In this episode of BioTech IQ, Ammon Rivera continues his exploration of Qualigen Therapeutics by interviewing the founder and CEO of the company Michael Porier. Michael discusses how Qualigen was started and the motivation behind the therapeutics pipeline. There are incredible developments underway for the company, and the turn of the market is hopefully on its way as well. Listen in on their discussion about the growth of Qualigen and what investors can look forward to as they continually develop drugs with a goal of turning cancer into a manageable disease instead of life-threatening one. Hear all about it and more of the company’s significant moves in the market by tuning in to this episode.
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Qualigen Therapeutics: Where It All Started And Where It’s Going With Founder And Ceo Michael Porier
This is Episode 57 and the second episode in the series on Qualigen Therapeutics. Our guest on the show is Michael Poirier who is the CEO and Chairman of the board. Michael was also the Founder of the company all the way back in 1996. We get into a discussion on what was it that led him to found the company, and also what is it that’s driving the decision to launch the therapeutic side of the company in addition to already having a diagnostics product that’s on the market or their FastPack IP product that’s being used in a number of things. It’s being used in cancer detection and prostate cancer. It’s also being used in thyroid function, metabolic disorders, and other research applications.
In this episode, we heavily focus on the therapeutics pipeline and what’s happening there. We get more into the history of Michael. It’s another great episode in the lineup of Qualigen Therapeutics. If you missed the first episode, Qualigen Therapeutics is a client that I have worked with as a recruiter on a position for them that we made placement on. Don’t forget to like, share and subscribe. I appreciate you being here. Don’t forget to leave a review and share this on social media or wherever you do your social media thing at. I’m on LinkedIn quite a bit for business but share it wherever you feel comfortable. Without further ado, let’s get to the show.
Welcome to the show, Michael Poirier, CEO of Qualigen Therapeutics.
Thanks for having me, Ammon. It’s a pleasure to be here.
I’m glad to have you on the show. Before we get started here, you and I were having a nice little discussion about exercise. That was a cool little facet to learn about you. Let’s get started on this conversation here. Qualigen Therapeutics is a unique company in where you’re at. We’re going to get a little more in-depth on that in terms of how the company started. You’re pivoting from an only-diagnostics company to having therapeutics. I’m curious to know a little bit more about your background. What led you into the industry?
When I was growing up, I thought I wanted to be a doctor or a surgeon. When I was young, one of my favorite books that I was reading when I was going through grade school and stuff was a book called The Making of a Surgeon. It was written by a surgeon who had gone through his internship about what it was like to work in a big-city hospital and learn the trade. That fascinated me.
I went through four years of undergraduate premedical studies, and then I went to medical school. Unfortunately, when I was going through my premed studies, I did end up working in a big-city hospital in the emergency room and intensive care. I came to the realization that that’s not how I wanted to spend the rest of my life. I didn’t make the final decision on that until after I started medical school.
Fortunately, under the guidance of a good guidance counselor, I was able to switch. Her suggestion was to try something like international law and business. I was going to medical school in Switzerland. I did four years of undergraduate here at Providence College, a small Liberal Arts college in Rhode Island that has an excellent premedical program. That’s why I went there. I wanted to go to school in a German-speaking country because I was born in Germany and I could speak the language.
When I was in high school back in Massachusetts, we had an exchange student that came over from Munich. I was so fascinated by the fact that there’s somebody who could come over from a country and do a year of study in our country in a different language. That made an impression on me. I thought that would be cool to do. I applied to a bunch of schools in Germany.
Unfortunately, I realized too late that my applications to German universities got in a little bit after the deadline, but I was accepted at two Swiss universities. They’re very highly regarded. My professors at Providence told me I would be crazy if I didn’t take the opportunity to attend the University of Zurich. It was good enough for Einstein. It’s one of the top universities in the world, and they speak German there.
