Summit, Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine to Develop Saliva Tests for COVID, Head & Neck Cancer

AURORA, Colo., Oct. 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Summit Biolabs, Inc., an early-stage molecular diagnostics company specializing in saliva-based testing for COVID-19 and head & neck cancer, and the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine (CCPM) at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus announced today a broad strategic collaboration involving research, development and commercialization of saliva liquid-biopsy tests for early cancer detection and diagnosis of COVID-19 and other viral contagions.

The CCPM holds one of the largest research biobanks in the United States with clinical data from more than 8.7 million de-identified patient records and plans to integrate the data with personalized genomic information.

“This partnership brings two innovative programs together to optimize COVID testing at a time when it’s desperately needed,” says Kathleen Barnes, Ph.D., Professor and Director of CCPM at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. “Collaborations like this are crucial in moving research forward and advancing and expanding clinical testing to as many members of our community as possible. Working with Summit Biolabs, and leveraging technology developed by our colleagues here at the Anschutz Medical Campus, will help us achieve these goals and establish a non-invasive testing process that will benefit patients in Colorado and beyond.”

Summit Biolabs is developing breakthrough tests to improve the detection of COVID-19 and to advance the early detection of human cancers, including head & neck cancer, using simple, non-invasive saliva liquid-biopsy technology developed by Dr. Shi-Long Lu and colleagues at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Head & neck cancer has been scientifically overlooked, yet is medically important. Summit Biolabs’ research foundation and competency in head & neck cancer diagnosis enabled the company’s pivot to saliva-based testing for coronavirus, COVID-19.

“We are excited to collaborate with CCPM to develop and commercialize Summit Biolabs’ portfolio of developmental saliva or non-blood liquid-biopsy tests.” said Bob Blomquist, Chief Executive Officer at Summit Biolabs. “This collaboration broadens and strengthens Summit Biolabs’ ability to bring to market life-changing saliva liquid-biopsy tests that ultimately enable better treatment and improved outcomes for patients.”

About Summit Biolabs

Summit Biolabs is harnessing the power of saliva-based diagnostics to address critical challenges in COVID-19 and head & neck cancer testing. Founded on the discoveries of Dr. Shi-Long Lu, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology, Summit Biolabs is being spun out from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

Summit Biolabs is pioneering early detection of head & neck cancer recurrence using a first of its kind saliva liquid-biopsy test, HNKlear. HNKlear is a proprietary, non-invasive saliva test that provides more effective, more accurate, and earlier detection of head and neck cancer recurrence than traditional diagnostic methods. Summit Biolabs is leveraging its core competencies in saliva-based molecular diagnostics and viral nucleic acid testing (i.e., oral oncogenic human papillomavirus detection) to diagnose COVID-19. Along with our clinical and laboratory partners, Summit Biolabs is developing the first comprehensive panel of highly-accurate saliva-based tests for COVID-19 infection, quantitation, and immune response. Summit Biolabs is headquartered in Aurora, Colorado.

About

Summa Equity Acquires Sengenics to Advance Precision Medicine Through Proteomics

Summa Equity, the purpose-driven private equity firm that invests to solve global challenges, has acquired a majority stake in Sengenics, a functional proteomics company with a proprietary technology called KREX that enables researchers to vastly improve the understanding of the human proteome and immune system. Proteomics, i.e. the large-scale study of proteins, is one of the most important areas for gaining insights into human biology and disease, as protein expressions, structures and functions are critical in reflecting states of health.

Sengenics was first founded in 2008 and went on to commercialise the KREX technology that was originally developed from a joint collaboration between the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford. The company’s patented KREX technology enables researchers to address both the function and folding structure of proteins using one technology that allows for large numbers of proteins to be studied simultaneously, with high sensitivity and specificity. The combination of these capabilities makes KREX unique. The technology is relevant for a broad range of applications in research and throughout the value chain for drugs, vaccines and diagnostics. Sengenics is currently mainly focused on autoantibody detection for applications in autoimmune diseases, oncology and infectious diseases, including COVID-19. The company recently launched a unique high-throughput, multi-antigen, multi-domain and fully quantitative COVID-19 test, leveraging the KREX technology.

Sengenics has grown rapidly in recent years and established customer relationships with top global pharmaceutical companies, and leading research and academic institutions around the world. The company currently has commercial partnerships with 9 out of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies to co-develop complementary and companion diagnostic tests for autoimmune and cancer immunotherapy drugs. Sengenics is based in Europe and South-East Asia.

