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New Zealand

Kimer Med – NZ Entrepreneur Magazine

WHO: Kimer Med

Founders: Phil Oliver and Rick Kiessig

Headquarters: Nelson

Website: www.kimermed.co.nz

What products, services, solutions, or technologies have you developed?

Despite billions of dollars spent on medical research, registered antiviral drugs exist for only a handful of viral diseases that afflict humans. It simply targets the virus and reduces its ability to multiply. In addition, viruses tend to mutate easily, making drugs less effective, making them relatively more virulent and more susceptible to drug resistance.

To overcome these problems, Kimer Med is using existing macromolecular recombinant protein technology to develop broad-spectrum antiviral drugs. This should not be confused with a vaccine, but is a treatment aimed at eliminating the virus that has infected the host’s body.

We believe our compounds are effective in treating viruses in humans and animals.

What does the customer’s main problem or solution they “want” solve?

Kimer Med’s vision is the end of viral disease. Viruses are one of the oldest and deadliest threats to human life, causing immense sickness, suffering and death worldwide. Dengue, Ebola, HIV and Zika are wreaking havoc and ruining lives, especially in developing countries. Influenza (“flu”) is associated with 500,000 deaths each year, and viruses like Covid-19 can emerge suddenly, kill millions, and devastate economies. I have.

The 1918 influenza pandemic killed an estimated 50-100 million people. Currently, 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, and an average of 3,000 people die every day from liver disease caused by viral hepatitis.

Just by scanning the news, monkeypox is rampant, hand-foot-and-mouth disease is threatening livestock and livelihoods, the super-lethal Marburg virus is breaking out in Ghana, and scientists recently discovered that the virus could lead to Alzheimer’s disease. It has been confirmed that it causes diseases such as and multiple sclerosis.

There is a desperate need for broad-spectrum antiviral drugs to prepare for the threat of the next deadly pandemic, which may be caused not only by many current viruses, but also by viruses we do not know yet.

It is difficult to overstate the impact of our activities. If successful, it could revolutionize medicine, save countless lives, and greatly reduce world suffering.

Who are your target customers and where are they located?

In humans, our target market is people suffering from or at risk of viral diseases. Our viral targets range from well-known viruses such as rhinovirus (cold) and influenza to SARS-CoV-2 (Covid), CMV, EBV and HIV. Effective treatment or cure. At the deadlier end of the scale, it targets viruses such as Ebola, Zika and Dengue.

Let’s take a closer look at dengue fever. Dengue fever, for example, is a little-known disease here in New Zealand. However, dengue fever is the most common mosquito-borne viral disease in the world. It has been ranked among the top ten global threats to public health by the World Health Organization. Dengue is now endemic in 129 countries, with 3.9 billion people at risk. It infects about 390 million people annually, puts enormous pressure on the health system, and kills about 40,000 people each year. There are currently no specific antiviral drugs to treat dengue infection.

We have created a formulation of VTose that has demonstrated 100% efficacy against dengue virus in vitro (this is a test done in the lab). We are working out how to complete the additional tests and trials needed to Most of them are in developing countries. It is important to us that life-saving medicines are affordable and available to those who need them most.

There are many viral diseases in animals, for which there are currently no effective treatments or cures. We are working to address several diseases that affect pets and companion animals, including the feline herpes virus.

When and how did you come up with the idea for your business?

Kimer Med was founded in August 2020 by Phil Oliver and Rick Kiessig.

The two co-founders were aware of several previously published studies in the antiviral field that showed compounds effective against 15 viruses in vitro and another one in mice. I was. They decided to dig deeper and see what happened since it was published in 2011.

They were surprised that this work had not progressed further and most of the relevant patents had expired. With decades of scientific and entrepreneurial experience, Phil and Rick decided there was no more worthwhile quest than pursuing the potential of this life-saving antiviral technology, and Kimer Med was born

“Kimer Med is using existing macromolecular recombinant protein technology to develop broad-spectrum antiviral drugs. We call our product VTose®.”

