[USA] Joe Landolina has always been a bit of a science nerd. Growing up he’d spend hours at his grandparents’ winery, finding plants in the vineyard and trying to see what he could extract from them. It was while he was tinkering with algae that the then 17-year-old discovered a liquid that would change into a solid quickly.
“I always knew I wanted to go into medicine, so I thought of stopping a bullet wound [using that liquid].”
Now 22, Landolina has started his own company called Suneris which makes Vetigel, a plant-based serum that, when applied to wounds, stops bleeding in seconds. It’s a product bigger than his initial aspirations.
“[Liquid bandage] doesn’t stop bleeding. It’ll seal the surface of a small cut but is not effective for traumatic bleeding.” Landolina says. “Vetigel makes a mechanical plug that holds the pressure in and also helps the body make its own clots.”
While Landolina, along with his co-founder Isaac Miller and 25-person company, are still about a year away from being able to use its product on humans (if all goes well in the approval process), the entrepreneur has found an unexpected industry for Vetigel: animal health care.
Warning: the video below features heavy bleeding.
“Vets don’t have most of the tech that’s available to human patients,” Landolina says. He explains the standard of care for animals with traumatic bleeds is to use a gelatin sponge, but this method can take 10 minutes to staunch the bleeding, compared to seconds with Vetigel. This coupled with the fact that there are fewer federal regulations required to administer products to animals (as opposed to humans) has helped Suneris quickly break into the field.
There are 3,500 veterinary clinics enrolled to use Vetigel once it’s distributed in the coming months. The company’s focus continues to be getting its product — retailing for $150 for five syringes — into the hands of surgeons, a high-use customer, as well as general practitioners (so they can begin do basic surgeries, rather than providing a referral to another doctor).
With Vetigel’s current use and the possibility that it could one day be used on humans has caused a lot of interest among investors. The company has more than 60 investors, and they were easy to find. After Landolina hosted a Ted Talk (see below), Suneris had more interest than they could take on.
“We had 1,200 accredited investors that asked to invest,” he says, adding that he and his team eventually asked potential backers to apply to be considered via a selection process. They whittled that batch of applications down to 40 (adding additional investors later on). Though Landolina wouldn’t give names, he says the backers are private individuals with high net worth, most of whom he had never met or had a connection to prior to investment. “We want someone who is not a VC, who’s passionate about the product, trusting of the team and has a network that’s beneficial,” he says.
View original article at: An algae serum is being used to treat wounded animals — And humans could be next