Alachua County, Florida
Neobiosis is a biotechnology company focused on the development and manufacturing of innovative perinatal products for research and clinical trials. Their goal is simple: to help redefine the field of regenerative medicine through regenerative science and shape the future of this fledgling industry through meaningful partnerships and collaborations.
Health Care and Social Assistance
900% increase from 2020 – 2022
144% increase from 2020 – 2022
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am the founder and CSO of Neobiosis, which is a research and manufacturing company focused on the science of regenerative medicines derived from perinatal (birth) tissues. I have a Ph.D. from the Ansary Stem Cell Institute, within the Division of Regenerative Medicine at Cornell University. I have spent my career in the fields of stem cell biology, regenerative medicine, and aging. I’m the Vice President of the American College of Regenerative Medicine and co-founder of the Space-Aging Research Institute (SARI), which will be focusing on winning the new XPrize for enhancing human Health Span.
Was there an ah-ha moment that led you to your entrepreneurial journey?
I had been working in academia for 20+ years, but I came to a point where I was stuck as a post-doc in a catch-22 (as many postdocs, unfortunately, find themselves). I could not get a grant as that required promotion to a faculty position, but I could not get a faculty position without a grant. Living on a postdoc salary in Miami with a family was very difficult, so I had to make a change.
I was attending the World Stem Cell Summit in Miami Beach when I learned that there were companies making regenerative products from human birth tissues. I had been working with these tissues for years during my time at Cornell and Harvard, so I tested samples of products made by these companies and found they weren’t very good quality. At that moment I saw an opportunity to make a living, but more importantly, I felt I had a responsibility to provide an alternative product that doctors and patients could rely upon to be safe and of the highest quality. My 20+ years at the bench had turned me into an expert at manufacturing products that the industry was in great need of.
Did you know you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Well, I don’t know if anyone necessarily aspires to be a CEO/entrepreneur. It just sort of happens, if you’re that type of person. While I was studying for my Ph.D. I founded several groups including the Cornell Flyfishing Club, the Cornell Poker Club, and the Graduate Advisory Committee. These weren’t intended to be leadership roles, I was just trying to help others by improving the quality of life for graduate students, including myself. However, these experiences certainly helped when it came to running a business. Also while studying for my Ph.D., I started a company called Grasshopper Outdoor Products. Again, I didn’t intend to start a business, but it naturally evolved after I invented a new flyfishing gadget called the monoMASTER. Flyfishing was a source of relaxation for me during grad school, but I was always bothered by the amount of waste fishing line I and other anglers generated, which often ended up in the environment. At that time there were no products on the market to help anglers “wrangle” their waste fishing line, so I sat down one night and invented the monoMASTER. To get it into the hands of other anglers I had to find prototypers and eventually a manufacturer in China. I had to learn a lot of skills, which today I still rely upon. The monoMASTER won “best new gadget” by Field & Stream Magazine and went on to be carried in stores across America and now the World. There are now several other line wrangler products in the market, so I feel like I kind of started a new trend that is helping to keep the waste fishing lines out of streams and rivers all around the world. The same thing kind of happened with Neobiosis. There was a gap in the market so I did what I could to fill that gap and things evolved from there.
Tell us about your business and the value it brings to your customers.
In addition to our in-house pipeline of products, Neobiosis is a Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization. This means we offer our expertise and state-of-the-art facilities to other companies within the industry who contract us to create new regenerative medicine products for their clinical research and clinical trials. We are one of the few manufacturers in the industry owned and operated by scientists and physicians. Our team has extensive experience working with human tissues and taking products through clinical trials, which means our products are of the highest quality and have the best potential for successful translation to approved new medicines. Our products have already changed and even saved lives. We’ve donated over $300,000 in products to patients for various emergency uses, with a couple of cases being covered by the tv news. Our products have also helped veterans, athletes in the NLF, household-name celebrities, and world leaders in times of need.
What makes your company culture unique? How do you like to lead your team?
Honesty, integrity, and transparency are trademarks of Neobiosis. In such a competitive market as the medical industry, these traits are uncommon. Regenerative medicine is a new field that is not yet taught in medical school. There is a lot of confusion and mistrust in this industry, but the potential for revolutionizing modern medicine is huge. I have taken it upon myself to help educate patients, physicians, healthcare providers, lawmakers, and regulators, based on my 20 years studying the science of regenerative medicine. We are not a company focused just on profits; we are a company focused on enhancing the entire industry for the betterment of healthcare. This means that, unlike other CEOs, I spend a lot of my time speaking publicly at conferences, not about our company or products, but about the field of regenerative medicine. What it is and what it isn’t. I’ve also attended two congressional briefings on regenerative medicine, I’ve met with White House staff and state senators, and I work very hard through the American College of Regenerative Medicine and the Medical College of Legal Medicine to help guide regulators on the science of regenerative medicine.
Since starting or while growing your business, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a business owner?
We founded Neobiosis around March 2020 and opened our doors in July 2020. During that period, we raised $1.2M in seed capital, which could have been very difficult to do because we were in the beginning stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a time of financial insecurity for investors, and we were severely limited by travel restrictions. Fortunately, I had spent the previous couple of years speaking about regenerative medicine and my vision for the industry at conferences and to interest groups. Our investors came out of these groups because trust and relationships had already been established. Once Neobiosis was ready for capital, we were able to reconnect with our preferred partners rather than desperately accepting just any money that came along. Our company is stronger because of the relationship we have with our investors.
What goals do you have for your company? How do you hope to see it grow in the coming years?
Our growth over the two years we’ve been in operation has literally been exponential. We’re now at a point where we’ve had to take in a further $6M in capital from investors to facilitate expansion. We have our first of several INDs (investigational new drug applications) under review with the FDA for a Phase I/II clinical trial for the treatment of Post-COVID Syndrome (PCS). We hope to start recruiting patients for this trial by the spring of 2023. Our data suggest that our product, ViXome, may be the first effective medicine for the treatment of PCS, which already affects over 200 million people worldwide.
What has been your proudest moment as president and founder?
I think my proudest moment is the opening of our new state-of-the-art, FDA-registered, ISO7-certified, cGMP-compliant cleanroom and lab in the heart of the University of Florida Innovation District in Gainesville. Our grand opening was the first opportunity we’ve had to bring all our team members together who have been working remotely since their employment. We were joined by many of our clients and collaborators and city and university officials. We enjoyed a ribbon cutting and a day full of celebration. This was the culmination of my 20+ years in academia and industry and it felt like we had beaten the odds by creating something truly amazing. I’m incredibly proud of my team and the products we are able to provide to the medical community and to patients.
What does it mean to you as a GrowFL FLCTW honoree?
Being selected as a FLCTW honoree is our first official recognition for the growth we’ve experienced as a new biotech company. It’s an honor to be recognized with these other excellent Florida-based companies, but beyond this honor is a profound feeling of accomplishment. While we have experienced remarkable financial growth in a very short time, we measure our success by the patient outcomes and lives we’ve been able to impact with our novel products. Our employees work very hard, and this recognition is something they deserve and can be very proud of.
Is there anyone special you’d like to thank?
I’d be here all day if I thanked all the special people who have helped us get to where we are today. A business is a collaborative effort, and my team is exceptional. I’d certainly like to thank my whole team, our investors, collaborators, and the University of Florida. Running a company like Neobiosis requires an incredible amount of effort which can take significant time away from family, so I’d like to dedicate this nomination to my wife and kids and the families of all our employees. Without their support and understanding, we would not be able to do the important work that we do.
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