed to the inner workings of entrepreneurship and felt a strong drive to pursue her calling; Batra completed her Global MBA at UCLA Anderson and NUS, and has a Masters in Biotechnology with specialization in Pharmaceutical Sciences from University of Pennsylvania.

As a member of the Forbes Business Council, Batra has cemented her already stellar reputation as an influential young executive, effectively inspiring countless entrepreneurs and scientists around the world.

Abhita granted us an exclusive interview, here´s what the woman at the forefront of a widespread healthcare and life sciences revolution shared:

1. What is your earliest memory of a defining moment when you knew that you wanted to dedicate your life to science and healthcare?

I come from a family of entrepreneurs in the life sciences space. My mom and dad are co-founders and owners of a group of pharmaceutical companies in India. Since childhood, I have wanted to follow in my parents’ footsteps, and lead my own startup in healthcare. To realize my goal, I got involved in our family business to learn the specifics of the pharma trade and got an undergraduate degree in Biotechnology from Panjab University in India.

To continue my learning, I applied to and was accepted into the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Sciences graduate program at UPenn. Upon graduation, I received offers from Pfizer and Merck GlycoFi and ended up starting my research career in Hanover, NH with GlycoFi. This was a brief stint and soon I was planning my foray into the startup world.

In 2008-2009, I had been helping our family business expand in the LATAM market and this exposed me to prominent pharma and biotech leaders in Latin America. Within a short period, I was being approached to source and negotiate novel biotech deals for these corporations and this led to the formation of my one first startup in the US, Advanced Biopharma Consulting, a strategic advisory firm focused on cross-licensing and creative partnerships in the life sciences domain.

2. How do you balance running a successful biotech startup with your personal life and are there any tips you can share with fellow entrepreneurs?

Having a family has made me detail oriented and diligent in my efforts to succeed. It has helped me grow as a leader. Over the years, the support that I received from my family has been incredible. I did my Global Executive MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management and NUS when my son was only 2. I am now an expert in playing the roles of a mother, wife, daughter, and daughter-in-law while managing the hectic work and travel schedules.

Balancing all these acts ground me and make me empathetic towards others. I have become a better leader as I can better relate to my peers and employees (they have similar roles to play in their personal life while managing their professional deadlines!).

3. What would you say is the biggest challenge you´ve faced throughout your career, and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge for me has been navigating the startup ecosystem as a woman entrepreneur. As per a Kauffman Fellows article (www.kauffmanfellows.org), the women-founded companies have grown from 4% to 21.6% (in 2018) over a 17 year period. However, even with all the data demonstrating the success of women led enterprises, this process has taken a long time and we are still not close to where we should be.

My family has been a big pillar of support for me and that has helped me work through this challenge. The community has been supportive in recent years and this has been a massive boost for women entrepreneurs like myself.

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