Celebrating Women: Denise M. Bevers
Meet the cofounder and COO of KindredBio
Photo by Becca Batista
How did KindredBio come about?
My partner and I saw a need for pets to have access to the great medicines that humans do. Billions of dollars have been spent on drugs for humans, so we’ve taken to formulating them for pets. With money raised from friends and family and some biotech investors, we were able to start the company. We later raised $120 million in our first two public offerings. We won’t test any drug on our pets that haven’t been tested on humans already.
Tell us about your virtual company.
We have a lab in the San Francisco area, headquarters in San Diego, some employees in Kansas City because that’s the heart of animal health, and some who work remotely, for a total of 50 and growing. The virtual company’s mission is to hire the most talented people regardless of location—and even though they may be smarter than me. I learned more about people when I was waiting tables! It’s all about the people.
What kinds of sacrifices come with your title?
I’m on the road 40 to 45 weeks per year. I miss many events in San Diego by being away. My husband, Lon, is the secret to my success. He makes my home life easy.
Do you mentor others?
When I went to Wall Street, I realized there was a glass ceiling that I hadn’t experienced in the biotech field in San Diego. I was raised by a single mom and I was lucky to have a very strong female role model. Women must support other women. I counsel employees not only in their business, but in their family life, as it relates to being successful.
What did you study in school?
My degree is in zoology. My mother was so happy when I began working in a field I went to school for.
What is your advice to entrepreneurs?
You must have a strong business plan. If you really believe in your idea, you should pursue it, but you should receive input from a variety of people before trying to raise money.
What do you do with your free time?
Music festivals are my way of being in the moment. I support La Jolla Playhouse and Ion Theatre in Hillcrest, where I served as president of the board. I also mentor students in a UC San Diego incubator program.
I assume you have pets?
Yes! My husband and I have a dog, two cats, and a horse.
What does the future hold for KindredBio?
Our tagline is “Best Medicines for Our Best Friends.” We hope to be a leader in developing pet therapeutics, and want to bring wonderful health care to cats, dogs, and horses.