Saving Drug Development One Nanoformulation at a Time

24 Jun

Dr. Kay Olmstead

Interview with Dr. Kay Olmstead, CEO of Nano PharmaSolutions

By Rory McCann, Marketing Manager & Conference Producer, LSN

Nano PharmaSolutions took home the 3rd place prize at Digital RESI June’s Innovator’s Pitch Challenge! They presented in the Novel Drug Delivery pitch session on Wednesday, June 9th, alongside four other pitching companies. We connected with CEO, Dr. Kay Olmstead, to discuss Nano PharmaSolutions’ place in the market as a disruptive technology solving issues associated with drug insolubility, and how they’ve navigated the early stage.

Rory McCann (RM): Hi Kay, Congratulations on being selected as an Innovator’s Pitch Challenge winner at Digital RESI June. Tell us a little about yourself and Nano PharmaSolutions. 

Dr. Kay Olmstead (KO): Thanks for the good news, Rory. I have 32 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry with 19 issued patents and 5 FDA approvals on the 20+ drugs I’ve developed. I came out of retirement to set up this company to solve the number one problem in the drug industry today: insolubility of drugs. Over 70% of new drug candidates and 40% of approved drugs are not soluble in water, causing low absorption into our bodies. Nano drug delivery is solving this problem somewhat, but it uses polymers and lipids to generate nano particles. We develop a way to generate nanoparticles without using any chemicals or solvent – no one else can do that. And we do it faster.

RM: What is the need in the marketplace you’re filling and how have you found a solution to that need?

KO: Only about 1 in 1,000 drug candidates gets approved by the FDA after 8-12 years of development time. The biggest failure happens in preclinical phase; and improper formulation of insoluble drug is the primary reason for this preclinical failure. Drug companies can’t do too much formulation development at early stage because they don’t have a lot of active drug. Our technology is disruptive. We solve this problem because we only need 7 grams of active drug to develop the optimum nanoformulation for our clients, and we do it in 7 short weeks. We return 3 grams of their drug candidate as nanoformulation so they can quickly perform IND-enabling in vitro and in vivo preclinical studies. 

RM: How did you go about building your team? What considerations did you consider when developing the people behind Nano PharmaSolutions?

KO: We started the company with three co-founders with complementary skill sets; I have extensive pharmaceutical experience and our CTO, Dr. Koh, is a material scientist specializing in nanotechnology. Our COO, Mr. Lee, is great in organization and business development. We live the company values of integrity, compassion, and ingenuity. We look for people with the same value who want to make drugs better for patients. The skill set required for our work is different from routine pharmaceutical companies, as we use material science in pharmaceutics. We can teach people the skill sets, so we look for the right characters and values in our new hires.

RM: What have been some of the biggest hurdles you’ve faced with early-stage fundraising? How have you tackled some of these challenges?

KO: Our technology of evaporating drug to capture it back as nanoparticle is rather out-of-this world. We call it “beam-me-up-Scotty” technology. The messaging was a challenge to some angels and VCs because we are so different from others. Now we have traction, NSF SBIR grant approval, and media coverage; we are getting the attention of investors.  

RM: What’s next for Nano PharmaSolutions? Where do you see the company in 1 year? 5 years? 10?

KO: We are entering into a strategic partnership with a GMP manufacturer, and we will be making clinical samples for our clients by the end of 2022. We anticipate several patents to be issued soon. Our revenue model predicts us to breakeven next year and $100M revenue by 2026.

Congratulations to Nano PharmaSolutions and all our pitching companies. To learn more about RESI Partnering Week and get involved with the Innovator’s Pitch Challenges taking place September 13-17, visit Apply for the Digital RESI September Innovator’s Pitch Challenge! Save $100 when you register before July 9!

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