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Black History Month: Celebrating Diversity in the Life Sciences

In recognition of Black History Month, we want to celebrate black entrepreneurship in the life sciences by highlighting one of the black-founded providers on our platform, Machaon Diagnostics, and by interviewing founder and CEO, Mike Ero. We discuss Mike’s journey as a scientist and entrepreneur in the life sciences, challenges he faced along the way, the importance of diversity in the industry & more!

Share your story behind the founding of your company and a little bit about what your company does.

At the age of 29, I was thrilled with my professional trajectory, just before I got fired. I was attempting to purchase my current employer, negotiating a multi-year earnout for the medical director/owner. Unbeknownst to me, Quest Diagnostics was also negotiating an offer. Quest outbid me. This is how I found myself in this unusual position of founding a reference lab in the spring of 2003.

Fortunately for me, the senior clinical and technical talent was also let go, seeding the opportunity to create a specialized laboratory company with hundreds of years of industry and institutional experience. What we built was a CAP and CLIA-accredited, multi-state licensed lab, managed by highly experienced clinical laboratory scientists and CAP inspectors. Our niche is coagulation, platelets, complement, hyperinflammation and genetics. Our mission is ‘to save more lives with lab tests.’

What inspired you to enter the life science industry?

My mother died holding my hand when I was 24 years old, following a 10-year battle with breast cancer. I promised her and myself that I would make a difference in medicine. My academic path led me from Michigan State (BS) to Loyola-Chicago (MT/CLS) to Babson (MBA) to Harvard. Along the way, I discovered that I absolutely loved laboratory medicine. I am a self-proclaimed and passionate lab geek.

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced as a Black entrepreneur in the life sciences sector?

I was born in 1973 to a Nigerian dad and WASP Palo Alto mom at a time when interracial marriages were still illegal in several states. Success, promotion and owning a business were never assumed opportunities. Furthermore, starting a clinical company at 29 years of age meant that clients questioned my authority consciously or subconsciously.

“Any time you see underrepresented ratios of women, people of color or other groups absent from leadership and staff, it suggests that opportunities for finding the best people have been missed.” - Mike Ero

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Black history month celebrates the accomplishments of contributors to society who happen to be black.

What advice would you give to aspiring black entrepreneurs and scientists who wish to enter the life sciences field?

Believe in yourself and draw strength from anyone who says ‘you can’t do that.’

In your opinion, why is diversity important in the life sciences and biotechnology industries?

Any time you see underrepresented ratios of women, people of color or other groups absent from leadership and staff, it suggests that opportunities for finding the best people have been missed.

At, we have committed to making diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) an integral part of our operations. Through our Supplier Diversity Program, we aim to promote diversity in the pharmaceutical supply base by providing access to diverse-owned companies. In 2015, we instituted a DEI policy to enable suppliers to prominently display their diversity (US and non-US) status on our marketplace. Whether you are a biotech or pharma researcher looking to source from a more diverse supply base or a service provider searching for ways to promote your diversity status on the platform, we have tools available to help you do so. For more information about this program and for ways that you can take steps to promote diversity within your operations, head to:

Thank you to Machaon Diagnostics and Mike Ero for participating in this blog post to celebrate Black History Month!