I went over and ended up spending three years there. Not only did I study as a foreign student. I was able to work to pay my way through school because the tuition there was $400 a year. It was a good deal because they are state schools. As a foreign student, you’re allowed to work. In the first year, I was able to work for a very large multinational construction company on a work crew.
What we were doing was we were putting these suspension ceilings into these giant study halls in a new branch of the university. They were building a veterinary school on the outskirts of the city. I would have to take a tram every morning early on semester breaks and stuff. I would work from 7:00 AM until 5:30 in the evening on this crew. That was an interesting thing.
In the last couple of years, I was there, I was able to work for a small business. They had 8 or 10 employees. The owner customized small campers. People would buy a fiat van or something. They would bring it to him and he would design furniture, showers, stoves and tables. We would make the stuff from scratch and install it. He taught me how to do all kinds of cool things like welding and things like that. I had been pretty handy growing up, but I learned so much from this guy.
His whole crew were Czechoslovakian refugees who had gotten out in 1968 when the Soviets took over. They had a refugee community. I don’t want to get too far off on this, but I remember when I saw the posting on the job board at the university, I thought, “This is cool. It’s a small business. I could see all the aspects of the business.” I had grown up in a small family business.
My grandfather had a small dairy. It was across the street from our house. I ended up working over there all the time and eventually delivering milk and stuff. I knew what it was like in a small business. I thought, “This would be interesting.” I called this guy. I’m talking to him and he said, “There are 40 people ahead of you applying for this job.” I said, “I’m sorry to bother you.” He asked me, “Your accent isn’t Swiss. Are you German?” I said, “I’m an American.”
He said, “Can you come by tomorrow morning at 10:00?” I said, “Okay.” I went by. He showed me the layout and what they were doing. He told me what the salary was in Swiss francs and stuff. I said, “What about the other 40 guys that have already applied ahead of me?” He said, “I’m going to hire you.” A few weeks later, we were talking about it over coffee. I said, “Why did you pick me?” He laughed and said, “I always wanted to tell my friends that I had an American working for me.”
He had his dream come true. Were you doing all this while you were in medical school?
I started in medical school. After a couple of months, I switched to international law and business. I had maybe one day a week during semesters when I was free, so I would work. We had longer breaks over there. For example, winter break was six weeks. I would work full-time during winter break or summer break if I didn’t come back to the States.
You had decided to switch to international law and business. You’re working and doing these things.
I came back to the States after. I met some people over in Switzerland that gave me some good life advice. They said, “While you’re young, you should do things that you always want to do but you never thought you could do. Later on in your life, you’re not going to be able to do them. Now is the time.” I was 21, 22 or 23. I was all worried about what am I going to do with my life. They were like, “You don’t need to decide until you’re 28, 29 or 30. Do some things.”While you're young, you should do things that you’ve always wanted to do, but never thought you could because later on in your life, you're not going to be able to do them. Click To Tweet
I have always wanted to be in the military. I came back and went into the Navy. I was fortunate enough to get a commission as a naval officer. I served six years in the Navy in the Atlantic Fleet. I learned a hell of a lot mainly about leadership. That piqued my interest in things you could do with leadership. After that, I wanted to run my own business someday and create jobs and opportunities. That was an excellent training ground to do it.
When I was done with my tour in the Navy, I went to a recruiter in Washington, DC that specialized in placing military officers. One day, they lined me up with interviews with 10 or 11 Fortune 500 companies in Alexandria, Virginia. There was a range from Ford Aerospace, Mobil Oil, Peat Marwick, Mitchell, and all kinds of things. The company that caught my interest was Abbott Laboratories because I knew a lot about medicals and what they were doing. I felt like that would give me an advantage.
I wanted to learn the business from the ground up. That was an entry-level sales position that I took at Abbott. When I look back on it, it was probably one of the better decisions I’ve made because I was able to learn how to manage a sales territory, selling skills, techniques, customer relations, and customer service. I was able to be very successful. In a matter of three years, I got promoted to their headquarters in Chicago. I was a marketing manager for several worldwide product lines and strategic marketing cradle-to-grave from product inception all the way through life cycles.
