Juno Therapeutics, the Seattle-based clinical cancer research firm is doing groundbreaking work in seeking a cure for the disease. CEO Hans Bishop said at the GeekWire Summit on Tuesday that the biotech company’s original name gets at the heart of it all.
Juno was originally called FC Therapeutics, Bishop told GeekWire.
So what did FC stand for?
“First, the F is a four-letter Anglo-Saxon word,” Bishop said. “The second word is cancer.”
So, the original name of the company was F*** Cancer.
“If you come into the company, that is a rallying cry for everyone who works there,” Bishop said. “They work there because of the mission of the company, and biotech is a difficult business and anyone who has been in it a long time has had heartbreaking failures.”
Juno — a spin out of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Seattle Children’s Research Institute — is now publicly-traded, and boasts a market value of more than $3 billion. It went public in December 2014. (You can only imagine the Nasdaq ticker symbol that the company would have chosen had it stuck with its original name).
Furthermore, as his chat continued, Bishop expanded on the profanity theme by letting the Summit crowd know what type of workers pass muster at Juno.
“It’s not just about being good, we have a ‘no a**holes policy’ in our company,” Bishop said. “Our success is incredibly interconnected between different disciplines. There isn’t one person that can say, ‘Aha, this is it.'”