Meet the ttopstart team: Rocío
Díez Arazola

16 December 2021

At ttopstart we work in an international team of creative innovators. In our series ‘Meet the ttopstart team’ we introduce you to our business developer Rocío Díez Arazola. We interviewed Rocío about her passion for nature, love for her job and personal interests.

Can you please describe yourself briefly?

I am a very curious person, which makes me want to learn about new things constantly. I am also very interested in people; I really enjoy listening to someone’s ideas and where they want to take them. I am passionate about nature, science, and biotechnology; thus, I always want to know more about the latest innovations that will change the world for the better.

What is something biomedical innovators have to deal with that you want to fix?

Developing better therapies is quite a difficult endeavor – in reality, the making of a drug from discovery to market is a road full of hurdles, and very few make it to the end. The high failure rate (>95%) and the length of the process of drug discovery discourages true innovation, as the risk becomes too high for investors to jump on board. Resorting to the use of derivative compounds or drug combinations is often preferred, which leaves us with too many drugs for some diseases, whereas other diseases remain intractable. Ensuring funding for groundbreaking projects that truly aim at unmasking new mechanisms of action is crucial, and that’s where our expertise on acquiring non-dilutive funding for high risk, high gain projects comes in handy. With our help, innovators only need to worry about the science, leaving the funding strategy necessary to cover the cost of the discovery to us.

What are your credentials/past experience, for working in your position?

Most of my education is centered around the sciences – I hold a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in Neuroscience, five years as a PhD candidate in Functional Genetics, and five years of experience as senior scientist at the university in collaboration with a big pharmaceutical company. I am well acquainted with both academia and the industry, and I enjoy having the opportunity to help them realize their goals, and to create synergy by connecting great minds from both worlds.

What is your role at ttopstart?

At ttopstart, I am the first point of contact for industry clients who seek help to bring their ideas out to the public in the form of a new treatment. Moreover, I also help academics align their research and career goals with the best funding schemes that will enable them to realize their research plans and build a strong scientific profile. I really enjoy becoming part of each individual project and building a new concept together with the client from the beginning, with an eye on the long-term objectives. In our sessions, we discuss the scientific and the impact parts in depth, the feasibility of their plans, and the alignment between their research aims and the proposal they intend to build.

What do you like most about working at ttopstart?

The best for me is to be part of a very diverse team – there is so much that we can all learn from each other, and everyone benefits from it. There is a strong culture of sharing knowledge and past experiences that enables every employee to thrive. Besides, I really appreciate the culture of excellence at ttopstart: we only want to develop the very best projects with and for our clients, those that we really believe in. Ultimately, we all have the same goal: do what you trust can have the most impact for society.

What’s your background?

I grew up in southern Spain, mostly on coastal towns that attract many international visitors due to the favorable weather and the beauty of the surroundings. My parents moved every now and then due to my father’s job, which made me quite comfortable with getting to know new people. As an adult, I had the opportunity to spend time in other countries, either visiting for a long period or studying for a degree. One of those places was Portland, Oregon, where I lived for a few years. In Portland I became enthusiastic about nature and being outdoors, owing to the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. I realized that I was in my element amidst all that greenery, even if it came at a price (rain). I decided to follow my love for science and nature and came to the Netherlands, where I pursued a master’s and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience. After working several years as a senior scientist, I was ready to switch gears and look for a position where I could be in touch with people and learn about many different scientific projects, not only those in my own field. This is how I became Business Developer at ttopstart – this position really fulfils my natural curiosity and my desire to help build better healthcare.

What are the values that drive you?

Honesty, empathy, and determination.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

I really love to share stories with friends and have “belly laughs”. When the weather allows, I go outside to watch birds and other animals that can be spotted in the Dutch national parks. Nature is a great source of inspiration for drawing and painting, which I also like doing sometimes. I also really enjoy making things with my hands, although they don’t always turn out great. In that sense, my mother deserves all the merit, as she was better than any modern influencer – I have many memories of seeing her sew her own flamenco dresses as her favorite past-time after work, which she did not regard as daunting.

Your favorite quote:

“We learn best – and change – from hearing stories that strike a chord within us.” (John P. Kotter).

Thanks, Rocío!

Do you want to become a ttopstarter as well?

Are you interested in joining our team? Check out our career page! We are always looking for talented and motivated people.

“I really enjoy becoming part of each individual project and building a new concept together with the client from the beginning, with an eye on the long-term objectives. In our sessions, we discuss the scientific and the impact parts in depth, the feasibility of their plans, and the alignment between their research aims and the proposal they intend to build.”

– ROCÍO DÍEZ ARAZOLA, – BUSINESS DEVELOPER AT TTOPSTART

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