“Sengenics’ proprietary technology unlocks tremendous potential for researchers around the world to further their understanding of biology and disease,” says Tommi Unkuri, Partner at Summa Equity. “We are proud to partner with the company and support its journey, as it looks to expand its position in the market and grow its business. We look forward to supporting the Sengenics team in our shared ambition to invest to drive product development, global expansion and accelerated adoption.”

Summa Equity invests in companies that address global challenges, while managing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors, with the aim of increasing returns and reducing risk. It was the first company to align its investments with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The investment in Sengenics is aligned with the firm’s Changing Demographics theme and supports the SDG Target #3: “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”, by enabling improved diagnosis, treatment and patient outcomes across a number of disease areas.

“We are excited to welcome Summa Equity as a major strategic investor and shareholder in Sengenics. Their extensive capabilities and alignment with our vision of changing the future of medicine through immune-proteomics is a very strong strategic fit. Summa also has a great deal of relevant knowledge and experience to be a value-added owner for us given its ownership of Olink Proteomics. This

Living Health Integrative Medicine Celebrates its 19th Anniversary

Living Health Integrative Medicine, Which Was Founded by Dr. Thomas Chaney and Dr. Stephanie Chaney, Provides a Natural and Effective Integrative Approach to Health

ANNAPOLIS, MD / ACCESSWIRE / October 13, 2020 / Dr. Thomas Chaney and Dr. Stephanie Chaney are pleased to announce that Living Health Integrative Medicine, which they co-founded, is celebrating 19 years in business.

To contact Living Health Integrative Medicine and/or to sign up for their newsletter, please visit https://www.mylivinghealth.com/contact-us/.

As Dr. Thomas Chaney noted, he and Dr. Stephanie Chaney are proud of the way their devotion to integrative medicine has helped Living Health Integrative Medicine to become the leader in holistic wellness throughout Maryland, Washington DC and Northern Virginia.

They also take pride in the fact that they are leaders in functional medicine and physical medicine. They use the most current research and science to help guide the treatments they suggest for their valued patients.

Dr. Thomas Chaney, Dr. Stephanie Chaney and their team of practitioners truly live up to their practice’s name, working as an integrated team to provide everyone with the best possible care and results.

“Our model of integrative medicine incorporates natural therapies and treatments to address the whole body versus simply treating a symptom temporarily,” Dr. Thomas Chaney said.

“Our goal is to help you achieve your health goals and for you to reach your maximum health potential.”

From people who are dealing with the pain associated with neuropathy, to those who are looking for effective physical therapy, require regenerative medicine treatments and/or wish to lose weight or have been diagnosed with diabetes, Dr. Stephanie Chaney said they focus on practicing integrative medicine, which focuses on identifying the root cause of health issues.

“We combine multiple treatment options, such as chiropractic, physical therapy, functional medicine, nutrition, regenerative medicine, diagnostic testing, dietary supplement therapy, detoxification and custom nutrition plans,” she said.

About Dr. Thomas Chaney, Dr. Stephanie Chaney and Living Health Integrative Medicine:

Dr. Thomas Chaney is a Maryland native and the founder and co-owner of Living Health Integrative Medicine, which takes a holistic approach to healthcare. He is the co-author of the best-selling books “Lose the Gluten, Lose your Gut. Ditch the Grain, Save your Brain” and “Defeat Diabetes.” Dr. Chaney is a respected member of the profession with a national reputation for dedication to helping the public improve their health naturally.

Dr. Stephanie Chaney grew up in Ottawa Canada and is the co-owner of Living Health Integrative Medicine. She is a leader in the integrative health field, sharing her knowledge with practitioners and the public. Dr. Chaney is a renowned speaker on holistic health and regular guest on the morning show, Great Day Washington. She has also been featured as a guest natural health expert on FOX, ABC and NBC. She is the co-author of the best-selling books “Lose the Gluten, Lose your Gut. Ditch the Grain, Save your Brain” and “Defeat Diabetes.”

For more information, please visit https://www.mylivinghealth.com/.

