Select Greater Philadelphia recently sat down with Dr. Satwik Seshasai, VP of Engineering for NextDocs Corporation, to discuss next steps for this fast-growing tech company headquartered in Conshohocken, PA.
Q: What is NextDocs?
A: NextDocs helps life sciences companies manage regulatory and clinical documents and implement quality systems to meet the FDA compliance requirements. There’s a lot of technology that has been adopted rapidly in the consumer space, particularly with mobile applications. Many studies related to connectivity between people reveal significant productivity gains. From a business perspective, the goal of a life science company is to get medicine or medical devices to patients sooner and safer. That’s where NextDocs comes in. NextDocs focuses on SharePoint-based software solutions that help life sciences companies get products to market faster and safer.
Our software allows clients to collaborate with all relevant parties and do it in a way that’s compliant with FDA and other international regulatory authorities to achieve some of the same productivity benefits resulting from today’s consumer-driven technologies. The difference is that it’s now within the context of running a clinical trial, managing the quality of the assembly process, and managing submissions to the FDA to get key products to market faster and safer.
We are an award-winning company with notable achievements including Microsoft Life Sciences Partner of the Year award for three years straight 2010, 2011, and 2012.
Q: Who are your clients?
A: Our client-base includes pharmaceutical and medical device companies combined with clinical research and academic institutions. Some major clients in the region include AstraZeneca, Sanofi, Novartis and McKesson.
Q: How long have you been around and how many people do you employ?
A: We were formed in 2006. We employ nearly 150 employees and plan to hire many more by the end of the year. In addition to its US headquarters in Greater Philadelphia, the company has its EU headquarters in Munich, Germany and an Asia Office in Tokyo, Japan.
Q: Why did NextDocs choose the Greater Philadelphia region to locate?
A: We could have chosen to grow in Boston where the life sciences sector is competitive in size to Greater Philadelphia, but chose this region as our US headquarters because of the area’s high quality of life, lower cost of doing business, and tremendous client-base of life sciences companies. Greater Philadelphia has a close-knit tech community that provides support and resources to help grow the area’s tech capacity and assist other start-ups to bring innovative products and services to market. All of these advantages combined with the region’s low cost of living and superb transportation infrastructure, cannot be found in areas like Boston, New York, San Francisco, Austin, and Seattle.
Q: How is the quality of the workforce in the region?
A: The deep pool of life science companies here has enabled NextDocs to hire key talent. We’re looking for people who would otherwise be building out highly-scalable enterprise products. If you’re a software engineer, you can apply the same skills at NextDocs, but have a more direct impact on patients.
Q: What is your role at NextDocs?
A: I am responsible for managing all aspects of the product development lifecycle, including engineering, test, release, support and documentation, as well as working with the senior leadership team on product direction and roadmap. Prior to NextDocs, I spent 9 years at IBM in technical and management roles focused on the growth of early stage products.
Q: Personally, why did you locate in the Greater Philadelphia region?
A: Given a choice to stay in Boston, where I completed my PhD at MIT, I chose to come back to Greater Philadelphia because I really love it here. I’m originally from Bucks County, PA and my wife is from Cherry Hill, NJ. It’s a great location for the tech industry and the quality of life here is terrific.