Beyond The Printed Page | January 17, 2022

Starting A Company … In Another Country

Source: Life Science Leader
Rob Wright author page

By Rob Wright, Chief Editor, Life Science Leader
Follow Me On Twitter @RfwrightLSL

Bernard Coulie
Bernard Coulie, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO, Pliant Therapeutics

When Bernard Coulie, M.D., Ph.D., agreed to be the CEO of Pliant Therapeutics, he first took the job as an interim. “I had to get my visa taken care of,” begins the executive to be featured in an upcoming issue of Life Science Leader. The Belgian had done this before, when he had worked at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. But that was in the late 1990s, and what a difference a decade and a half can make. “It is best to have professional guidance. That means, immigration lawyers,” he advises. As for the process of an international move, he notes that really being a mental thing. “The real question is, are you willing to relocate?” Coulie says that this isn’t something to be approached half-heartedly. “You can’t come into this with the attitude, “Let’s see how it goes and reevaluate after two years.” That’s not going to help you. You have to commit that you are going to do this, and that means doing it all the way.” For Coulie, this meant a move to South San Francisco, though his family remains in the EU — for now. “My kids are adults and have their professional lives, but my daughter, a Minnesotan, has expressed interest in doing some additional training in California, so you never know.”

But here is what we do know. In the upcoming feature, you will learn of Coulie’s journey as an accidental CEO with his first startup. In addition, you also will gain insight into the approach taken to build Pliant Therapeutics into a publicly traded company valued at nearly half a billion dollars. Be sure not to miss out on all the lessons this executive has learned over the years by subscribing today.