I had to make decisions to kill certain products. That was the way to learn the business. I was at Abbott for six years. It seems like my magic number. I was lured away by a competitor, Sanofi, another big medical company. I worked for Sanofi for several years and then decided to move down to a succession of smaller companies. I took a promotion. They had 60 employees. It’s a small company down in Research Triangle, North Carolina that had gone public. I could see how it all worked. I was there for a few years
I then went to a company in Minneapolis that had five people. They were getting started. The financial people that were backing me in Minneapolis wanted me to come in, work with the founder, and grow the company. I get into the company. After a couple of months, I realized the founder had been misleading the investors as to the potential of the business probably by a factor of a hundred. He decided that it would be best if he fired me before I could go to the board and tell them.
After five months, I got fired. My response to being fired was I started what’s now Qualigen. I went home and asked my wife if she wanted to go to lunch with me. It was in the middle of the day on a Friday. That was unusual for me. We went to lunch at this nice restaurant on a lake near where we lived. I told her that I decided I wanted to start my company. She looked at me like I was nuts.
What was the idea for Qualigen when you started at that time?
Back in my Abbott days, we were looking at strategic opportunities in different marketing areas. One of them was an opportunity in the physician’s office market for certain types of diagnostic tests that could be available rapidly. They didn’t act on it, but it’s something that has always stuck in my mind as a good opportunity. The other thing is when I worked at Abbott, I was heavily involved with the cancer business unit. I got a real appreciation for the value of both diagnosing and then treating cancer. That was at the forefront too.
When I started Qualigen, I wanted to do something in a stepwise fashion. I said to myself, “Let’s try to find a way into that space where there’s an opportunity, but also where we can get a product developed relatively quickly into the market and start generating revenues relatively quickly instead of having to go out to venture capitalists and raise $100 million off of a business plan.” That’s why when I wrote the business plan, the initial phase was to go for the rapid PSA test that we initially launched at Qualigen on our FastPack system.
You were not located in Carlsbad.
We were living in Minnesota at the time. My office was in the basement of my home. It was an hour and a half North of St. Paul. We had fourteen acres of woods. We had a beaver pond.
That’s nice but I bet it got cold in the winter in that basement.
They build houses differently there than they do in California. The minimum code for wall thickness in Minnesota is 6 inches. Here, they built houses 2×4 construction. In Minnesota, it’s 2×6. We bought this particular house from the guy who built it who was originally from Sweden. He had put 8-inch-thick walls and triple-pane windows. Our gas furnace went out one night when it was probably 50 below 0. The temperature in the house didn’t drop much at all until we got it fixed the next day.
The coldest that we experienced there and got me thinking that we have to get the heck out of there was an ambient temperature overnight one night of 65 below 0, which set a record. It was so cold that as my wife and I were laying in bed, you could hear the trees in the yard exploding because the sap was expanding. It was freezing inside the trunks. We didn’t know what that was until the next day. One of our neighbors was like, “The trees were exploding.” I was like, “We have to get out of here.”
That’s crazy. What was the catalyst that led you to beautiful sunny Southern California?
That was one of the drivers. Through my network, I was introduced to an engineering consultant out here in Laguna Beach by the name of Chris Feistel who had a lot of experience in designing disposable cartridges and things for diagnostic equipment. He helped us design what’s now the FastPack pouch. As we began working with him, we started working with a prototyping firm up in Irvine.
It’s an interesting story. We had a small lab in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. That’s to the West of Minneapolis. When we started working with this prototyping firm up in Irvine, we rented a small office upstairs and they are building from them. They owned the building. We had a presence there. Maybe six months later, we leased a 5,000-square-foot facility about a mile away in the spectrum area.
A year after that, we got another 3,500 square feet around the corner from that. We had these little offices, labs and warehouses. We decided that it’s best that we consolidate everything. We started looking around. We picked North County for a couple of reasons. One is it was an easy way to draw talent from San Diego as well as Orange County because you’re in the middle, not only that but also from East County.
