The biotech industry has been bombarded with disruptions in recent years, from a global pandemic to rising global tensions. How are they dealing with the supply chain issues and how else has it impacted the industry? In this episode, Ammon Rivera sits down with two-peat guest, Guillermo Morales, PhD, CEO of Innoventyx. Guillermo makes us privy to the issues brought on by COVID-19 and the geopolitical tensions such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict. He also discusses intellectual property in greater depth and why it’s important to act fast when patenting your product. Moving from Latin America to the United States, Guillermo also shares his experience learning and re-learning the science in both languages and how it impacts communication. Don’t miss out on their enlightening conversation by tuning in!
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Global Tensions And Supply Chains And Their Effect On Biotech. Guillermo Morales, PhD, CEO Of Innoventyx
Our guest is Guillermo Morales, who is the PhD and the CEO of Innoventyx. It’s a consulting firm that he is the CEO of and I had the pleasure of connecting with some of the people that he has done work for and I’ve heard very positive things about how good of a job he does. I’m really glad that he’s on the show with us.
For those of you who don’t know, Guillermo is the second guest I ever had on the show. We had an interesting discussion. We talked about COVID and some things that were happening at that time. We talked about IP strategy at the end of our conversation. It was interesting. Go back and read that. This time on the show, he and I get a little bit more into some of the happenings.
I recorded with him on February 28, 2022, but I’ve had such a full production schedule that I haven’t been able to get his episode out until now. We have some discussions. Things are a little more fresh at that time, but I think they are still applicable. We talked about some different things with managing the state biotech, which is a bit interesting state.
We got the war on talent, as people like to call it, going on. There is a high demand for skilled individuals in biotech while simultaneously seeing a drop in the overall stocks of biotech companies that are publicly traded. We are a bit in an interesting stage. What I personally believe is that biotech is going to continue to innovate.
The demand for medicines and treatments for the elements that people are suffering from is going to continue to rise. Biotech is going to emerge as a strong sector as it always has and great things continue to come from the industry. I hope so because I’m betting my life on this. I’m a professional recruiter here in the biotech industry. I make a living by helping build these companies find the right people who match the right culture.
I won’t bore you to death with all of that. I will let you read the episode, Guillermo Morales, here. Before I do, I want to encourage you to like this. If you are watching it on YouTube, like it. If you are reading, leave a review on whatever platform that you may be on. Share it with your friends, co-workers, and colleagues. I will appreciate all of that. Without further ado, let’s get to the episode.
Guillermo Morales, PhD, MBA, CEO of Innoventyx. We have had you on the show before. This is your second appearance. You were the second guest that I had on the show and we had a great discussion. Anybody out there reading, if you haven’t gone back and read episode two, you notice some of the formats have changed as well of how we do things, but if you go back and read, you’ll catch his first episode with us. Welcome back to the show.
Thank you for inviting me. I’m very excited to be back.
I’m glad to get into it. We have a lot to talk about. There’s a lot going on in the world. That affects the supply chains. Things are connected globally. I was reading an article on fierce biotech that was talking about 200 and some odd sites in Ukraine that have clinical trials, things like that going on. We are not political on this show, but these things affect us. We’ll hopefully get some commentary on it. Thanks for coming on and being willing to take on the hard conversation.
Let’s have that. I’m looking forward to it.
For everybody who is brand-new to the show, we have got a lot of new readers, I want to comment on your background a little bit. We dive into an individual’s background. It’s one of the things that we do here to understand the people behind the companies that are developing drugs and the consultants that are working for these companies and everything in between.
I have found it very interesting and insightful, and I have had multiple comments from people that have said the same thing. I will encourage everyone to go back and read episode two. We talked more about your background there. I want to comment a little bit on some of the things you’ve done and I want to dive a little more into your background since we have you on for a second time.
Talk a little bit more about your background and how you got to where you are at. For everyone out there reading, Guillermo is a PhD and MBA, and he’s also the CEO of his own consulting firm. It’s called Innoventyx LLC, where he does a number of things from helping companies with strategy from the early stages. Think about anything in between all the way to commercialization.
