Most founders have a story explaining the moment they realized their product or tech solution could live on as a full-fledged business. Maybe they were trying to fix a technical redundancy, or envisioned a product that could save time and money. For others, it grows out of a very specific personal experience, and a realization of how it can impact others.
The latter describes the story for entrepreneur Julia Anthony. She was born with a life-threatening medical condition called Salt-Wasting Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, which means her adrenal glands don’t produce enough aldosterone, the hormone that regulates sodium and water in the body. Anthony’s brother was also born with the condition, and the pair rely on medication to treat and mitigate adrenal crises.
Anthony’s career was in healthcare and wellness for institutions across the region, but she found herself wanting to do more and have a strong impact. After her brother had multiple adrenal events in one year and almost lost his life, Anthony decided to launch a company around a new delivery system for the drug needed for their condition. That previous system involved mixing substances and a multiple-step process before injection.
“I didn’t want him to have to fear for his life anymore,” the founder said.
She began working on what would become SOLUtion Medical as a graduate student in Thomas Jefferson University‘s industrial and product design program. Two years ago, she launched the company. Its signature product is called the TwistJect. It’s a patient-friendly drug delivery system for reconstitutable drugs. Pre-filled for single use, the device is better suited for self-administration and is simpler to use in a medical emergency, Anthony said.
Anthony has been building the company at South Philly makerspace NextFab, and won the Pennovation Accelerator‘s “Best Pitch” award in 2020. SOLUtion Medical is also a Johnson & Johnson JLabs Innovation company and was awarded the Pennsylvania Pediatric Medical Device Consortium grant from CHOP. In 2020, she brought on Jonathan Kiel as the company’s chief scientific officer and cofounder.
To date, SOULution Medical has received funding from NextFab, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, CHOP and the Addison’s Disease Self-Help Group, which is based in the UK, along with funding from angel investors. The company is currently raising a seed round of about $500,000, but Anthony said they’re on track to oversubscribe. It will be followed by a Series A as Anthony adds some top leadership positions in the next few weeks.
The next six to eight months will involve beginning to talk to the FDA and looking into preclinical trials, as well as exploring which other drugs the device might work for.
“We’re trying to get some gas in the gas tank,” she said.
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