An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis
I wish someone would have told me is how difficult it is to get people to embrace a new technology that has the potential to transform the world and make even more money. Getting people to change from the way they are doing things — shifting conceptions, behavior and expectations — can be very difficult.
As a part of my series about “Big Ideas That Might Change The World In The Next Few Years” I had the pleasure of interviewing Joshua McClure.
Joshua McClure is the CEO, Co-founder, Co-inventor, and Chair of the Board of Directors for Maxwell Biosciences, a preclinical drug platform company that develops biomimetic therapeutics — synthetic compounds that mimic and improve upon biomolecules. A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Joshua has more than 20 years experience as a CEO. He is a multi-patent innovator with a background in military and commercial intelligence and now devotes his time to biotechnologies. His knowledge of leadership principles alongside his 2016 big data study of immune proteins’ impact on health outcomes are the foundation of the company.
He has founded and led multiple category-first companies and now devotes his time to biotechnologies. In 2015, Joshua dedicated himself to extending human health span through combating pathogens — the leading cause of human disease and mortality. He is a co-inventor of the world’s first tissue-safe virucidal anti-infectives, anti-infective device coatings, the first virucidal condom, human gene expression modulation technology, and invented geo-placed digital media, and facial recognition-based ecommerce. In 2003, he co-designed and led commercialization for the world’s first dual core laptop computer with Advanced Micro Devices.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you please tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I felt called to help heal the world after seeing the impact chronic disease had on loved ones.
I began reading scientific articles regarding the expression of the genome, and how it circulates proteins in the bloodstream. It occurred to me that perhaps genetic expression could explain why some elderly folks are resilient vs other elders are sickly. Perhaps proteins in the bloodstream could explain the difference between those healthy resilient populations compared with those with declining, vulnerable health, such as with Alzheimer’s disease and other long-term degenerative conditions.
Through my research, I found that there are key proteins present in long-term resilient populations that are not present in the vulnerable populations. One particular protein stood out — LL-37, orHuman Cathelicidin Antimicrobial Peptide — and I decided there had to be a way to improve health outcomes by making and applying a synthetic, improved version of LL-37. That’s when I began discussions with bioengineers who were experts in LL-37, including my co-founder, Dr. Annelise Barron.
Can you please share with us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Meeting Dr. Annelise Barron and finding out that she had already made improvements to LL-37 was one of the most exciting moments in my career. I learned she had already done a lot of work in developing a synthetic, engineered version, proving its capabilities while showing that it has very high biomimicry to LL-37, especially when it comes to fighting bacteria and fungi. Her research really encouraged me and I started working with Dr. Barron as we connected in our search for cures, not just treatments.
Which principles or philosophies have guided your life? Your career?
The main principles or philosophies that have guided both my life and my career are 1) being open to possibility and 2) embodying the possibility of power, compassion and health for the world.
Can you tell us about your “Big Idea That Might Change The World”?
Following nature and listening to nature is better than blocking or circumventing nature. We all should strive to be inspired by biology and use the mysteries and magic of the body to treat disease.
Infectious pathogens and cancers continue to evolve and threaten our existence and our economies. Using nature as our guide, we’ve developed biomimetic therapeutics — synthetic low-molecular weight compounds that can mimic and improve upon thousands of human peptides, which play a key role in maintaining optimal health. With enhanced potency, safety and stability, the compounds imitate key components of the immune system, humanity’s greatest asset in fighting disease.
The compounds are created by Maxwell’s exclusive first-in-class, CLAROMER™ brand drug platform and have been effective in destroying viruses, bacteria, fungi and some cancers, while safely avoiding healthy cells.
They work by targeting vulnerabilities in pathogen membranes. This is accomplished primarily by engaging phosphatidylserine, a lipid that is exposed on the outer membrane of many pathogens, senescent cells and many tumor lines. Mammalian biology uses phosphatidylserine to mark a cell for recycling, so healthy cells typically do not express this marker.
These pathogen-specific phosphatidylserine membrane vulnerabilities are what allow your immune system peptides to target them. We use that same vulnerability in the drug discovery process.
It’s never been done before — and it’s our way of creating health for the world — safely and affordably.
How do you think this will change the world?
Imagine a world where viruses are not just treatable but curable … a world where MS (Multiple Sclerosis), Herpes, HIV, Syphilis, Covid, Influenza, Rhinovirus (the predominant cause of the common cold) and all enveloped viruses are now under the control of mankind.