It’s very fulfilling to be able to help companies of all sizes and different areas to advance their projects because these projects are eventually important to all of us. They are meant to bring something that will become a drug, a product that is going to help people in need, a devastating disease for people who are unfortunate to have it. Being able to be part of that process and do what you can to be able to take this from conception to fruition. It’s very fulfilling. It’s very highly motivated.
A little bit more on your background here. You used to be the editor in chief of Molecular Diversity with Springer Nature Group.
It was almost eleven years and it was a great opportunity to help scientists in the field of developing drugs and finding potential new drugs where you have to incorporate Chemistry, Biology and computational techniques from all over the world. You are on the hot seat when you get to see new science, new teams working on very challenging projects, see what is coming out of their labs in terms of breakthroughs, and have the honor to publish with you. Springer Nature is still a fantastic platform to publish research. It was a blast.
You and I were talking about one of the things that we are trying to do here on the show. For anyone who has gone to the website, you’ll see that in the blog. I don’t have anything there yet. It’s embarrassing, but I’ve planned to write my own articles about the talent side of things, but my vision of that was to try and have people that would write not scientifically published articles necessarily, but perhaps contribute a little more scientifically have business professionals in the industry contribute as well. You made a comment about it. I hope you’ve told your family that you are going to be busy for a couple of years building that because of how much it goes into it, so you know what you are talking about.
It’s going to take you all in. You are excited already. I can see that. Once you start getting this path is going to be like, “There’s so much to talk about and put out there. Honey, please, come and knock on the door in a year or two because someone would be a little busy here. Don’t worry. The check is coming.” That sounds like a great thing that you are going to be doing because it’s another format to put high-quality information out there and is very informative. It’s not high quality but informative and relevant. I’m looking forward to it.The skills and infrastructure are there. What is not there is bandwidth. Click To Tweet
Maybe we’ll have you contributing one day. We’ll see. If I can tear you away from your work, you are a very busy person. You got a lot going on, as we discussed. I appreciate you taking the time to be on the show. There are a lot more in your background. People can go in and take a look. You can find Guillermo on LinkedIn as well.
You can reach out and connect to him. I’m sure he may be open to that. He’s got his consulting firm, so you can learn a little bit more about him. One of the things that I wanted to jump into on your background that we didn’t get into last time before we move on to our topic, which will discuss IP strategy.
I have got some notes here. On the list, we have got IP strategy, the time factor, and the COVID-19 supply chain impact. We have also got China and Russia, some of those political things happening and how they affect our industry is our focus of that discussion. One thing I wanted to talk about quickly. I don’t know if the readers read this last time on the show, but you are originally from Mexico and you said you spent some time between Mexico and El Salvador.
My father was from El Salvador and my mother was from Mexico. Half of my childhood there in El Salvador. My teenage years in Mexico. It was very interesting because all of a sudden, I was living in two different cultures, accents, and slangs. Sometimes I don’t know which one I’m using. English became my second language, which means that my mother gave me a hard time every time that I could come up with Spanish. There were some times it was like, “You need to come back here and learn the language again.” I’m like, “Which one? Is it the Salvadorian or Mexican?” “Don’t get me started.”
That’s funny that you comment on that because a lot of people don’t necessarily know that from Latin countries. There are very similar crossovers, but there is sometimes a very completely different culture. It’s not that they don’t know, but they don’t put that together. My dad is from Puerto Rico and my mom is from the US. Obviously, it’s clear that there’s some cultural difference there.
There is a lot of US influence around the world, but especially in Puerto Rico because there’s a Commonwealth, but my wife’s family is from Mexico. They are from Monterrey, Mexico. It’s funny to go to my in-laws’ house and see how they do things. I’m curious to know because I always find it interesting. First off, which did you like better if you are okay to say that? Was it Mexico or El Salvador that you liked living in better?
Both places have their uniquenesses as any other place. Since I spent my teenage years in Mexico, I probably have to say that I got a little more freedom to do things when I was in college. That was not the case when I was a kid in El Salvador. It was Monterey when I went to, like your wife. At first, you don’t feel any difference when you are growing up in one culture until you move to another one when you start seeing differences that you never thought of. It’s not just the accent and the slang, but how people do things together. Mexico has certain traditions that are different from El Salvador.
