If you’ve ever wondered what Eikon was like during its first few weeks of existence, Research Team Project Manager Edith Martinez-Soto will gladly tell you, with a nostalgic gleam in her eye. As Eikon’s second official hire, Edith has seen the company - and her career - grow in ways she never could have imagined.
“I’m amazed at the progress Eikon has made in three years. We were so scrappy in the beginning!” says Edith, who joined Eikon as an Office Manager in September of 2019. “We worked out of rented labs and office spaces and relied on hotspots for internet access. Our scientists had to run across the street to conduct experiments.”
Building the company from the ground up, the small team of employees quickly formed a strong sense of camaraderie and collaboration, traits that continue to be hallmarks of Eikon’s culture. “We all pitched in wherever we could, and it was so exciting to witness early milestones like the completion of the company’s first microscope, and the generation of our first SMT image.”
Edith’s eagerness to contribute beyond her initial Office Manager role eventually helped her to advance her career at Eikon. Though not a scientist herself, she wanted to be more directly involved with the scientists and the scientific process. Chief Scientific Officer Daniel J Anderson noticed Edith’s strong organizational skills and encouraged her to move into a Project Manager role on the Research team. Edith now works with chemists, biologists and engineers at Eikon to manage and ensure execution of multiple projects.
“I like to work on puzzles, so the problem-solving aspect of project management suits me,” says Edith, who enjoys working on intricate crochet puzzles at home and hanging out with her cat, Phoebe, in her free time.
“I feel lucky to have found Eikon three years ago, and I’m excited to see where this company will be three years from now,” says Edith. “It’s great to work with brilliant people who are dedicated to discovering new medicines and helping patients.”
One such person with whom Edith works is research biologist Sue Sohn, who joined Eikon in October of 2022 to establish and lead the company’s Immunology group.
As a newcomer, Sue appreciates Edith’s institutional knowledge and cross-functional approach to project management. “Edith knows everyone, and she often suggests colleagues from other parts of the organization to provide input on my projects in areas where they have expertise. That’s been really helpful,” says Sue.
Prior to Eikon, Sue served as a Principal Scientist specializing in inflammation in Amgen’s Immunology Group, working on both immuno-oncology and inflammation drug discovery efforts.
“I learned so much about drug discovery and development at Amgen, and also at Genentech prior to Amgen - both large, established companies. When I started thinking about my next role, I wanted to experience what it would be like to work at a newer company, and to help shape the drug discovery process and company culture in a smaller, more intimate setting.” says Sue.
Sue was initially drawn to Eikon after reviewing our website. “I watched the cool movies of live-cell imaging, and was intrigued reading that Eikon’s drug-discovery approach is based on protein dynamics, rather than on the more traditional biochemical approach. I understood the tremendous potential of applying this new technology to the exploration of biology and drug discovery, and felt I could use my experience and knowledge to make a meaningful contribution.”
Like Edith, Sue also has a penchant for problem-solving that carries over into her free time. She enjoys bouldering - freeform rock climbing on boulders that are normally less than 15 feet high - and has travelled to Europe and elsewhere with climbing friends to tackle specific rock formations.
“I love to be out in nature; for me it’s like a reset button,” says Sue. “If I'm feeling stuck trying to solve a problem in my head, going out and climbing for a few hours really helps me.”
Despite the rapid growth of the organization, Eikon's culture remains very supportive of innovation and cross-collaboration, says Sue. “I can present unconventional ideas and people will listen, which is really refreshing. Eikon is a place where anything is possible.”