Monday, August 24, 2015
The 21st century Band-Aid
The good news is capitalism is alive and well in the 21st century. People in their teens are coming up with ideas that save lives and reduce medical costs. At 19, Elizabeth Anne Holmes came up with the idea of using small amounts of blood to test for diseases, which allows the consumer to test himself without a doctor's permission. By 31, Forbes listed her net worth this year at $4.7 billion this year. She will anchor the 80 profiles of capitalists in the second volume of my Exceptional Americans series, which will be published on September 1.
While Holmes is in Palo Alto, California, re-working blood tests, in Brooklyn a medical miracle grows. In 2010, at age 17, Joe Landolina co-founded Suneris Inc. to develop a gel that seals wounds nearly instantly without gauze or stitches. Five years later, the Food and Drug Administration approved Veti-Gel for use by veterinarians in the summer of 2015.
Born January 27, 1993, in Pine Bush in Ulster County, New York, Joseph Alexander Landolina learned about chemistry from his grandparents, Patricia and Jack Baldwin, who built a winery in Pine Bush in 1982. They put him to work at 13, passing along their knowledge of vineyards, labor, and entrepreneurship.
After graduation for Pine Bush High School in 2010, Landolina entered New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering. At the same time, he and Isaac Miller founded Suneris in Brooklyn. Miller is a little older than Landolina, but was so impressed with Landolina's pitch for his invention that Miller approached him and they formed a business partnership with Miller handling the finances for their start-up company. The name comes from the Latin phrase sui generis, which means "of its own kind." The company slogan is, "Technologies In Partnership With Your Body."
But Landolina not only knew the science, he knew how to pitch ideas. As a freshman he entered an NYU business competition against masters and doctoral candidates, and won. Grandpa and Grandma Baldwin taught him well.
"Naiveté really helped us move forward. As a freshman, if I knew how hard the process would be I don't think I would've stuck through it. Not knowing what would happen next helped us push through it," Landolina told USA Today.
However, there is steak to his sizzle. One does not win FDA approval without having a product that works.
"It's very difficult to isolate exactly how it works. You can isolate that this is the best mechanism to be an immediate solution to trauma care," Landolina said.
The ability to seal off a wound or a surgeon's cut without gauze or stitches is a medical advance that comes nearly a century after Earle Dickson invented the Band-Aid, which protects wounds from infections while they healed.
His is not the first such product on the market. But others take five minutes or longer to seal the wound. Veti-Gel does it in seconds.
"Our gel technology is durable and bioresorbable. After the gel has controlled bleeding at the site of injury, the accompanying solidifying agent is applied to solidify the gel and form a long-lasting protective barrier over the wound. Because our plant-based gel technology is biocompatible, it facilitates options and flexibility in follow-up care. Once the gel is secured as a single mass by the solidifying agent, it can either be removed or left in place to safely resorb," the company said.
The product can be stored at room temperature and requires no special training to use. Also, the material is organic and comes from plants.
While his company received funding from the NYU Innovation Venture Fund, as of 2015, Landolina still had not received his bachelor's degree. But he continued to pursue the degree through night school.
Landolina is three years older than Kendall Kardashian, and four years older than her sister, Kylie. I leave it to readers to decide who deserves publicity more.
My first collection of "Exceptional Americans" is available here. And the Kindle version is here.
Volume 2's publication will be on September 1, my 62nd birthday. It will be available here, and on Amazon and Kindle.