That’s why it’s both good in each way but in its unique way on what experience you can get. Mexico is a huge country. When I say Mexico, I’m probably just focusing on Northern Mexico, where Monterrey is, because even if you go to Chiapas, that is the border with Guatemala. The food is different. The rhythm of speech is different. It’s still Mexico, but it’s different from the rest of the country.
Especially in a huge country with multiple states, I’m not an expert on Mexican geography, but there are a few, of course. I’m thinking of some off the top of my head, but I don’t want to start because I won’t list the rest. In the United States, you have a bunch of different states. Each state can have similar overlaps of culture, but it’s going to be very different, like Louisiana from Northern California. It’s different traditions, a different way of speaking, different accents, slang, and all that stuff. What’s your inspiration as you are growing up that takes you into science and how does that work? What’s the route to becoming an accomplished scientist in another country to be like Mexico?
When I was a kid, I had strength for math. For exact sciences, Let’s call it that. It became clear to me that other types of careers that were not very exact with numbers, rules, and loss of nature evolved. They are not going to be a fit for me, even though I still liked them. It was not my forte. When I got a chance to go to college, I went to Monterey because my mother is from there and have relatives. It was very easy to go there and go to the University of Nuevo León. I decided that I wanted to go into Chemistry. Initially was because I knew that there was an immensely broad range of things that could be done with Chemistry.
I’m talking about way before the knowledge that we have now. Back there in the ‘80s, it was still stimulating enough for me to see how the atoms work. I see these types of molecules do this. I started connecting some dots between Chemistry and Biology. When the time came, I went into a Chemistry major. I still wanted to go through the Chemistry courses and everything, but I wanted to be something that I could apply. Something that I was not going to be theoretical about. I had the fortune of having a mentor who was a PhD in the last year of college. He got his PhD from Louisiana State University.
When he was giving the course, he was also given some perspective on how Chemistry can have more applications, different areas, and life sciences. I started getting those ideas and I like that. When I finished my courses, I had the opportunity to get an extra couple of courses and get my degree, Master’s courses. I thought I wanted to do research.
That was because I had already decided that I wanted to go for an advanced degree and the two choices were Master’s or PhD. I thought to myself, with some sarcasm involved, “If I’m going to have to grind a bit miserable, I might as well go for the whole thing. Let’s go for the PhD.” I cannot imagine what you are going to be able to learn and do with getting more experience in science.
I did a year and a half of Bachelor’s level research, but it helped me to start getting my skills in the lab polished. Writing scientifically was also something that I started to learn at that time because I thought it was a good way of writing scientific information. I quickly learned from my mentor that I was a greenhorn. It was a great excellent experience that helped me appreciate the significant importance and impact of knowing how to communicate, how to communicate precisely, clearly, and concisely. This wasn’t science, but you also do the same thing outside of science, even during the daily routines.
Were you writing in Spanish during your PhD? Were these scientific papers written in Español?
This was a dissertation Bachelor’s level. This is for me to get experience in Mexico.
Were you writing in Spanish?
I was writing in Spanish. I went because my mentor back then gave me the connections to Louisiana State University. I had the opportunity to go there and be accepted and enter the PhD degree program, and this is what happened. I moved to another culture that is coming to the United States that has a different language. This was 1989. At the time, my English was pretty much, “Where’s the bathroom?” That’s it.At the end, there are a lot of time, effort and money invested in a project that is already in clinical trials that disruption is going to give huge time delays in getting this done if you can get it done. Click To Tweet
I could probably write and read it to some degree, but you don’t write and read to people you need to talk to. You need to talk, listen and everything. I had to quickly learn the language and I immersed myself in studying English. I have the English program ELP at LSU. Fantastic program for international students.
They teach you writing, listening, and everything that you need to be. It’s not just functional but to become part of the US society and be able to communicate. Take the English test, get accepted, and then relearn everything that I had learned up to that point in Spanish and English. It was very interesting that I could describe it as I’m listening to science but backward. Now we consider Spanish be backward to English to some degree. In this case, I had to learn new pronunciations of scientific terms. How are courses divided? Why do they call certain ways? Learn the US system in class which is very different from Mexico.
