Innovation: What Marie Curie Means to H1

Ariel Katz
Sep 17, 2020

Curie was created to help users pinpoint and understand the impact of key opinion leaders in a given therapeutic area, in order to optimally facilitate the flow of expertise and collaborations into drug development. Our efforts were fueled in large part by a customer base that felt that KOL identification tools and processes lacked precision, transparency, and overall applicability to their day-to-day.  

So, when tackling such a far-reaching and complex problem, why did we choose the name “Curie” for this module?  

Without drawing a false comparison, we knew that, in order to live up to our own mission to provide smarter, more efficient solutions to the problems facing healthcare and the life sciences, we needed to tap into a spirit of innovation and paradigm-breaking. Marie Curie’s science was game-changing: she coined the term “radioactivity,” discovered and named new elements, and pioneered methods to safely isolate dangerous isotopes. Her life was and still is a symbol of doing the impossible, becoming the the first woman to win the Nobel prize and the first person to win the award twice (in two different fields, no less). Who could be a better mascot?

But what really drew us to Curie’s story was the fact that she didn’t stop at theory and awards, but took her science and skills directly to a world that needed it. Curie’s journey from the lab onto the WWI battlefield began when she noticed the seemingly intractable problems facing those doctors and nurses who had to treat countless wounded soldiers using equipment far away from the trenches. Where every second could be the difference between life and death, she was convinced that there was a way to do it better. Along with her work with radioactivity, she developed an interest in the x-ray research of physicists Becquerel and Roentgen. This, combined with fieldwork in hospitals and a quick study of anatomy and mechanics, sparked the idea for what would become known as petites Curies, mobile x-ray units that could assist battleside surgeons. Curie, after supervising the creation of the machines then trained over 100 women to operate the X-ray vehicles in battle, becoming director of the Red Cross’s radiology unit. More than one million soldiers received X-ray exams during the war as a result of Curie’s tenacity and dedication to not just vanguard ideas, but their application to saving human lives.  She wasn’t bound by what was said to be possible, by sticking in just one scientific lane or remaining in the lab--she saw a problem that others couldn’t even dream of solving, and realized she was uniquely poised to change things.

Marie Curie’s story teaches us that science--and the innovations it can feed--need to be measured in terms of their contributions to human progress. H1. is inspired and humbled by this larger-than-life figure, and we hope the product bearing her name will do her legacy justice by continuing to break barriers and assumptions, forge necessary and cutting-edge collaborations, and, most importantly, translate to saving more lives.