Living Health Integrative Medicine

1833 Forest Drive, Suite A

Annapolis, MD

3D metal printer at College of Dental Medicine expands possibilities for innovation

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IMAGE: The component that Renne was able to print for the ZIAN team.
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Credit: MUSC

When the Zucker Institute for Applied Neurosciences at the Medical University of South Carolina needed to bring to life a neurosurgeon’s idea for better instrumentation for sacroiliac surgery, there was one obvious partner to turn to: the MUSC College of Dental Medicine.

The college is the only dental program in the nation to have the Sisma Mysint100 3D selective laser fusion printer that creates 3D prints from metal rather than plastic, and Walter Renne, D.M.D., a professor in the Department of Oral Rehabilitation and assistant dean of innovation and digital dentistry, is eager to see what it can do.

“3D printing is how we get stuff from our imagination into reality. One of the issues in the past was most of what we could print was plastic, and plastic degrades. You need something to actually function,” he said. “Now, instead of imagining something and developing a plastic prototype that I can look at, I can imagine something and develop a real, usable final product that can be put into a drill or placed in a patient’s mouth. It’s really exciting to have that at the university.”

The manufacturer, Sisma, donated the printer about six months ago. Renne said Sisma wanted its latest device to find a home in a college that would think up creative and innovative uses for it. Those uses aren’t limited to dentistry, however.

The college and ZIAN have collaborated in the past, so it was natural for ZIAN to turn to Renne and colleagues for help with this project, which started with an idea from Stephen Kalhorn, M.D., a professor in the Department of Neurosurgery.

Kalhorn has worked several times before with ZIAN, a technology accelerator that exists to help MUSC’s medical providers to develop their ideas for new devices or device improvements.

“I run things by them because then I can spend the majority of my time in the operating room actively helping patients,” he said. “I can literally drop off a napkin sketch at a ZIAN engineer’s desk or even less than that. There’s even been times that I’ve just drawn on the dry-erase board in the OR and taken a picture and sent it to them, and they’re off to the races.”

This time, Kalhorn had an idea to improve sacroiliac joint fusion surgery. The sacroiliac joint is where the pelvis and spine meet; it is also a source of lower back pain. Fusion surgery encourages the two bones to grow together into one so there is no wiggle room between the two.

Bony fusion requires three elements, Kalhorn explained: stabilization, such as when a cast is placed on a broken limb; decortication, which is the removal of the top layer of tissue to ensure there’s no cartilage or fibrous material blocking the bone cells from building a bridge between the two bones; and compression, whereby the pressure encourages more bone growth. But nothing on the

College of Medicine researcher makes novel discoveries in preventing epileptic seizures

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IMAGE: Sanjay Kumar, an associate professor in the Florida State University College of Medicine’s Department of Biomedical Sciences
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Credit: Colin Hackley

A team of researchers from the Florida State University College of Medicine has found that an amino acid produced by the brain could play a crucial role in preventing a type of epileptic seizure.

Temporal lobe epileptic seizures are debilitating and can cause lasting damage in patients, including neuronal death and loss of neuron function.

Sanjay Kumar, an associate professor in the College of Medicine’s Department of Biomedical Sciences, and his team are paving the way toward finding effective therapies for this disease.

The research team found a mechanism in the brain responsible for triggering epileptic seizures. Their research indicates that an amino acid known as D-serine could work with the mechanism to help prevent epileptic seizures, thereby also preventing the death of neural cells that accompanies them.

The team’s findings were published in the journal Nature Communications.

The temporal lobe processes sensory information and creates memories, comprehends language and controls emotions. Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is the most common form of epilepsy in adults and is not improved with current anti-epileptic medications.

“A hallmark of TLE is the loss of a vulnerable population of neurons in a particular brain region called the entorhinal area,” Kumar said. “We’re trying to understand why neurons die in this brain region in the first place. From there, is there anything that we can do to stop these neurons from dying? It’s a very fundamental question.”

To help further understand TLE pathophysiology, the Kumar lab studies underlying receptors in the brain. Receptors are proteins located in the gaps, or junctions, between two or more communicating neurons. They convert signals between the neurons, aiding in their communication.

Kumar and his team discovered a new type of receptor that they informally named the “FSU receptor” in the entorhinal cortex of the brain. The FSU receptor is a potential target for TLE therapy.

“What’s striking about this receptor is that it is highly calcium-permeable, which is what we believe underlies the hyperexcitability and the damage to neurons in this region,” Kumar said.

When FSU receptors allow too much calcium to enter neurons, TLE patients experience epileptic seizures as neurons become overstimulated from the influx. The overstimulation, or hyperexcitability, is what causes neurons to die, a process known as excitotoxicity.

