Part 2: When we left off speaking to Evan Ballantyne, Gain Therapeutics’ new CFO, he was sharing several stories about industry and career successes. Part 2 will expand upon that and include a peek into who Ballantyne is outside of work.
Let’s pivot a bit to some “fun” questions that really talk about YOU! Who inspires you? Who do you look to for guidance, insight, or motivation?
I don’t know if this answer is unique or not, but the truth is that I get a lot of inspiration from my three kids. Needless to say, they’re all a lot younger than I am. It’s interesting to see how a younger generation is advancing and moving through life… how they’re addressing the positives and negatives and managing their own careers.
I live vicariously through them; I learn about new technologies, new software programs, new websites, and even about new music and restaurants.
What are you reading these days?
This may be nerdy to say but I am fascinated by physics. I took physics in high school, probably like everyone had to. I didn’t do as well as I should have back then. I consider myself a frustrated physicist. Right now I’m reading a book by Richard Feynman called QED Quantum Electrodynamics.
He has a great line in his book where he’s talking about light and how light reacts. The line goes something like, “Light is a particle. I would explain the science to you but you’re just going to have to take my word for it.” He says it that way because he knows that the audience he’s writing to is not made up of physicists. He’s not going to go into the minute details of all of it, and I appreciate that! So he says, “Light is a particle and you’re just going to have to take my word for it.” That line typifies the kind of writing he does. It’s very direct.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
I get a cup of coffee and I walk my dog. I have a Great Pyrenees Bernese Mountain Dog mix – weighs 120 pounds. My favorite thing is to be sitting downstairs in my kitchen at my computer, reading the Wall Street Journal, drinking my coffee, and knocking off those early morning emails so I can get ahead of the day.
When you’re not securing global partnerships, financing, and creating value for the world’s most impressive biopharma companies, what are you doing? How do you spend the little free time you have?
I try to ski as much as I can. I love skiing. In the summer and the non-winter months though, I fish. For me, I could be fly fishing, deep sea fishing, fishing in a lake for trout, anything. I love fishing for Striped Bass in Cape Cod. I’m pretty good… fish fear me.
Where do you fish?
I have a trip planned this summer to a river called the Cascapedia. It’s just north of Maine in Quebec, Canada. It’s a salmon river, Atlantic Salmon, and to get onto the river you have to enter a lottery, which I did. And I won! You can’t get onto the river unless you get a seat or win a slot in the lottery. They give out probably just 175 slots over June, July, and August, and I was number 73. So one of my good friends and I are going fishing there.
As we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom to leave us with?
I think biotech is an innovative engine. I really believe that the world would not be as good of a place to live in as it is now without the biotechnology market and biotech companies. This is where a tremendous amount of medical and drug/pharmaceutical innovation comes from. There is a lot of amazing technology available. The markets are turning and I’m optimistic that we’re going to see them come back to full strength again.
Learn more about Gain’s new CFO in Part 1 of this interview.