That immersion allowed me to start getting constantly exposed to the language, science, and everything. By the time I was getting ready to graduate four years later, I had the opportunity to go back to Monterrey. My professor said, “Go recruit someone that is going to take your place,” and I said, “Okay. If this is about that, I can do that, sir.”
I went there, but I had the opportunity to go to two major state universities, Autónoma de Nuevo León and the Tecnológico de Monterrey, a private but highly regarded university in Latin America. I went there and I gave a scientific talk about my dissertation at both places. It was when I realized that communicating scientifically in Spanish was now becoming more difficult for me.
I had to learn everything in a certain way. I was trying to express myself in Spanish. It wasn’t coming outright. I got it done and people are very accommodating and very nice, but that was part of the road of getting to learn a new language. Two new languages because it’s not just English, but it’s also the scientific language.
That kept reinforcing how important it is to know how to communicate and write, especially when we need to publish scientific discoveries and patents. I don’t know, maybe books or editing articles for publication. How important it is to know how to communicate clearly and simply. It’s something like they said. It’s not an art. It’s truly a skill that you need to practice to become better at.
I have to say that I don’t believe I have written a scientific publication official in Spanish, although I have gone to the Universidad Autónoma de Mexico and Mexico City to give talks. It’s been very fulfilling to go there, talk to international scientists who go to these events and speak in English and Spanish with the Latin American scientists, and be like a conduit. Be able to talk in different languages and communicate the science from entry-level to a more advanced level. Eventually, all that started coming together when I had the fortune to be editor in chief for Springer molecular diversity.
I found the summit of being able to put my skills to help others in science. It’s been an interesting road coming from Latin America, knowing that I want to be in science. I want to be something that is practical, tangible that can help people. Come to the United States where you have the opportunity to learn advanced research, be able to also work and do advanced research try to afford something to the field. The opportunities are there if you work hard and look for them. There are two types of opportunities. The ones that land on your lap and the ones that you create.
What I find interesting is sometimes they are not always. I have had this similar conversation in another episode about luck because there are plenty of times where luck seems to happen. A lot of times, you are in a certain position, place and time because of the decisions you are making. If you are working hard and you are creating the opportunity, then sometimes an opportunity will fall in your lap because you are at that spot at that time.
That’s important for the younger generation and it’s inspiring for them to see somebody that’s successful and then to understand what that person did to get to where they are at. It’s a little easy in this world with all the social media and everything, which helps in a lot of ways but also can sometimes paint an incorrect picture for what it takes for people to get to certain places in their life.
I understand the Spanish thing. I speak Spanish but probably nowhere near as well as you speak Spanish. It’s not my first language. Spanish is my second language and I learned it as an adult. Sometimes my wife will say something and she’ll correct my grammar a little bit, which is not correct. If I sound like a three-year-old in Spanish, please help me sound a little older.
I have had discussions with people where perhaps we are discussing business and the level of difference. It’s the same in English. There’s another language that you learn whenever you are learning a certain discipline. If you have a very high business acumen or very scientific, there are different levels of vocabulary that you use.
In Spanish, it’s not a vocabulary that I use very often because normally, I have conversational Spanish with people. It’s challenging to try and know a very technical word in Spanish to that in English. In Spain, where Spanish originated and then in Mexico and other countries, for those people that do that, it’s common. It’s like you and I speak English, but I understand the challenge of trying to understand the more technical level of speaking in another language.
English was not my first language. I have to come here to the States and learn it. It puts a different perspective. When you see people from other countries, in our country and culture, they try their best to communicate. Grammatical mistakes can be made. Words mispronounced. Maybe accents are a little too strong for the average American ear, but their effort into communicating and being part of our society is something to not look down upon but the contrary.
If they can improve, that is great. There are cultures when that say, “If you don’t speak my language like a native, you are not good.” I don’t think that that’s constructive. In our case, I know that we are on a scientific platform here to cover life science, etc. The purpose. What is the objective? The objective is to communicate.
