Colleen Acosta – addressing the unmet needs in women’s health

Could you give us an overview of your work?

We have a world class team of leaders in the fields of reproductive health and the microbiome. Freya’s drug candidates comprise full-spectrum microbiota and rationally selected strain consortia, which have the potential to restore an optimal, non-inflammatory vaginal microbiome. Freya announced positive topline data from its first proof-of-concept study and has also completed a prospective cohort study in IVF, expanding biomarker data in the initial patient population, and feeding into the company’s multi-omics data platform. Freya’s next generation therapeutics are currently in development and will be tested in clinical trials soon.

I am incredibly privileged to be leading such a specialized and experienced team at Freya. My work, as most CEOs in the biotech sector, is both inwards and outwards facing, which offers remarkable diversity in my day to day. I have the opportunity to both be accountable and internally involved with our science and clinical drug development work, as well as interact with our excellent syndicate of investors, and a wide range of external industry stakeholders.

When did you realize you were interested in science, was it as a young child, teen or older?

I have been fascinated by all things science since a very young age. I loved (and still love) star gazing and NASA’s space program, the natural sciences, e.g., how a tiny seedling could grow into a giant sequoia and observing the machinery of life through a microscope. But it wasn’t until my master’s degree in public health that a real passion for the medical sciences took off. This is where I became fascinated by the impact that microbes have on human health, and how health interventions can change the lives of many. I went on to do a PhD (DPhil) in epidemiology with leading experts at the University of Oxford, focusing on how pathogens in the reproductive tract are associated with poor maternal and infant health outcomes. All of this has given me a fantastic grounding for my current role, and to understand and learn from other branches of science that make up the dynamic industry of biotech.

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