At the time, we had our head of R&D that was driving over from Marietta to Orange County. He had to go South on the 78 to Escondido. He had to go over to the coast to Carlsbad, and then back up North. It was a long drive for him. We put everything in one facility, which is the same facility we’re in now. Chronologically, we moved into that facility in the fall of 1999. We have about 25,000 square feet in there. We do all the manufacturing, shipping, receiving, and everything. All of our corporate offices and everything are in that one facility. It has been that way since 1999.
I had the opportunity to visit your office in 2021. My audience knows that I’m a professional recruiter. I had a chance to come out and see your office. I’m like, “That’s interesting. You’ve been out here since the late ’90s and still going.” It looks nice too.
It’s not fancy. I’ve been to some places. They spend money on things. Why are they doing this? You don’t need to have anything gold-plated. We’re very down to earth. You’ve seen that we have an automated manufacturing process for our disposables. We make stuff and sell it for more than we make it. Isn’t that the whole point of business? Some people forget that these days in the economy that we’re in now.We make stuff, we sell it, we sell it for more than we make it. Isn't that the whole point of business? Click To Tweet
That’s another topic we could probably touch on here before we finish our time together. You make an interesting point about the business aspect. I wanted to talk about the decision that Qualigen has made of transitioning from a diagnostics-only to developing therapeutics, and then going public within 2021 and just in time.
On the surface, it appears like we made this transition to therapeutics recently but the seeds for that started in 2003. I filed the first patent on a therapeutic technology back in 2003. It was issued in 2007. The second one was issued in 2010. We wanted to start working on this stuff earlier but the original business plan was to use profits from our diagnostic sales to fund therapeutic development, at least initially, so we wouldn’t have to go out to raise money and dilute our shareholders.
We ran into a slight problem along the way. That problem was that as time was going by back then, the largest market for our product in the world is the United States. It’s all reimbursement-driven because it’s healthcare. Reimbursements for these types of tests that we do were dramatically cut over that period. That put a dent into that strategy. We had to start thinking of a different way to do it. That was the impetus for us to look around at a vehicle to go public.
We were fortunate to be able to do it, pull it off, and develop a very good relationship with a multibillion-dollar fund over in Europe that has been financing us since we have been public. At the same time, we started to bring in therapeutic assets on the cancer side. We have three cancer drug candidates in our pipeline. They all have different mechanisms of action. They’re all in different stages of development. They’re sequential.
The first one or the lead is what we call QN-302. It’s a novel drug candidate that we have brought in from the University College of London. The person that led the team that developed it has a very good track record of success with cancer drugs that his lab has developed, and then has gone on to end up in the market and into patients. You’ve probably gotten more detail from some of the other folks you talked to like our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Arshad.
We will have Dr. Arshad on the show.
I didn’t know if you had him on yet or not.
We all had a nice discussion. I got to meet with you, Amy, your Chief Strategy Officer and President, and Dr. Arshad, the Chief Medical Officer as we were preparing this. I was very interested in pursuing or having the leadership team of Qualigen on the show because I find interesting the stage that you’re in as we were discussing the diagnostics and therapeutics that you have. You’re a revenue-producing company with investment dollars.
It’s not the traditional biotech firm that is trying to take this asset, go out, get funding 100% from that, and then grow it from there. I’m curious. What was the decision to pursue this and develop the drug development pipeline? It seems like that is something that has been in the works. I’m curious as to where you see your company is positioned in the market with how things are, and then what’s the vision on the horizon.
If you look at the way we have structured our pipeline and our business in general, it is about placing different bets. We’re not out there raising money off of one asset as so many biotech companies do. We have three cancer drug candidates and our core business is in diagnostics. We also have taken a majority position in an Israeli diagnostics company that has a very exciting technology that would open up a whole new market area in the hospitals for us. It could be a big revenue producer in a couple of years.