If it comes with, “I’m perfect English,” it’s not going to kill the science. That’s why there are people with the skills to help. It’s something that gives me more acceptance of people, either they come from different backgrounds, whether they are in science or not. Just saying that people make an effort to communicate in English. It’s something to admire. People that don’t speak other languages only speak English to do the opposite, likely to find that it’s easier to critique but not so easy to do yourself.
I posted a blog post on TheBioTechIQPodcast.com. That were three tips about recruiting. I want to encourage you to still go look at that. I’m working on another article now that we’ll have some more valuable tips and information that will help increase your ability to either search and find a position or find someone to fill a position you are working on.
I’m working on content that will be much more than just, “This is how you find somebody and fill a position.” The goal is not to just fill a position. It’s to fill a position with the right person who is a cultural match for your company or take a position that is a cultural match for who you are and what you’re trying to do in your life.Time not only kills business deals; it also kills IP. The longer it takes, the less life there is left in your IP. Click To Tweet
I want to encourage you to reach out to me with any questions that you have. There have been some readers of the show that have messaged me directly and I’ve tried to give them the best feedback that I can. I really appreciate you doing that. I love hearing from the readers. I want to communicate with you.
If you were lucky for a position yourself or if you have a position that you are working on, I want to encourage you to communicate with me about that and let’s have a discussion. Perhaps I can help. If I can, I will help them in whatever way that I can. You can reach me at ARivera@BioTechIQ.com. You can message me on LinkedIn if we are already connected and if we’re not connected, go find me on LinkedIn, Ammon Rivera, shoot me a connection request, and then let’s connect from there.
You had a nice segue about the scientific platform to talk about life sciences, strategy, business, and all of that. Let’s transition to that. At the end of our last conversation, we were having a brief discussion on intellectual property. I thought, “That was a pretty little insightful commentary we had at the end there.” I want to jump to that as our main topic, but before we do get to that, time is always limited but perhaps you could briefly comment on the impact of COVID-19 and this prolonged supply chain issue we are having. How are you seeing that affecting the life science and the biotech industry itself?
Immensely. As a matter of fact, I was having a conversation with one of the biggest companies out there that provide services for pharmaceutical drug development. Helping a client to see how this company could help their project and what will be required. What became obvious at one point was the skills and infrastructure that are there. What is not there is bandwidth. For this particular project, we were told if you decide to start right now, like if we send the agreement to you right now, you sign it. We might be able to start the project at the end of the year. Maybe we’ll have to wait until the first quarter of 2023.
It’s because bottlenecks are causing providers out there to have a long waiting light for companies that want their help. Right now, everything is disrupted. If they get sick, the workforce either you have to be close down or there’s something that you cannot procure in time. This means that transportation, whether it is that you need to ship something now or you want to receive something in that you need.
This is part of COVID-19 that is still ongoing, and now what I will call it is the geopolitical issues that we have. You alluded to clinical trials and I was reading that. ClinicalTrials.gov is a website where companies officially go in and enter a record. What are clinical trials running 1, 2, 3? What is that about? Timelines, etc.
It was found out that there are about 600 or so clinical trials going on in the Ukraine that now might be compromised and about 1,400 in Russia. Let’s keep in mind that clinical trials are where drugs are made or broken. They make it or break it because it takes time to secure everything that is needed in a hospital. The drug manufacturer to be there, decisions, nurses, and recruiting patients that one help with a particular disease.
Sometimes it might be more abundant, but what if you are running clinical trials on a rare disease. In the end, there is a lot of time, effort and money invested in a project that is already in clinical trials that disruption is going to give huge time delays in getting this done if you can get it done. How that is going to impact, but we are going to be talking about your intellectual property.
I have a question. Getting the data and running a successful clinical trial. I don’t mean successful in getting positive data necessarily because a lot of money gets invested and you want a successful trial in the sense that you get good data back showing that what you are doing works. That way, you can take it to market. You have a new treatment. You are going to help patients.