This idea will completely restructure and sustainably transform the way we treat and deal with disease. Many chronic diseases will essentially disappear once the underlying viral, fungal or bacterial causes have been treated.
As we know, viruses have been a driver of evolution for hundreds of millions of years because viruses edit our DNA. So if we’re significantly cutting back on viruses that are causing disease, then we could ultimately impact the randomized nature of evolution.
The developments at Maxwell are happening at the same time that CRISPR is evolving. To me, this is not a coincidence. I am both encouraged and inspired by the breadth of scientific innovation, which has accelerated in recent years.
Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this idea? Can you tell us that story?
When I started to look at the proteomics of the extracellular environment — that being the proteins in the bloodstream — I began to understand that those proteins are a key driver of long-term aging. The ultimate tipping point is when I realized that — if we can modify and improve the proteins that are active in the bloodstream and clean up the plasma — then we can significantly extend human healthspan.
What do you need to lead this idea to widespread adoption?
All we need for widespread adoption is efficacy, safety and commercial viability — those three factors go along with the company’s vision to create health for the world safely and affordably. Our plan is to move forward with an eye towards market share — similar to what you’ve seen with cloud storage or email. Like the Amazon business model, we intend to offer very affordable, highly scalable drug products with the intention of capturing massive market share.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.) Written or video format optional (see details below).
The first thing I wish someone would have told me is how difficult it is to get people to embrace a new technology that has the potential to transform the world and make even more money. Getting people to change from the way they are doing things — shifting conceptions, behavior and expectations — can be very difficult.
The second thing is how incredibly effective and relatively simple it is — once you have created a team of people that believe in a new technology, understand it and understand the underlying mechanisms of action — to create a globally disruptive new technology.
The third thing is don’t trust what everyone tells you when you know in your heart you’re doing the right thing for humanity. When I started everyone told me that it was going to be very, very difficult for me as an outsider to the industry to raise money. My passion for this work, the support of an incredible team, and with our science and the potential to have a meaningful impact on global health, we have been fortunate to quickly raise capital.
Perhaps the fourth thing is the impact of timing. The pandemic hit around the same time that we were announcing Maxwell’s virucidal capabilities — it was completely coincidental since we started developing it years before COVID-19 overwhelmed the world. It helped that we had already assembled a stellar team of some of the top scientists in the world, and owned our patents outright. So, we had already done our homework with the metaphorical pop quiz hit.
Can you share with our readers what you think are the most important “success habits” or “success mindsets”?
Understand that failure is an option and look for opportunities to fail upfront and early. An absolute key to success is looking to fail fast, so try to find company-killing or technology-killing tests where you can prove that your technology doesn’t work so that you stop wasting money and time. Find as many of those tests as possible and be absolutely heartless with yourself so that — when you encounter anyone else — no one else can be as mean or as heartless as you have already been with your own idea. That one habit is really, really key.
Once you have completely eliminated failure as an option and there’s no way that you could completely fail, you understand the principles of the business, and the underlying basic data of the body and of the science, then you already know which cards are being dealt in the deck and you’re in a position to go ‘all in’. And that’s where I’m at now. My team and I really understand the technology — we understand how the body reacts to it and how the body works with the technology — so I am ready to go ‘all in’.
And finally for true success, understand what integrity is. Integrity is not only about honesty, integrity is about strength, like the integrity of a load bearing foundation of a home. And honesty is being completely authentic with yourself, which is absolutely key for attracting authenticity to your team, yourself and your company. Look for authenticity in the people you want to work with and know that attracting it starts by being completely authentic with your own self. That is the kind of authenticity that creates strength and integrity.
Some very well known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Imagine a world where viruses are not just treatable but curable … a world where MS (Multiple Sclerosis), Herpes, HIV, Syphilis, Covid, Influenza, Rhinovirus (the predominant cause of the common cold) and all enveloped viruses are now under the control of mankind. There are subpopulations of Type-1 diabetes that are caused by a viral infection of the pancreas duct. Research has shown that the onset of some cancers and chronic diseases are linked to infectious pathogens — viral, bacterial, fungal, polymicrobial and biofilms.
Maxwell’s patented biomimetic technology destroys a broad range of infectious pathogens — including all studied SARS-CoV-2, SARS-1, MERS, Influenza A — and could be the most disruptive technology that the world has ever seen.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Folks can find me on Twitter and LinkedIn. My Linkedin account is mainly focused on people that I personally know, but Twitter would be a good place to contact me via social media and follow me for random thoughts.
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.
Biomimetic Therapeutics: Joshua McClure’s Big Idea that Might Change the World was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.