What does this all mean in total? It means that we’re not placing all of our bets on one number on the roulette wheel. As a biotech business, these things aren’t easy to do. Getting a drug to show that it works and then getting it through the regulatory agencies is a difficult thing. Most don’t make it. To be a company that has one, and if that one doesn’t make it, then you’re done.
Let’s focus on cancer because that’s what we do. Here’s the goal here with all the companies out there that are playing in the cancer space. For people to say they’re going to come up with a cure for cancer is a very naive statement. Cancer is such a complex and individual disease because every individual that has a form of cancer has a different disease. You could take ten women with breast cancer, and each one is probably different because each person’s immune system is different.
The people that I’ve been talking to for years in our industry are the experts. I share this all the time with folks. The goal here is the turn cancer at least for the foreseeable future from a death sentence for a lot of people into a manageable disease that they can live their whole life with. A good analogy would be HIV infection and AIDS. That used to be a death sentence when somebody got it. Now, you very rarely hear about people dying from AIDS because of the treatments that are available and the knowledge they have gained.
The midterm goal with cancer is to turn it into a manageable disease that people can live with and live a long and useful life. Our goal is to provide the tools that physicians need to treat patients to get them through it. For example, our QN-302 could very well work in pancreatic cancer. After a short period, cancer overcomes that drug. It becomes resistant to it. If we can step in with a drug that can knock that cancer back for some people for a long period of time and some people for a short period of time, it buys them time. Maybe there’s something else that comes down the road that can buy them even more time.The mid term goal with cancer is to turn it into a manageable disease that people can live with and live a long useful life. Click To Tweet
That’s what we’re trying to do here. That’s not just us but a lot of the biotechs are trying to do this. 302 has a different mechanism of action than 247. Another drug we have, which is a gold particle with a piece of synthetic DNA wrapped around it, attacks cancer in a different way. We have a family of RAS inhibitors. RAS is a hot area. It’s white-hot. That’s a whole different area and mechanism of action. That’s the goal here. A combination of therapies and personalized medicine is where we’re playing in the therapeutic space.
This show generally is industry-focused, but I’ve had discussions with people that don’t understand how drug development works. The general public or people understand, “Oncology or cancer is your own cells going out of control,” but there’s this conspiracy out there where people think, “There’s a cure for cancer. It already exists.”
That has been going around for years.
You take fourteen women with breast cancer. It’s slightly different for each of them for multiple reasons. Their immune system is different. It’s generated from their personal cells and their own body. It’s very interesting.
There are always going to be people with conspiracy theories. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t some conspiracies out there.There's always gonna be people with conspiracy theories. It doesn't mean that there aren't some conspiracies out there, but for the most part, there aren’t. Click To Tweet
There could be some that have some merit. That has been an interesting journey for me on this. I mentioned this in another episode. I was having dinner with someone local to our community whom we’re friends with. He has Type 1 diabetes. It wasn’t like he developed it. He had it since he was a kid. He takes medication. He has an insulin pump and all that stuff. We were having this discussion. He made a comment. I don’t remember the exact words he used but it was some type of comment that’s like, “There’s a cure out there for most. They just don’t want us to know.”
He knows I run this show. I’m not a scientist but I understand at least the process of developing a treatment. I had to have this discussion. It was cool because he was very open. I had this discussion of, “This is everything that it takes to develop a treatment. We’re talking about discovery, the preclinical work, translational work into the clinic, Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3.” He was like, “I didn’t realize how much work it takes to create a treatment.”
There’s always the infamous They and This. Who is this They that we’re referring to that’s keeping all this under wraps? It doesn’t logically make sense. If there are cures for all this stuff, then why aren’t very wealthy and famous people living forever? Why don’t they have access to this? Why are we keeping all this under wraps? Are only certain people being treated? If that’s the case, you see it. The fact is that famous people die all the time from very painful forms of cancer and other diseases. If these things were available, you would think that they would have access to them.
