How it all began 4 years ago
Today we take a look back at the day that CUTISS was founded and speak to two of the five founders, Dr. Daniela Marino and Dr. Fabienne Hartmann-Fritsch.
When you think back to that very day of the CUTISS founding – what feeling was this for you?
Daniela: All of us founders met at the notary to sign. I was very proud of course and felt relieved as it took over a year to get to that point. We were all super busy that day, so we just returned to work after the act of signing. We did not even celebrate afterwards, as I was heavily pregnant at that stage and had no energy left! I love the fact that we incorporated CUTISS on the International Women’s Day, 8th March! Two founders are women, and today, more than 58% of the company is female! Let’s also not forget that the Research lab that started developing denovoSkin, the Tissue Biology Research Unit was launched in 2001…so happy 20th anniversary to them too!
Fabienne: We were just in the heat of wrapping up the active part of the phase I clinical trial, and preparing for the phase II trials. So the founding of CUTISS felt more like an administrative step at that time, looking back it’s much more important than it felt.
Summarizing the amazing journey that CUTISS has been on over the last 4 years – what were your personal highlights?
Daniela: I was trained as a researcher and thought academia was my future. I never thought one day I would be building a company from zero, raising money and creating jobs at such a speed! I will never forget the feeling I experienced when raising the first funds, hiring the first team members and renting the first labs! It felt so amazing!
Fabienne: It’s quite simple: our patients, both past, current, and most importantly our future patients! Seeing the very first prototypes of the automated manufacturing machines, knowing how they will allow us to reach exponentially more patients was a true highlight.
Which were the major challenges you faced so far?
Daniela: CUTISS has been, is and will be a challenging journey. Challenges need to be overcome step by step, we need to keep pushing despite difficulties and troubles for the benefit of the patients in need. Innovating is painful and risky but is also a lot of fun!
Fabienne: With the risk of sounding like a broken record, the Covid crisis and resulting delay of non-emergency surgeries, and inability to visit our study sites across Europe is something we’re still struggling with.
Tell us something about the number of employees. How did CUTISS grow in that aspect?
Daniela: The team could be counted on one hand and all originated from academia. We grew very fast after the first financing round, my head was spinning, we had our own R&D labs! In 2020 we grew again, despite the pandemic we now have our own GMP labs! We are moving forward, building competences now that we can support commercial operations! A small step for humanity, a big step for CUTISS!
Fabienne: As of today, we’re 35 team members all sharing the same goal. What strikes me is on how many different topics we all work on. Not only the number has increased significantly, but also the disciplines we cover. Four years ago, as a typical start-up, many of these were not yet in our focus, very happy they are now!
Daniela, Fabienne, thank you for your time and wishing you all the best for CUTISS! Here’s to many more successful years to come.
Check out the full CUTISS AG founding team here