4Neuron's CEO, Maria Lamottke, on the profound sense of purpose in her work and dedication to making a positive impact

By Liza Laws

- Last updated on GMT

© 4Neuron
© 4Neuron

Related tags Women in Science mentorship Biotechnology Investment Risk management German biotech

She has a proven track record of leading and mentoring start-ups in the biotechnology field, with her proven abilities in investment and portfolio management, investments, risk management, and business strategy development, Maria is a go-to expert in the industry.

OSP: Could you give us an overview of your work?

My current work has a broad range of responsibilities. This multifaceted role is integral to the organization's growth and success. ​I am in the charge in developing and implementing a comprehensive business development strategy this harmonizes with the company's overall vision and objectives. By aligning every initiative with these goals, I ensure the company moves forward with a clear direction, enabling it to seize every opportunity that aligns with the strategic roadmap. Besides that, ​I keep the overview in the ever-changing market landscape, which equips the company with crucial insights.

Recognizing new business opportunities is one of my strengths. I identify and evaluate potential expansions, market diversifications, mergers and acquisitions, and geographic extensions. With my financial knowledge I ensure that every business development initiative is financially viable and profitable. 

OSP: When did you realise you were interested in science - as a young child, teen or older? 

Science has been always fascinating for me. My interest in science initially began with a fascination for physics. I was captivated by the fundamental principles that govern our universe and decided to pursue this passion academically. As I started my professional career, I found myself drawn to the world of finance. The complexities of financial markets and the potential for making a significant impact on businesses intrigued me. However, my career journey took an unexpected turn when I transitioned into the biotech industry. The prospect of contributing to advancements in biotechnology and, ultimately, improving people's lives through innovative medical solutions became my new driving force. This shift allowed me to align my career with a profound sense of purpose and a dedication to making a positive impact on the world.

OSP: Could you describe your personal journey bringing us to where you are now? 

My career journey has been a dynamic progression through various roles, each contributing to my current position as VP of Business Development at Bicoll GmbH, an early-stage biotechnology company specializing in small molecules libraries and medicinal custom synthetic chemistry, and and leading the spin-out 4NEURON with the aim to improve the lives of people suffering from seizures. In the initial phase of my career, I played a pivotal role in project management. This involved creating and managing meeting notes, product presentations, and responding to customer inquiries.

I also introduced an English training course for colleagues, enhancing the company's communication capabilities. I gained experience in investor relations while working at a regional telecommunication services provider. In this role, I managed investor inquiries, reported on stock performance, and contributed to shareholder meetings' preparation. Additionally, I worked on professional content for the company's website and presentations during exhibitions and roadshows. Besides that I was a passionate assistant professor in academia Here, I lectured on various finance and investment-related topics, guided students in their theses, and presented my own research at international conferences. My extensive work included publishing numerous scientific papers, covering topics like "Healthcare systems in Germany and China," "Portfolio Management," and "Investment Management."

OSP: What challenges did you face - as a woman or otherwise - along the way and what is the most valuable lesson you have learned?

Navigating a career in business development, academia, and leadership in the biotech industry as a woman can present several unique challenges. It's important to acknowledge these challenges while striving to overcome them. Women often face stereotypes and biases, which can lead to unfair judgments about their abilities. The underrepresentation of women in leadership positions and STEM-related fields, including biotechnology as well as even leading roles in the venture capital side, can make it difficult to find role models or mentors who can provide guidance and support. Here I also heavily involve myself in mentoring young start-ups and other women who are starting their journey in biotech field. 

Balancing a demanding career with family and personal life can be a particular challenge for women, as societal expectations often place a heavier burden on them in terms of caregiving and domestic responsibilities. And this varies a lot across different cultures and creates a lot of explosion potential for society which does not address these needs. Research has shown that women are often less likely to negotiate for higher salaries or benefits.

This transparency does not yet existing Germany so overcoming this hesitation can be crucial for career advancement and financial well-being. The most successful companies are those with the high diversity and this is not only gender question, but cultural backgrounds and experience. Addressing this topics and taking on leadership roles to advocate for change and inspire future generations is in hands of all of us. Overcoming these challenges often requires resilience, support from allies and mentors, and ongoing advocacy for gender equality in the workplace.

OSP: What ignites your passion in your current role? 

What ignites my passion in my current role as the VP of Business Development in the biotech industry is the opportunity to drive innovation and positively impact people's lives. The dynamic and ever-evolving nature of biotechnology, along with the potential to make breakthroughs in healthcare, for people, fuels my enthusiasm. I find inspiration in crafting and implementing strategies that lead to the development of new therapies and solutions, working with talented teams, and contributing to the well-being of individuals worldwide. 

OSP: What is your current work ethos/style? 

As a professional, my current work ethos is characterized by a combination of dedication, adaptability, and collaboration. 

In the rapidly evolving biotech industry, I also recognize the importance of staying updated with the latest advancements and trends. Continuous learning and development are integral to my work style.

I ​encourage innovative thinking and am open to exploring new approaches and ideas. I believe that innovation is key to staying competitive and making a positive impact in the biotech industry. This work ethos/style allows me to navigate the complexities of business development in the biotech sector and contribute to the growth and success of the organization while upholding high standards of professionalism and ethical conduct.

OSP: Could you share some advice for young women starting to develop an interest in science or wanting to pursue a career like yours? 

Remember that the path to a successful career in science or a related field may not always be linear, and it may come with its own unique challenges. But with determination, a love for learning, and a supportive community, you can overcome obstacles and achieve your goals in the world of science and technology.

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