They would be part of the They.
Sometimes you have to apply a little bit of logic.
We talked about your view and the approach to the types of treatments that your company is developing. What is next for Qualigen? If we put on the investor hat, what milestones are you working towards? What’s next?
As we progress through the rest of 2022, we’re going to see the achievement of milestones that are going to show our investors that we’re making progress toward a couple of things that are going to be very important in the first part of 2023. In the meantime, there are certain studies that have to be done. We’re in the process of doing those studies. We will be getting the results. That’s one thing. These things are sequential. They’re not all at the same stage. QN-247 is the next in line as far as its ability to get into humans.
We’re expecting to get some data readouts on some important studies we’re doing there. You were talking about the whole process of developing a drug. We’re screening hundreds of candidate compounds. Hopefully, by the end of 2022, we will have identified the lead. We will be starting early in 2023 into the preclinical phase. That’s going to take a year or so before we are ready to do FDA and get permission to go into humans.
You can see how we’re setting those three over the next couple of years. That’s one thing our investors can look forward to. On the diagnostic side with our FastPack business, we’re seeing a good comeback from the pandemic. Our sales got soft during the pandemic because people weren’t going to the physician’s office for a lot of things. The testing volumes were down but we’re seeing that come back nicely.
We’re also seeing new opportunities now that we have gotten that business back from Sekisui, which was our distribution partner for the last few years. We’re doing direct sales again. That’s going to be to everyone’s benefit. Let’s talk about NanoSynex and their technology, which is going to play in the hospital market for superbug detection, and telling the physicians in a timely manner what the best antibiotic is to treat these patients because 20%-plus of all deaths in hospitals are a result of these types of infections.
It’s a huge market opportunity and an area with very high unmet medical needs because the current state of the art takes about a week to get the answer. If you’re sitting in a hospital, you have this infection, and it’s going to go septic. They don’t know what best to treat it with. If you have to wait a week, that’s not a good thing. The NanoSynex technology has the potential to shorten that to a matter of days. Where we’re at with that technology is all the individual pieces of that technology have been validated and tested separately. They’re in the process of putting it all together in a single package. That would be something more like what the end user in a big hospital lab would see.
I’m glad we have had this opportunity to have this interview and get a chance to learn a little bit more about your background, what led you to where you’re at, what started Qualigen, what’s Qualigen doing now, and where you’re headed. As we get closer to the end of our time here in this interview, I would like to ask a couple of more questions that I like to ask all the guests of the show. The first question is this. If you could go back in time, is there any advice you would want to give yourself?
If I wanted to be very wealthy, I would tell myself to be a hedge fund manager or a politician. It’s one or the other. We all look at the decisions we made in the past through the lens of now. There are always things that are like, “I could have done this or that differently.” For the most part, I don’t dwell on things like that. I’m pretty satisfied with most of the decisions that I’ve made. Knowing what I know now, I probably could have done some things faster.
The journey through life is a learning process. A lot of what you learn, you don’t learn in school, especially for the things that we do. You can’t go to school to learn to be a biotech CEO. I’ve been doing this now since 1996. You can’t go to school to learn that. You can’t go to school to learn to be successful. It’s a combination of things. I rely on a lot of things I learned as an officer in the military. I rely on a lot of things I learned as a sales rep carrying a bag for Abbott.
As far as strategy and all that, I still apply a lot of what I learned at Abbott when I was in strategic marketing. A lot of it is applied common sense. I remember one time when I first started working at Abbot. I asked one of the top salespersons in the company. I went up to him and said, “What’s your secret?” He said, “Hard work and common sense. It’s getting out of bed every morning, putting the pads on, and going to work.” I would do things maybe faster because I know some shortcuts.
I get what you’re saying. It makes a lot of sense. There’s a lot that people could take out of your explanation. We can’t change the past but what that question is designed to do is to prompt people to think about perhaps what they have learned. As you said, “There are some things I’ve learned probably that could maybe speed up the process here or there but I was on that path. I wouldn’t have learned it otherwise.”