Investors get the return and all of those things that come along with that. It’s important to have all that. This is a tough question as I’m thinking about it. If things get shut down 100% in Ukraine and they get shut down 100% in Russia, do you think companies can still pivot and focus their efforts somewhere else and still be able to get the data that they need?
It is possible that you can restart. Maybe there’s some data that is still useful in the sense that it wasn’t compromised. Data is only useful in the sense of a patient has gone through the regime. Through what the trial is about, a certain amount of time, drugs, and points, monitoring the blood pressure. For those patients that finished the trial, that data might be something that you can use, but in terms of restarting, you are restarting operations very likely from scratch. You are going to have to find a new hospital that can help you with this, that has the capacity and the bandwidth to do it.
Companies are engaging in clinical trials constantly all over the place. Now you start running into pragmatic bottlenecks and scarcity. With COVID-19, certain hospitals, do they have the capacity to run a clinical trial? I don’t know. What it’s going to take to now shift all the drugs that you want to use in one place to another country. How long is that going to take to go through costumes and get authorization from agencies to do this in another country? Ukraine is part of Europe. It would have to be decided whether that can be done in a European country or not. I’m not so sure but in the end, you are pushing almost a reset button.
That might be too costly to go back and redo.
What are the options to go back and try and restart it? Is it going to be costly or abandoned? It’s a tough situation. You have already invested a lot to get to where you are. The choices are, “Do I abandon or do I invest more effort, time, and money into doing this somewhere else?” I hope they have the backing necessary to do it and the time to do it because time is never your friend.
That’s a good segue into the IP discussion because all of that is based around time. I’m not an expert on that, so I may misspeak here. My understanding is as soon as you file, the clock is ticking. Why don’t we jump to that and let’s talk a little bit about that? When you first put in the application for Intellectual Property, for your IP on your, on your drug or your asset that you are working on, how does that work? Is the clock ticking already or how does it work?
Yes. The patent world changed in 2013 because on March 16, 2013, in the United States, the patent system was changed to first to file. Whoever files first will get the patent even if you did not create the invention first. What does that mean? Before 2013, companies would record eternally. I had an idea. I tried it, and this was several years ago.
When the time came to file, they said, “Your discovery was several years ago, according to the lab notebooks.” In that case, you have priority in case someone else wants to say, “I want to file a patent for that precise invention.” Such and such has written proving that he came up with the idea first that was years ago, so his company gets it.
In 2013, that was no longer valid. Now it is whoever files it first. If I invented this years ago, I took my time and Ammon would come and files a patent. You’ll get the patent, not me anymore. Even though you might still only have an idea, for instance, maybe you have not created the compound or the invention yet, but because you filed first that this idea or this project is going to do X, Y, and Z, you get preference. You get priority. You get the patent first. That puts a different look at how slowly or quickly you need to move when you have something you believe is worth protecting with a patent. That is the sooner, the better now.A patent is not to protect inventions. It's also to protect discoveries. Click To Tweet
The positive one is that as soon as you file it, that sets that you file it first on this day, February 28, 2022. If someone files it the next day, tough luck. You get a first. The downside is, like you said, “The clock is ticking.” Time has never been a friend. I wouldn’t even dare to say that time not only kills business deals. It also kills IP.
The longer it takes, the less life there is left in your IP. You are incentivized to move fast, move quickly, and develop this as efficiently as possible to get to the finish line because for the product, whatever the product might usually be, let’s say, a drug in this case, the patent protection is going to be based on how many years there’s still left around this invention from the time that you file it first.
This is a big issue with COVID-19. I mentioned to you that this example of a project might have to be delayed by ten months to a year to do certain experiments and get certain information and data. If this drug has been already commercialized, you lost $100 million, $500 million. Who knows? It may not hurt as much now, but it will hurt later. That has guaranteed.
This first to file thing, there are negatives to this whole while maybe you have an idea you are sitting on. You are not doing anything with it and it’s not getting advanced. Someone else comes along, discovers the same thing, and can advance it, and then you come back the old way pre-2013. You come back and say, “I could show proof. I had this idea several years ago,” but you never filed. You never officially stamped that it’s yours. I understand the change, but there are now new challenges at the same time. It’s exactly what you were explaining and the clock is ticking. I’m sure each situation is different, but how do you advise your clients about it?
