How does, in your opinion, your technology align with the mission of BLUE KNIGHT™?
It is really a perfect match. We are developing broad spectrum antiviral drugs, which is perfectly aligned with Blue Knight, which aims to stimulate innovation and incubation of technologies and medical countermeasures (MCMs) to improve health security and our nation’s response to medical threats and emerging infectious diseases.
How has BARDA’s mentorship through the BLUE KNIGHT™ program helped accelerate your company?
This is the key. With continual mentoring from BARDA we feel we are able to position our technology and drug development so that it can align with the stage at which BARDA could be our partner.
Please tell us one surprising or fun fact about yourself.
I love to dance tango.
Tell us the story behind the founding of your company. What’s the personal and scientific inspiration behind the founding (or your work with) this company?
I am a geneticist and immunologist with a knack for entrepreneurship. I was studying a rare patient population (11 patients, hence the company name) when I realized that they may have augmented ability to fight off viruses. This is what inspired the technology development.
How do you hope your start-up will impact or change the lives of patients?
Our mission is pretty fantastical. We want a drug that can help fight off even the deadliest viruses while allowing for natural immunity. More simply said, no COVID-19 ever again!
What do you feel differentiates you from competitors?
We are bold, uncompromising, and aim to be the first to have a broad spectrum antiviral approved.
No two days are alike as a start-up founder – how do you organize your day?
Keep calm, keep working, and keep increasing efficiency.
What startup leader do you admire most? Who has been a role model for you?
There are many, but I like those with a bold mission the most.
How do you read-in every day to know where the opportunities are, what your competitors are doing, where the next big idea might be?
I think it is important to observe, learn, read and talk to others. I have learned that for ideas and projects to mature, one must keep trying, but also be ready to pivot. Opportunities are plenty, and honestly it is very exciting.
What do you wish you’d known in the early days of leading a startup that would be helpful for your fellow founders to know? What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Keep trying and trust yourself.
What scientist dead or alive would you like to have coffee with?
Ion Gresser, an American scientist in Paris.
What advice would you have for new JLABS residents on making the most of the time, opportunities, and mentorship at JLABS?
This is a perfect place to start and grow your company. JLABS offers immense networking opportunities and great partners and advisors.
What is your advice on tailoring your pitch to different investors/tips for pitching to investors in the virtual era?
Be on point. Know the topic and investment climate. Know what the investor is looking for. Keep it simple, but sophisticated and rigorous.
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