Vipula Tailor: Introducing Sonix-A8, a breakthrough medical device technology to prevent bacterial infections and combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR) without antibiotics. – Sonix Medical Devices, Inc
The Executive Headlines
Antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest and most urgent global public health threats. Drug-resistant diseases kill around 700,000 people each year, but a United Nations interagency group on antimicrobial resistance estimates that this could swell to 10 million a year by 2050 if no action is taken and the 2020 Antimicrobial benchmark report was released during the annual World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2020. The report uncovered some serious concerns about pharmaceutical companies turning their back towards antimicrobial drug discovery programs and exiting this area. And antibiotic start-ups like Achaogen and Aradigm filed for bankruptcy as the payment models for the antibiotic market is broken. The sad case of Achaogen, which managed to bring a new antibiotic to market, only to immediately fall into bankruptcy owing chiefly to insufficient uptake of its product, shows exactly why many pharmaceutical companies are eschewing investment into antibiotics. Additionally, focus on antibiotic stewardship to reduce AMR presents also an enormous obstacle to antibiotics development.
Several pharma companies are refraining from developing new antibiotics as the business model doesn’t make any sense, R&D is capital intense and time-consuming process. The ROI is lower in comparison to developing drugs for other indications such as oncology, metabolic diseases, or neurology. Sonix Medical Devices is addressing this dire situation by developing a technology platform that significantly reduces time to market. As a result, we are fundamentally changing the access to treatment and eliminating the cost barrier for this novel and innovative solution that could be as effective as an antibiotic in most indications.
Vipula Tailor, the CEO of Sonix Medical Devices, is a seasoned leader and a successful entrepreneur in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry. She is a veteran with over 20 years of international business development, licensing, R&D, and commercialization experience in the healthcare industry that includes two exits from companies she founded. Ms. Tailor has led strategic and organic growth portfolios of products and companies while closing over $500MM in total deals. She led acquisitions and mergers for Fortune 100 medical devices and pharmaceutical companies and held leadership roles at Pfizer (Wyeth), GSK, Johnson and Johnson, Kimberly-Clark, and Vertex.
Ms. Tailor is a microbiologist and a medical immunologist by training and holds an MBA in healthcare. Throughout the journey, her intellect and efforts have been recognized with several awards. Recently, in 2021 she was recognized as the Best Infection Control Solution Provider in the industry. Furthermore, she has published numerous papers in peer-reviewed journals and was invited to speak at many national and international conferences as the Keynote Speaker.
In this interview, Ms. Tailor has highlighted the transformations taking place in the pharmaceutical industry, while also elaborating on her leadership style at Sonix Medical Devices, Inc.
What was the inspiration that led you to Sonix Medical Devices?
Sonix Medical Devices was founded to develop an alternate solution to fight infections and break the antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) cycle. I have personally seen the devastating effects of bacterial infections, side effects of antibiotics, and wanted to provide a solution that could be different, a sustainable alternative to the mainstream R&D approach pharmaceutical companies are taking and one that could be adopted globally where the provider and patients don’t have concerns about access and cost, and to make global health equity real.
Have there been any notable transformations since your debut in the industry?
In the case of AMR, I would argue the opposite. There have been no transformative solutions to address the alarming situation of AMR, other than developing new antibiotics, which may serve their purpose for the short term but produce a long-term propensity for developing AMR. Today we’re seeing convergence of knowledge and cross-pollination of many different technologies to help solve the AMR problem. By harnessing these technologies collectively, I believe we may be on the precipice of remarkable and innovative solutions. At Sonix Medical Devices, we are doing exactly this by taking a non-pharmaceutical approach to solving this problem.
Could you brief us about Sonix-A8 and why has it gained the most attention in the industry?
Our Sonix-A8 core technology platform allows us to develop non-invasive medical devices focused on the prevention and treatment of infections and wounds to save millions of lives globally while saving the healthcare industry billions of dollars annually. Sonix Medical Devices is the first company to propose this type of innovative medical device that can be used safely by professionals and patients to kill bacteria, combating the spread of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), Sonix-A8 is an infections prevention and treatment platform. We are getting attention because we are envisioning a unique non-pharmaceutical approach to kill bacteria and destroy biofilms. Our technology could become the next generation standard of care to treat simple infections such as strep throat and complicated infections such as sepsis, diabetic wounds, and surgical site infections. Additionally, our technology could prove very useful in re-enabling the antibiotics that do not work today because of biofilms.
