Gearing up the new company

Well, its been quiet for several weeks as I had a few projects to complete. One was the final report for an SBIR and in addition I have been curating a special edition of Drug Discovery Today focused on Tuberculosis as well as writing grants (I am always writing grants). So lots of writing basically interspersed with some science and collaborations on new projects.

August marks the start of a clean break. I am going to mostly focus on my own company Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. which started over a year ago but has been in stealth mode. I have been putting together a number of collaborations and writing grants and doing preliminary work. The goal is to use this as an opportunity to address several rare and neglected diseases. It builds on the work Jill Wood, collaborators and I have been doing at Phoenix Nest Inc for Sanfilippo Syndrome. I reasoned what we have done for a single disease could be applied much more broadly. I have been approached by several families with children with rare diseases over the years and I am sure this will continue. What if there was a way to use the Phoenix Nest model to apply to their disease. Namely, provide a means to get STTR grants with collaborator academics working on the disease of interest. So it is pretty simple, as a business model. Identify the diseases, collaborators, write and win the grants and then ultimately license the science. I feel like this is the ultimate experiment. Twenty plus years of collaboration in the industry in various positions have lead to this. Start small, win grants, hire people and build business.

The challenge is continuing to build up Phoenix Nest and also serve as CSO of the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation which are my major responsibilities as well as my many ongoing collaborations with scientists at many academic groups. This is a good opportunity to evaluate and plan for the future. One of the challenges will be managing a growing number of collaborations and I think this will create new opportunities for software development too. If there is anyone that wants to help me to find excellent academic collaborators then please get in touch. I am always open to new ideas!

I really enjoy the challenge of doing something that is new or a different topic, and in the past decade I have been successful in obtaining small business grants to help build other people’s companies. Now its time to use this ability for something which I started myself. I know it will require dogged persistence and patience (which I don’t have much of). The focus on rare diseases came from a single meeting while that of neglected diseases has built on collaborations initiated over the past 8 years or so and I hope it can build a second sustainable business and create jobs and treatments. As always, I will endeavor to document the process here as I can.


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