Dream, dare, do

August 27, 2014

That's the motto of Guus Simons, founder and director of PathoFinder. Thanks to his considerable perseverance, he has succeeded in doing what many people thought was impossible. After more than 25 years in employment, in 2004 his accomplished his dream of becoming an entrepreneur. "Of course, I ran into a lot of people who pointed out the 'impossibilities'," says Guus. "How often did I hear the words 'That will never work', 'Don't even start' and 'Much too risky'? Nothing gives you more satisfaction than proving those people wrong."

Based on the Maastricht Health Campus, Pathofinder makes test kits that are used to quickly identify viruses and bacteria in the human body. With a tiny amount of RNA/DNA material - saliva for example - a single test can track down 22 pathogens).

"It took a year to start the company," says Guus. "I had an idea but I needed money in order to develop it. I had to convince people not just of the concept and its commercial value but also of my own abilities. By thinking deeply about the clinical need for the product, I was finally able to persuade investors, doctors and academics. PathoFinder solves problems for doctors and patients alike. The tests contribute to better treatment and to combatting infectious diseases. What's more, they are very cost-effective because many pathogens can be identified at the same time.

It's nice to dream but you also have to dare. Being an entrepreneur means taking risks and you can fall flat on your face. I had to scale a lot heights to achieve my dream. When I set up the company, I had already given up my job. I had to succeed, otherwise I had nothing. That's why you really have to persevere. And then a great deal is possible!" PathoFinder's products are now sold in Europe, Asia, South America and South Africa. Guus' ambition is to expand the product portfolio and to market the products worldwide. "Soon hospitals will not be able to do without us."

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