Our Employee Spotlight series highlights a different team member each month, offering a behind-the-scenes look at the people integral to our success. This month, we are speaking with one of our company founders, Patrick Hankey, PhD., VP of Business Development.
As a career bio-scientist, Patrick has an academic research background, which began with studying the biochemistry and cell biology of wound healing. With 20 years of experience in wearable technologies and analytics software in healthcare research, Patrick is part of the founding team at VivoSense. His experience in real-world physiological monitoring began at VivoMetrics, Inc., commercializing the LifeShirt®, one of the first multiparameter platforms for monitoring and analyzing human physiology in real-world environments. A core business development and software team from VivoMetrics founded VivoSense in 2010.
How did you decide on your field of study in college?
I grew up in rural Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 80s and was particularly inspired by the documentaries of the famous British naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough, now 95 and still working! When I was a young child, my family traveled to South America from Europe, a three-week voyage across the northern and southern Atlantic Oceans. This journey most certainly began my love for and awe of the natural world. Given this start in life, zoology and genetics seemed like a good fit for me as an undergraduate degree.
Who inspired you to pursue the career you have today?
I’m fortunate to have had excellent teachers and mentors throughout my training as a scientist. Professor David J. Wilson, Ph.D., and Paul Nolan, MD, FRCS, took an interest in my Ph.D. research at Queen’s University Belfast when I most needed fresh ideas and encouragement. At the beginning of my business career, Lance Myers, Ph.D., a VivoSense co-founder, inspired me with this breadth of understanding of signal processing software and its potential application in healthcare research.
What does your job entail?
As a business development leader, it is my job to identify potential opportunities and project engagements within pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Once those opportunities are recognized, I communicate, at a high level, the value proposition represented by VivoSense to that client prospect. I then articulate this opportunity to the science and senior management groups within VivoSense for further evaluation and response by our excellent sales operations team. Once the prospect becomes a VivoSense client, part of my responsibility is to be an internal advocate for that company, nurturing the relationship and ensuring they become a satisfied repeat customer.
How can your academic experience be applied in pharma?
As a former academic researcher, I was fortunate to find my first job in the pharmaceutical industry at the CRO Parexel, where I was trained as a CRA and then as a proposal writer. This experience gave me a hands-on understanding of how clinical trials are conducted and priced. The training I received as a researcher provided expertise in the clear communication of scientific concepts and their application in pharmaceutical clinical trials and healthcare delivery.
What’s the best advice you can give someone who just started their career?
Stay curious and be prepared to ask questions, even if this takes you out of your comfort zone. Engage with others and learn about their roles to better understand how your company functions holistically. Finally, embrace new opportunities resulting from your sustained curiosity.
What motivates you?
Adding value to our business and learning every day, how the work we perform improves patients’ lives across therapeutic specialties.
Do you have a superpower?
Resilience when optimism is in short supply.
What was your first job?
As an undergraduate student, I worked each summer as a trash hauler for the city, supporting the garbage collection trucks. I did this alongside some wonderful individuals who had worked this hard physical job for their entire working lives. It taught me never to take the opportunities afforded us in our lives for granted, as these are neither distributed evenly nor fairly.
What’s your secret talent no one knows?
I can simultaneously play bass guitar and sing, just not as well as Sting!
What is your favorite Netflix/Hulu binge-watching show?
Is it permissible to admit that I enjoyed Game of Thrones, especially the episodes filmed in beautiful coastal Northern Ireland, where I grew up?
Recommend a book that changed your worldview.
1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. by Charles C. Mann. This very readable book radically altered my understanding of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus.