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Nathan Chen’s sister co-founded a $billion company

As if having an Olympic gold medalist in the family isn’t enough, Nathan Chen’s sister Janice is co-founder of Mammoth Biosciences.

The startup in the San Francisco Bay Area already has a valuation of $1 billion with its goal set much higher, reports CNBC.

“Our intention is not to build and sell it but to become a $100 billion company in next-generation CRISPR technology. There are so many creative building opportunities, and new technology that can come out of discovery in gene editing,” she said.

The UC Berkeley graduate in 2021 made MIT Technology Review’s list of 35 innovators under 35 just two years after making Forbes 30 under 30 list.

Her company has set out to develop a new generation of testing equipment to detect disease. Her co-founders include her mentor, Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna who encouraged her to aim high.

“She’s a leader of the technical team and an overall strategist who has deep scientific knowledge and creativity, and can see where this technology is going,” said Doudna.

Chen told MIT’s Technology Review that she’s learned from her experience playing chess which taught her how to build things move by move and also how to get into the competitor’s mind.

She is one of five children in the family and says the advice her parents gave to all the children is to “find your passion and do your best to move it forward in a significant way.”

She recalled to CNBC how the entire family saw Nathan compete in the 2018 Olympics. She sat in the stands cheering for her brother while making calls to lawyers about setting up the company.

Nathan’s oldest sister Alice works for Apple News in social media and has her own candle company, according to an article in Yahoo Sports in February. Two brothers, Tony and Colin, play hockey which inspired Nathan’s love for ice skating.

Their mother, Hetty Wang, is a mandarin translator for hospitals in New York. The father, Zhidong Chen, has a doctorate in pharmaceuticals from the University of Utah and owns a small biotech company. Both immigrated from China.

“They tend not to talk too much about their struggles, but it must have been so difficult, coming to a new country, not speaking the language, not having much money, not having any friends,” Nathan told The New York Times of his parents. “It’s amazing how they were able to fight through that.”

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