It’s a continual process. I’ll give you an example. Successful people learn something, and when the situation arises further down the road, they’re smart enough to apply it. They don’t forget about it. Here’s a good example from the early days of Qualigen. When I was in the military, some of the things they taught us were failure is not an option. There’s always a way to get something done. You have to think about it hard enough and then apply it yourself hard enough. Sometimes you have to think outside the box.Successful people, if they learn something, when the situation arises further down the road, they're smart enough to apply it. They don't just forget about it. Click To Tweet
Growing up, I read a lot about military history, military leaders, and political leaders in times of crisis, what was the turning point for them, and what are some of the things they did. We got into a situation in Qualigen in 2000. We were working on our FastPack. We were trying to get to a point where we could gather the data to go to the FDA with our PSA test to apply for approval.
Our head of R&D at the time kept coming up. They do these studies. He would come to me with the data and say, “The data is not good enough. It’s never going to work.” I got everybody in the company in a room and I said, “Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to do this study to collect our data for the FDA over the next 30 days. We’re going to do three shifts. We’re going to work around the clock. We’re going to control every possible variable, log every pouch that we run, and double-inspect it.”
As part of that, I said, “I’m the CEO and the Chairman of the company. I’m going to work the third shift.” I’m going to ask other people to work the third shift. I’m not going to ask them to do something I wouldn’t be prepared to do myself. We start this study on a Monday morning. I came in at about 10:00 at night. I went into the lab and said, “What’s the data looking like?” They said, “The data looks good. It’s looking good because we’re controlling all the variables.” This held up for the 30-day period.
We were able to get the data the way we thought it should look. What we found in that exercise was that when we had done these mini-studies before and we got data that didn’t look right, it was because people made mistakes and didn’t account for those mistakes. For example, they would run a test pouch without putting a sample in it. They would get zero when they should have gotten 100. When we double-checked that, we said, “This pouch doesn’t.” It was a discipline thing. We managed to get through all that, get the submission, and get approval. We have been on our way since that.
It was a situation where I was like, “I’m going to go back to my military mindset. We’re going to get this done. This is how we’re going to do it. We’re going to control our variables. We’re all going to work hard and I’m going to lead the way because I’m going to come in at midnight.” That’s what separates successful companies from companies that aren’t successful. The only other thing that I would pass on to people is that if you believe that what you’re doing is the right thing, you have to stick to it. You can’t give up when the going starts to get tough.
That’s good advice. The next question is about books. Are there any books that you’ve read that you would recommend to the audience and something that you’ve felt made an impact on your life?
I’ve read a lot of military history-type books. When I was growing up, I was fascinated with The Making of a Surgeon. That’s what steered me in that direction for a while in my life and got me to where I am now, which is making tools for doctors because that’s what we do. I wouldn’t say there’s any one particular book but the types of books that have helped me the most are biographies where some famous person had to lead a country through a difficult situation like Winston Churchill, or what made Napoleon great and that sort of thing. It’s all about leadership.
I like to think that I’m a student of leadership. I’ve gravitated toward those types of books. One that I got is Bret Baier’s book on Ulysses Grant, which I find fascinating because Ulysses Grant is a very misunderstood figure in our history. There are some things about Ulysses Grant that most people don’t know. For example, the popular notion is that during the Civil War, he sacrificed his men in great numbers. The math turns out that he lost 50,000 fewer men than Robert E. Lee did. He was a very smart strategist. He was shrewd and also down to earth. He was misunderstood as a president.
He did a lot of good things. He set the model for the Donald Trump presidency, and the fact that he had a Democratic Congress. Remember, this is right after the Civil War. The Democrats were pro-slavery. Ulysses Grant was trying to implement these things from Lincoln, the anti-slavery stuff, and then all the aftermath of the war. The Democratic Congress kept trying to block him and investigate him. That set the stage and the model for what we have seen in the last few administrations. The other thing that interests me about Grant is the fact that he’s a distant relative of mine.