The research team also found that the amino acid D-serine blocks these receptors to prevent excess levels of calcium from reaching neurons, thereby preventing seizure activity and neuronal death.

“What’s unique about D-serine, unlike any other drugs that are out there, is that D-serine is made in the brain itself, so it’s well-tolerated by the brain,” Kumar said. “Many medications that deal with treating TLE are not well-tolerated, but given that this is made in the brain, it works very well.”

With assistance from Michael Roper’s lab in the FSU Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, the research team found that D-serine levels were depleted

SEngine Precision Medicine to Present at Society of Functional Precision Medicine Virtual …

Press release content from Globe Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

SEATTLE, Oct. 13, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — SEnginePrecision Medicine, a precision oncology company revolutionizing cancer diagnostics and drug discovery by pre-testing drugs on patient-derived tumor organoids, today announced that Chief Medical Officer Astrid L. Margossian, MD, PhD, will present at the Society for Functional Precision Medicine (SFPM) Virtual Monthly Seminar on October 14th at 11:30 am ET.

Dr. Margossian is leading SEngine’s clinical validation initiatives for the PARIS® Test, a CLIA certified cancer organoid based drug sensitivity test for all solid tumors. The presentation is entitled, “Predictive Clinical Value of a CLIA-Approved Organoid Based Drug Sensitivity Test,” and will highlight the data on the PARIS® Test, recently presented at the ASCO 2020 and ACCR 2020 annual meetings, inclusive of organoids sensitivity results, showing clinical correlation with genomics and previous clinical treatments. Registration for the live event is available for free at https://www.sfpm.io/seminars.php.

SFPM’s virtual monthly seminar brings together distinguished guest speakers and through interactive panel discussions and Q&A sessions focuses on these key topics:

  • Demonstrating the clinical utility of functional precision medicine testing
  • Implementing functional testing in precision medicine clinical trials
  • Accelerating the application of functional testing
  • Addressing stakeholder, educational and investment challenges for functional precision medicine

About PARIS® Test
The CLIA certified PARIS® Test is based on the capability to propagate patient-specific cancer tissue as organoids ex vivo and is applicable to all solid tumors including colon, breast, lung, ovarian and pancreatic cancer. Organoids are cancer-derived cells grown in 3D outside the body, which maintain the functionality of the original tumor as well as its genomic characteristics. For cancers where the path is not clear, such as many metastatic and recurrent cancers, the PARIS test provides crucial information to the treating physicians to match the right drug to the right patient.

About SEngine Precision Medicine
SEngine Precision Medicine Inc. is a precision oncology company revolutionizing cancer diagnostics and therapies by pre-testing drugs on patient-derived organoids grown ex-vivo utilizing patient specific tumor cells. As a spin-out from the world-renowned Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, SEngine is leveraging over two decades of R&D in diagnostics and drug discovery. The Company is commercializing the PARIS® Test, a next generation diagnostic test that predicts drug responses integrating knowledge of cancer genomics with organoids, robotics, and AI-driven computational tools. SEngine’s CLIA certified PARIS® Test generates predictive drug sensitivity reports for patients with solid tumors. SEngine is also pursuing drug discovery via strategic collaborations with biopharmaceutical / pharma companies leveraging its precision oncology platform.

Discover more at SengineMedicine.com and follow the latest news from SEngine on Twitter at @SEngineMedicine and on LinkedIn.

Contact:
Stephanie Carrington
stephanie.carrington@westwicke.com
646-277-1282

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Disc Medicine Expands Scientific Advisory Board with Leading Experts in Hepcidin Biology

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Disc Medicine, a company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel therapeutic candidates for serious and debilitating hematologic diseases, today announced the appointment of Tomas Ganz, MD, PhD and Elizabeta Nemeth, PhD to its scientific advisory board, adding valuable expertise in hepcidin biology.

Disc Medicine is a hematology company harnessing new insights in hepcidin biology to address ineffective red blood cell production (erythropoiesis) in hematologic diseases. Focused on the hepcidin pathway, the master regulator of iron metabolism, Disc is advancing first-in-class therapies to transform the treatment of hematologic diseases. (PRNewsfoto/Disc Medicine)

“We are thrilled to welcome  Dr. Ganz and Dr. Nemeth to our Scientific Advisory Board, particularly at such an exciting time in a field that they helped pioneer,” said John Quisel, JD, PhD, Chief Executive Officer at Disc Medicine. “Together they were instrumental in characterizing the fundamental role of hepcidin in iron homeostasis, and I’m delighted to be working with them as we advance our hepcidin-targeted programs into the clinic.”