You are right. Everyone’s situation is going to be unique, but there’s going to be a commonality here. You need to develop the IP as quickly and efficiently as possible for the product that you want to invest in and that you want to commercialize and get a return on investment. What is it that you need to do to get there and get there fast?
This starts forcing you to think strategically as to what needs to happen in terms of research. If you are going to do something for research, I always advise my clients, “You can do it for two things.” Either you want to fill up more of the patents or the patent area that you are carving out or because you are doing it to answer questions that are going to allow you to go or no go decisions. This will need to be prioritized and required to move forward so you can get there fast and efficiently.
It forces you to be very focused, to remain focused, scientifically speaking, operationally speaking, a lot of things that start coming together. You need to execute flawlessly. You are going to need a team that can help you do that. You need to have talent, skills, and expertise with you. You need to do it to create the IP that you need to protect the product eventually. There’s IP for carving out an invention and there’s IP to make that an attractive product.
I’m going to ask you another question about that because I am still going through an IP. It’s a registered trademark. It’s nothing like a biological or chemical content. I put together my brand and I’m building it and working on BioTech I. I have filed for the registered trademark. It’s a form of intellectual property.
I understand a little bit more about how that process works. I have engaged with some attorneys. They do the research and they search up what other registered trademarks are out there to match and see if you are going to have any problems with people disputing and all of that. How does it work when it comes to a chemical compound? You’ve got the name and you’ve got the actual invention. Is it considered an invention?
The invention can mean several things. It can mean, “Have you crafted and created a molecular compound that has never been made before?” That if you search the literature and you search other patents has never been made before, or do you have a molecular entity that perhaps is being formulated in such a special way that it allows you not to use it for something that initially could not be used for.
You may find a new use for this drug that initially was for disease X, and now you have found a way to use it for disease Y, so it’s a different utility. The invention can be in different ways. I have to say that a patent is not to protect inventions but it’s also to protect discoveries. You probably thought, “If I do 1, 2, 3, I think based on my knowledge and my years of experience, I’m going to get a compound that is going to perform this way.”
You find out that the compound outperforms what you thought it was going to do. It blew you out of the water. It was not obvious that it would do something that good. That is a discovery that is considered to be non-obvious because you don’t want to be obvious. If it is obvious, you don’t get a patent on it.
A discovery that was unforeseen can be part of intellectual property. You can call it luck if you want, but some people say, “I’d rather be lucky than be right all the time.” If you get a little bit of luck, take it and use it, but there are many components that you can try to protect with intellectual property with patents.
It always becomes to what we said before, “What is it that you are thinking of using it? How is that different? How is that superior to what it’s out there, and how will you move it fast to the finish line? Do you know how it’s going to get there? How much it’s going to cost? What are you going to need? What people are you going to need? What milestones do you need to hit to know that you are on the right track or that you need to recalibrate or, God forbid, abandon?”
I want to ask you the three questions that I ask all my guests. At the time when I started the show, I wasn’t asking these questions yet. Now that you are here on the show for a second time, I want to give you a chance to answer those. There’s always so much to talk about. Let’s go ahead and jump to those questions before we run out of time. I know you are a busy man and I want to let you get back to doing what you got to do. The first question is, if you could go back to the beginning of your career, what advice would you give yourself?
I will have to say specialized in additional relevant areas faster and quickly because you can specialize on one thing all your life. In my experience and in my practice, I have found that having more specializations in different areas gives you the opportunity to integrate them into what you do to help your clients. When you work on a project, you know what to do. Have to get it done right the first time and have to move it from point A to point B to point C frictionlessly, smoothly and know how to pass the baton from one place to the other. I wish I could do if I can turn back to the beginning of my career.
That advice is now out there for anyone reading. We’ve got very experienced executives that read this show and we have got individuals newer in their careers and people in the middle. Hopefully, someone can glean from that. That’s good. The second question I like to ask is, are there any books that you have read that have made the greatest impact on either your career or life in general?