List three things you are proud of about your business.

  1. The first is the “small pharma” approach. Without a doubt, our entire journey has been one of adversity. What we are trying to do has not yet been done. We are talking about the end-to-end process of drug development on a tight budget. This process is plagued on all fronts by technical challenges, huge costs and regulatory burdens. But, as you know, innovation and smart thinking are born precisely in such situations. This is a concept that Nelson’s greatest scientist famously expressed. “I don’t have money, so I have to think.” Our entire business model, research process and product development path takes a creative and unconventional approach that differs from the traditional big pharma model. We call this approach “small pharma” and we are changing the world with it.
  2. Second, courage. This is a business of grand proportions. From drug development to clinical trials, he said, it would take 10 years and could cost more than $150 million. No sane person takes this lightly. It takes a lot of courage and confidence. Fortunately, we are inspired and motivated by the potential impact of our work and the lives it saves.
  3. Third, community. We are proud to be part of Nelson’s small but growing biotech community. Biotechnology is a field with great potential for positive impact on the world as it seeks to solve some of the serious and pressing concerns of our time. We aim to be responsible and supportive members of that community, and as part of that, we are looking to build a sector in the region by establishing the Nelson His Biotechnology Forum.

How do you market your business and what advice do you have for others about marketing?

Since we don’t have a product to speak of yet, our marketing consists primarily of awareness work. Until recently, we were essentially obscure and flying under the radar, so in an attempt to change that, a more active social media presence and some media attention with his releases. did. We are trying to raise as much grant money as possible and will be funding next year. That’s why it’s important that the right people start hearing about us. We have developed a communication strategy that categorizes audience segments and outlines the messages that are important to them and how to get them across.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced building your business so far?

It is no exaggeration to say that such work presents constant challenges. Drug development is a complex and difficult task.

One of the biggest challenges we face is that the Covid pandemic has recently driven the whole world into vaccines and vaccine development. Huge amounts of money have flowed into the field and little attention has been paid to the need for antiviral agents.
It is for us and others that if an effective vaccine can be developed and deployed alongside an effective broad-spectrum antiviral drug, we have the best chance of saving lives and preventing further pandemics. Obvious. This guy sums it up very well:

“A clinically-ready antiviral drug suitable for SARS-CoV-2 could have probably saved millions of lives when the pandemic hit in late 2019. We need a diverse stockpile of new antiviral compounds that can be rapidly advanced in the event of one pandemic and the next, and it is imperative that these are affordable and equitable for everyone.” ~ Dr Ben Perry – Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) Discovery Open Innovation Leader

What’s the biggest entrepreneurial lesson you’d like to pass on to other Kiwis looking to start their own business?

We are very lucky that there is still a huge unmet market for our products and there is no shortage of needs. However, this is not always the case. Talk to your potential customers as early as possible and try to dig deep and really understand their needs. Don’t be afraid to ask direct and to-the-point questions like “Would you like to buy this from me?” and be sure to discuss details such as price, duration and licensing. Use what you learn to improve your product, approach, and pitch.

A great idea is a dime. For real. It is not ideas, names, or images that lead companies to success. These are important, but we’ll get to them later. The key to early success is customer acceptance, and understanding that takes time, effort, and sometimes a significant amount.

Benefits include maximizing the impact of limited initial capital and avoiding building a product that no one will buy if you think it’s great. Knowing your potential customers well is also a prerequisite for effective sales, marketing and especially any kind of financing.

Stories created in partnership with Nelson Regional Development Authority (NRDA)).

Innovation Nation is a series celebrating stories of innovation and diversity in entrepreneurship across New Zealand.

Innovation Nation is proudly supported by:

https://nzentrepreneur.co.nz/founder-qa-kimer-med/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=founder-qa-kimer-med Kimer Med – NZ Entrepreneur Magazine

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