Given the state of the market now, where do you think things are headed?
I was at a roundtable years ago. I forget the gentleman’s name. He was an older gentleman at the time. He had been the head of a big Fortune 500 company. They went around the table and asked people, “What do you see as the future?” When I got to him, he said, “The one thing I’ve learned in my entire career is that nobody knows. Nobody can predict the future.” We’re all going around the table going, “This is what I think is going to happen.” We get to him and he’s the most senior guy in the room. He’s like, “Nobody could say whatever.”
These things always go in cycles. You’re going to see at some point here a rebound. All of the bankers and the financial people I talk to think it’s going to happen later in 2022 or probably early 2023. We’re going to start to see the market come back. We will see. That’s what I’m hearing. There are a lot of unknowns. We don’t know how the whole situation in Ukraine is going to end up being resolved and how much of a role that plays. Inflation is only going to get worse before it gets better. We’re being told that fuel prices are going to continue to climb through the summer.
It’s supply and demand. In summer, people use more gas. They take vacations and travel more. Is that going to depress the market even further? Probably. What I see happening with us is once we get some of these inflection points under our belt and announced on some of our key programs, and then once we get into human trials in 2023, things are going to turn very much in our favor for our investors. My hope is that all that will coincide with a turn in the market. If we can hit a wave as the market is turning, we will be in pretty good shape.
There’s a lot of uncertainty for sure. That leads to some people making decisions based on fear. You talked about this a little bit earlier. It falls under a mindset, which is maintaining that positive attitude, learning, and moving forward. That’s what it comes down to regardless of what happens. Terrible things could happen. Someone has a business and that business fails. I would hate to be in that position but the key is you don’t stop.
If something is not working, you move to something else that will. At the end of the day, savvy investors bet on people. They don’t bet on a particular product. They bet on the people who are going to make it happen. We have excellent people with excellent track records of success.Savvy investors bet on people, they don't bet on a particular product. Click To Tweet
That’s the case. It has been great to have you on the show, Michael. I appreciate it. We will keep an eye on Qualigen. The next time I’m down there, hopefully, we can maybe have Qualigen on the YouTube channel as well.
That would be great. We would welcome that. I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you. It’s always a pleasure to talk to your audience about what’s going on. We do have a lot of exciting things going on down the road here.
We will see you soon.
Take good care.
- Qualigen Therapeutics
- The Making of a Surgeon
- Bret Baier’s book on Ulysses Grant
- YouTube – Biotech IQ
About Michael S. Poirier
Michael S. Poirier founded Qualigen in 1996 and is its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Prior to founding Qualigen, Mr. Poirier was Vice President of Marketing for Ashirus Technologies, Inc., a Minneapolis-based manufacturer of innovative high-precision dispensing pumps and related equipment for the medical industry. From 1993 to 1995, Mr. Poirier was Director of US Area Operations for EnSys, Inc., located in Research Triangle, North Carolina. EnSys developed and manufactured field-portable immunoassay test kits for the environmental remediation industry. From 1991 to 1993, Mr. Poirier was employed by Sanofi Pasteur in Chaska, Minnesota, as a Marketing Manager responsible for launching the ACCESS® Immunoassay System. This novel diagnostic system was later acquired by Beckman-Coulter and is now one of the leading immunoassay test systems worldwide.
From 1985 to 1991, Mr. Poirier was employed by Abbott Diagnostics, a division of Abbott Laboratories, Inc. in various marketing and sales positions, including Worldwide Immunoassay Product Manager for the IMx® and AxSym® immunoassay diagnostic systems. Both IMx and later, AxSym, became the leaders in their respective markets. Prior to working at Abbott, Mr. Poirier served as an officer in the United States Navy, assigned to the US Atlantic Fleet. Mr. Poirier holds a B.A. from Providence College and attended the University of Zürich, Switzerland, School of Law.