I was fortunate to get my MBA degree with the Jack Welch Management Institute, especially when Jack Welch was still alive. One of the books that we had as part of the course of the MBA was Winning by Jack Welch. It’s not about ego for him or anything. He was the most down-to-earth person that I have ever met.
His book, in essence, gives you good advice on how to conduct yourself, whether it’s in a business situation or outside of business. How to think pragmatically, make decisions, and appreciate the people you work with? He has more in it, but it’s not a book about his philosophy. It’s more about great insights that can help you in any business or industry and translate that to your personal life. How to make better decisions at home? How to work better with others? How to look around corners to know what’s coming in the future?
He does it by providing a non-obvious way of doing it, which is to be humble. Be humble, accepting what you know or you don’t know. What you can do and what you cannot do, and embrace the help of others that bring something that you don’t have. Be humble enough to accept that. Move forward and do whatever you want to achieve either on your business or in your personal life, which will help you anyway. It’s going to make you a happier person. I will say that that will be a book that I will recommend.
I listened to an audiobook on him. Not a complete autobiography, but it was read by him and it was about his story or insight. It was a pretty interesting book. The last question is more of an industry-focused question which is, where do you think the biotech industry is headed?
I believe that it’s going to be the pragmatic and effective use of artificial intelligence. It’s something that is booming. There are a lot of interests and companies working on that. There are high expectations that are going to deliver. I believe that one of the key elements to achieve that is going to be at least within the first phase to get there. It’s going to be to use artificial intelligence specialized. It was announced that IBM was pretty much selling parts of Watson which was started at one point as the big machine with AI that was going to be able to diagnose people and replace doctors and physicians.
It was a worthy goal, perhaps not taken into consideration that there are a lot of uncertainties that go into using the data that you need to have to use an AI effectively. Unfortunately, that didn’t achieve that goal of being a replacement for a physician. We started to see that it is getting traction by applying it at a more specific focus, purposes, or solving problems.
The first compound made the clinical trials discovered in an amazing shorter period of time. That’s something that started indicating that rather than trying to chew more than you can to say, “It’s going to be all the way to the clinic.” If it is more focused, the continuing use and development of AI is eventually going to grow. It’s going to become more comprehensive and reliable, but we need to have a very solid foundation with more focused projects to make sure that it works reliably. We understand how to use it and, from there, build on it to extend these capabilities.
Pretty soon, I will have a guest who’s focused on AI. We are working on getting him scheduled. That’s an interesting topic. Being able to speed up the discovery process and move things to the clinic faster and in all the cool things that will come with the advancement of treatments. With that being said, thanks for being on the show, the second time running here. I appreciate you coming on and devoting the time to doing it.
Thank you for the invitation. I was looking forward to it very much. When would I get to be the fifth time coming here, I’m going to get a rope to a Saturday night live. Is that going to be part of the tradition?
I’m working right now on getting hats, shirts and stuff for guests to give away to wear out on the golf course or whatever they want to do. Maybe I will get you a hat if you’d like hats that say #BioTechIQLife or something like that.
I’m looking forward to that one then.
Thank you very much, Ammon. My pleasure.
- YouTube – BioTech IQ Podcast
- Guillermo Morales – CEO Innoventyx – Previous episode
- Ammon Rivera – LinkedIn
About Guillermo Morales
Pharmaceutical/Biotech/Life Science Consultant.
Assist pharmaceutical/biotech/life science companies to develop, deliver, commercialize their drugs/technologies/products/services.
Leveraging 25 years of success working with Pharma/Bio-Science enterprises ranging from Multi-billion dollar global enterprises to start-ups – successfully advancing their projects from conception to clinical trials to commercialization. We provide an unparalleled breadth and depth of expertise, achievements, and services encompassing the entire development and launching milestones and timelines.
Discovery | Preclinical Development | Clinical Trials
Due Diligence | Fundraising | Commercialization
IP | IND | Operations
Also have successfully raised millions of dollars from VCs and non-dilutive government grants (SBIR/STTR); serving as advisor to investors, life science companies and research institutes. Strong expertise in global business development, operations and management (USA, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Russia).