With the rise of chronic diseases and the high-demand to deliver high-volume drugs for self-treatment in a timely manner, Julia Anthony took it upon herself and launched her venture SOLUtion Medical to develop more patient friendly drug delivery systems for reconstitutable drugs.
Julia serves as the Founder, President, and Chief Strategy Officer, and actively advocates and educates on behalf of the rare disease community. She also brings her experience and rigor as a designer, entrepreneur, healthcare professional and patient to the life sciences.
We at Insights Success caught up with Julia to know how she aims to improve the administration efficacy of life-saving injectable medication with SOLUtion Medical’s technology.
Below are the highlights of the interview.
Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at SOLUtion Medical. What challenges you had to overcome to reach where you are today?
My inspiration and SOLUtion Medical’s passion for working to provide better treatments for people living with the daily challenges of rare health conditions stems from personal experience. My brother and I were diagnosed with Salt-Wasting Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (SWACH) at birth. This is a rare, chronic, autosomal recessive genetic condition requiring daily medication for the rest of my life, and rescue injection during an adrenal crisis – requiring continuous diligence and rapid response, sometimes when we are alone with no support. People with this condition live in a constant state of anxiety, worried an event will happen at the most in-opportune time. Although we both suffer from this condition, it is my brother who is the inspiration for what we are doing and to start SOLUtion.
My brother and I have almost died multiple times throughout our lives. Crises are reminders of our humanity, and its frailty, often harsh and sudden reminders. After some serious introspection and considering what I wanted to pursue next in my graduate level schooling, I decided: never again would I want my brother to fear for his life due to his condition.
I decided to make an autoinjector for adrenal crisis – a tangible improvement to our health management that would not only save lives, but also evoke education and advocacy for our often overlooked, rare disease. The ability to “simplify” the emergency and provide a simple approach to solving an adrenal crisis will empower patients – starting with my brother – worldwide. And with that began this journey.
Tell us something more about SOLUtion Medical and its mission and vision.
SOLUtion Medical’s mission is to empower patients by “destressing” the day-to-day management of an adrenal crisis. We are designing a safer, more efficacious, and easier patient-injected lyophilized drug delivery by developing a one-step, pre-filled reconstituting autoinjector. SOLUtion’s beachhead market is a rescue autoinjector for individuals at risk of an adrenal crisis, a situation similar to anaphylaxis where a patient’s body experiences physical and mental debilitation requiring immediate injection of hydrocortisone sodium succinate (HSS). In addition to the adrenal crisis rescue injection market, numerous drugs currently exist that must be mixed directly prior to injection. We envision our device as a platform which can be used for other future indications including antipsychotic drugs, in vitro fertilization drugs, monoclonal antibodies, and cancer treatments.
Enlighten us on how you have made an impact in the Medical Device niche through your expertise in the market?
While market product fit is important to understand unmet market needs, including device validation and ultimate company success, we have also achieved product market fit. We have created a product to solve the specific unmet needs associated with drug reconstitution and injection with a population in critical need of an immediate rapid life-saving solution.
Our novel container closer system incorporates step-wise enhancements which first and foremost benefit patients, and also provide benefits to various healthcare stakeholders including emergency responders, hospitals and clinics, CDMOs, and pharmaceutical companies. While developing our device, we have also taught people about adrenal insufficiency, an often unknown if not misunderstood condition. Comradery amongst the global adrenal insufficiency community – a very tight and organized group – has been reinforced through our work, too.
When people in Brazil are able to discuss their adrenal disease concerns with people in Canada; when a family in Singapore is speaking with another family in England or Africa or California; when people are able to share their stories and use their collective voice to learn and make change – this is invaluably impactful.
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your organization.
SOLUtion’s goal is to provide simple and effective drug reconstitution and delivery to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Our brand values of leadership, collaboration, integrity, passion, accountability, quality, and growth serve as the compass that guides our brand story, actions, behaviors, and decision-making process. People are the heart of what we do, and our design principles of delivering a comprehensive solution to minimize barriers and meet people where they are underpin our work culture.
Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?
Our novel container closure system affords us the opportunity to work with specialized CDMOs, equipment builders, CROs, and strategic partners to bring our product to market in a timely manner at reasonable costs.
What, according to you, could be the next big change in drug device industry? How is SOLUtion Medical preparing to be a part of that change?
Worldwide healthcare is trending towards more patient empowerment, including at-home treatments, and pharma companies are seeking ways to deliver high-volume drugs for self-treatment in a timely manner. With our novel platform delivery system, we intend to empower health seekers, all the while protecting existing pharma revenue streams via patent evergreening and providing a faster, less expensive path to market for in pipeline drugs.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run and what are your future goals for SOLUtion Medical?
SOLUtion Medical will be the leading company in drug reconstitution. My personal circumstances have afforded me the opportunity to empower other people living with the adrenal disease and other rare conditions, and I intend to pursue the medical innovation space throughout my career.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the medical sector?
One of my favorite quotes comes from Stress Ada Lovelace: “I never am really satisfied that I understand anything; because understand it well as I may, my comprehension can only be an infinitesimal fraction of all I want to understand.” Testing your assumptions and building a diverse team of subject matter experts is key to creating a strong mission-driven company foundation. You will fail along the way. Learn to critically analyze stakeholder feedback. Fail fast and fail often, listen, learn, pivot when and where necessary, and keep going.