Dr. Ganz is a Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Pathology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, where he studies the role of small peptide regulators in human physiology and disease and is credited for the discovery of the iron-regulatory hormone hepcidin. Dr. Ganz received his PhD in Applied Physics from Caltech and his MD from UCLA, joining UCLA as a faculty member in 1983 after having completed training in Internal Medicine and Pulmonary Medicine. In 2005 he received the Marcel Simon Prize of the International Bioiron Society for the discovery of hepcidin and in 2014 was honored by the E. Donnall Thomas Award from the American Society of Hematology for his research in iron homeostasis, including the discovery of the iron-regulatory hormone hepcidin and investigation of its roles in iron metabolism.

“It has been immensely gratifying to see the hepcidin story unfold as our understanding of hepcidin’s role across different diseases has grown,” said Tomas Ganz, MD PhD. “Disc has taken a compelling approach to targeting hepcidin with two programs guided by human genetic findings. I’m delighted to be a part of this vision, particularly as they look to enter the clinic with their first program next year.”

Dr. Nemeth is a Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and Director of the UCLA Center for Iron Disorders. Dr. Nemeth received her PhD in Cell, Molecular and Neurosciences at the University of Hawaii and completed a postdoctoral fellowship studying the pathobiology of hepcidin at UCLA. During her tenure she has made major contributions to the understanding of iron homeostasis and its dysregulation in disease, such as characterizing the regulation of hepcidin production by inflammation and iron and elucidating the mechanism of action of hepcidin in regulating dietary iron absorption and release from stores. Dr. Nemeth also described the role of hepcidin in various iron disorders including hereditary hemochromatosis, iron-loading anemias and iron-restricted anemias. Dr. Nemeth was a standing member of the Molecular and Cellular Hematology Study Section of the National Institutes of Health, is President-Elect of the International BioIron Society, and an associate editor of the American Journal of Hematology. Dr. Ganz and Nemeth co-founded three biotechnology companies focused on hepcidin-targeted

Genemod Raises $1.7M in Oversubscribed Seed Round to Drive the Next Generation of Medicine

SEATTLE, Oct. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Genemod, a software solution for life scientists that uses data automation to streamline and accelerate research, today announced a $1.7M seed funding round led by Defy.vc with added support by Omicron, Unpopular Ventures, Underdog Labs, and Canaan Partners Scout Fund. The funding will enable Genemod to now include a complimentary product management software alongside the company’s flagship life sciences inventory management service. The funding is a stepping stone to bring Genemod’s vision to life as the company solves the problems around data sharing for biotech companies allowing research to be repeatable and cures to be developed at a faster pace.

Genemod’s cloud-based solutions offer biotech companies the ability to maximize productivity and consolidate data sharing with one collaborative workspace. By streamlining inventory, experiment, application and data management, Genemod helps scientists conduct repeatable research and develop cures faster. Labs from nationally recognized institutions, including the University of Washington School of Medicine, the University of California, Berkeley and the National Institutes of Health rely on Genemod’s cloud-based solutions to accelerate life sciences research and drug discovery. Today’s funding will allow Genemod to grow its current headcount by 50 percent and expand its customer base beyond academic institutions and into small enterprises.

“While the life sciences industry is known for developing inventive solutions to some of the world’s biggest health problems, many scientists are working with manual, siloed and inefficient processes,” said Jacob Lee, CEO and co-founder, Genemod. “Genemod aims to make a scientist’s journey just as innovative as their destination, driving faster and more creative problem solving. Today’s funding will allow us to make a major step toward achieving this goal.”

Alongside the funding, Defy.vc will serve as a growth partner for Genemod, supporting the company as it works to roll out its product roadmap for the latter half of the year. Neil Sequeira, co-founder and managing director of Defy.vc, will join Genemod’s Board of Directors.

“It is crucial to invest in companies leveraging technology to provide software for scientists working on the frontlines of solving the world’s global health challenges,” said Neil Sequeira, co-founder and partner, Defy.vc, “our firm believes that investing in software companies like Genemod will create incredible value in a variety of ways and rapidly solve some of the biggest impediments facing research and discovery.”