What makes Sonix Medical Devices stand out amongst the competitors?
Our offering is unique as our approach couples’ and synchronizes the dual physical energy sources to activate apoptosis, a biological pathway to kill the bacteria naturally and drive patient outcomes that could be comparable to the antibiotic treatment but with a far more upside to the overall patient wellbeing as a single course of antibiotics is strong enough to disrupt the normal makeup of microorganisms in the gut for up to a year, potentially leading to antibiotic resistance. The non-invasive nature of our technology does not damage the natural gut biome of patients, and early data suggests that our technology would not contribute in any way to AMR.
How will you describe the team of Sonix Medical Devices?
Our team is our biggest asset and the most important resource in building Sonix. The Sonix leadership team has over 100 years of combined experience and are each highly respected in their area of expertise. Our vision is to be a company that can lead and excel in delivering globally to improve the health of people as we become a conduit to healthy living. The team is motivated by the impact we believe our technology will have on the health of countless individuals. We all have a common purpose that is much bigger than any one of us individually, as we move toward FDA 510K approval of this game changing technology.
What has been a major achievement for Sonix Medical Devices that you are proud of?
We were able to move our company from the stealth mode to Delaware registered corporation and received National Science Foundation (NSF) Award, shortlisted as a national finalist for SWSX, and were recognized as Best Infection Control Solution Provider by MD Tech Review. These awards attest to the true potential of our technology by qualified peers and KOL’s. Receiving the NSF award was very important as a prominent external endorsement and validation of our technology.
What serves as a guiding principle in your life?
My guiding principle is to focus on the needs of others while identifying obstacles that exist to people living their best and healthiest lives. I believe that one should have a personal and professional commitment to excellence in all they do on behalf of those they’re called to help and be a resource to, something everyone at Sonix believes in wholeheartedly.
Who has influenced your leadership philosophy?
My leadership philosophy was singularly influenced by my dad. He always put people first and genuinely cared for their well-being before profits. My dad employed 3 generations of employees and I embody his basic principle that we’re called to support the greater good through a common purpose. I have been very fortunate to be with like-minded people on my journey to entrepreneurship as we’ve worked together building new companies.
Can you share an instance that turned out to be the most impacting experience of your life which defines who you are today?
I believe we all have our individual life stories that define whom we become. I also believe these life stories inspire us to make CHOICES. My dad has always been my role model and even today, although he’s no longer with us, as I make decisions, I hear his voice in my heart, not in my head.
After finishing my A levels in India, I cleared my entrance level national exam to get admission into a medical school of my choice. I was very happy as I believed I’d made my parents proud. My career path was well defined. But my dad asked me a question. “Why do I want to become a medical doctor?” My answer was simple: “to help people.” Then he paused and looked at me as said “what if you consider becoming a research scientist that could help millions of people all over the world vs being a doctor in a small city?” He talked of IMPACT and how to affect the many instead of a few. It made all the sense in the world, and I’ve never looked back. My dad’s question that night changed the trajectory of my life and led me to become a research scientist and now an entrepreneur.
Lastly, what will be the top three goals for Sonix Medical Devices in the coming year?
We hope to receive the FDA approval. Also, inspire partnerships and licensing relationships with companies that have strong commercialization capabilities to bring this technology for a myriad of indications to the market. We are also anticipating seeing positive patient outcomes as this technology gets into the hand of practitioners and the healthcare community.
“One should not seek a balance between success and failure. Instead, one should focus on designing the right experiment in pursuit of excellence. It’s like a child learning to stand upright or walk. She or he will fall many times, but that isn’t a failure. Life and business are a lot like that. You’re going to stumble and at times even fall. As long as one has not compromised their integrity and stays the course, they will meet with success.”
Integrity and dedication are a Powerful combination, and when this is consistently fueled by discipline and focus, then success becomes a constant!
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