Founded in 2018, Genemod was part of the first Launch Lab from Venture Out Startups a company that helps early-stage founders gain traction with their product by acting as a ‘Co-founder as-a-Service.’

About Genemod

Genemod helps biotech companies maximize productivity through cloud-based inventory and product management solutions that drive the next generation of therapies. Life scientists and researchers use Genemod to collaborate on research, inventory reagents and streamline workflows. Alongside some of the world’s leading biotech institutions, including the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington School of Medicine, Genemod’s long-term vision is to enable organizations to develop cures faster by offering technologically advanced, pre-clinical

UNE to move its College of Osteopathic Medicine to Portland

BIDDEFORD, Maine (AP) — Funding from the Harold Alfond Foundation will help the University of New England move the College of Osteopathic Medicine from the main campus in Biddeford to a 100,000-square-foot building in Portland, the university announced Tuesday.

The $30 million grant also will be used to accelerate high-growth undergraduate and graduate programs to meet student demand and workforce needs in areas like aquaculture, entrepreneurship, criminal justice and sports media communication, among others, officials said.

The move of the College of Osteopathic Medicine will put it on the Portland campus along with other health-related programs like dentistry, pharmacy, physician assistant, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work, dental hygiene and nurse anesthesia.

“With a truly integrated health care campus, like none other in our region, our health professions students will capitalize on opportunities for cross-professional learning, enhance their team-based competencies, and will benefit from amazing new learning spaces that will complement UNE’s existing assets,” said UNE President James Herbert.

The university hopes to break ground on the new building in the spring 2022 and looks to the fall 2023 as a targeted completion date, officials said.

The grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation is part of a $500 million commitment over 12 years to provide an economic boost to the state.

“We believe that two fundamental components of a bright future for Maine are a high-quality education and a healthy population, and UNE is a significant contributor toward both of these goals,” said Greg Powell, chairman of the foundation.

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How Genexa Is Leading The Clean Medicine Revolution And Getting Us To ‘Ditch The Dirty’

As a parent, I’m always thinking of my six year old son and how to keep him healthy and safe. I was surprised to hear of the idea of ‘clean medicine’ – and learn more about how common medications oftentimes contain ingredients which could be harmful.

Genexa is a ‘clean medicine’ company that is on a mission to get us to ‘Ditch the Dirty’. I caught up with co-founders David Johnson and Max Spielberg to find out more.

Afdhel Aziz: Max, David, welcome. Please tell us how the two of you came to start Genexa?

David Johnson: I grew up in a “nuts and seeds” type of household. My parents, both chiropractors, were particularly cognizant of everything health related. They always tried to choose natural and organic foods.  In having my own kids now, I want to raise them similarly, using the cleanest ingredients whenever possible.

Max Spielberg: I have dealt with allergies my entire life. Only a few years ago I discovered that many of the OTC medicines we all know and use routinely, are, surprisingly, full of common allergens. I experienced adverse reactions from some of these allergens, one of which was even in my allergy medicines! David and I are longtime friends and when we both had kids, we became increasingly frustrated by the fever reducers or cough medicines on shelves that were full of synthetic and artificial ingredients. The medicines we trusted to make our kids feel better were actually full of artificial additives, frequently including synthetic dyes, flavorings, as well as common allergens. 

Johnson: We decided we had to do something about this. With the rise of organic, clean label products in other industries (food, beauty, personal care and cleaning products), we thought the pharmaceutical industry – the industry making products intended to heal people – should have been at the forefront but was instead lagging behind. We got to work on creating a new kind of pharma company and found a way to make medicine with the same ingredients people need, but without the artificial ones they don’t. We launched Genexa in 2017 after two years of research, development and fundraising, and tremendous partners around us, namely Brian Perkins, former Worldwide Chairman, Consumer Pharmaceuticals & Nutritional’s at Johnson & Johnson. We’re 3 years in and have so much in store for the next few years!

Aziz: Thank you for sharing that. How would you articulate the purpose and the mission of the company?

Johnson: Genexa is on a mission to revolutionize the medicine aisle by making what we think of as real medicine clean. That means making products that have the same active ingredient – the ingredient that helps you feel better – but removing all of the artificial inactive ingredients. We replace the common allergens, synthetic dyes and artificial sweeteners with wholesome ingredients. For flavoring, we use organic blueberries instead of high fructose corn syrup. For coloring, we use