The Global Regenerative Academy CEO Diyan Ganev and Nikola Grivov from Global Regenerative Trade have won the special partners awards of the “Innovations Academy” events for entrepreneurship and innovations. A presentation was offered encompassing the key advantages of Global Regenerative Academy and Global Regenerative Trade, what is the targeted market size, timeline, future activities and problems they are solving.
The event was held online due to the coronavirus situation, but none the less the Academy-Trade team managed to win!
Karoll Knowledge foundation is a non-profit organization in a larger group of financial entities such as Karoll Capital working in the field of private and public financing managing more than 75 million dollars worldwide. It has a history of more than 15 years in the financial business. Karoll Knowledge supports the educational business as a trusted partner in the development of new scientific breakthroughs and discoveries. The Academy-Trade team will start regular meetings with Karoll Knowledge in the beginning of September 2020 with emphasis on the future development of Global Regenerative Academy and Global Regenerative Trade companies.
Here is the full interview:
The Global Regenerative Academy team, Diyan Ganev and Nikola Grivov, students from the Medical University of Sofia, won the special award of the Karol Knowledge Foundation as participants in the innovative hackathon Innovation Academy 2020, organized by Innovation Starter.
Nikola: My name is Nikola Grivov and I am a trainee doctor at the Medical University – Sofia. From an early age I have been interested in the humanities, in particular medicine. Since my first year at the Medical University, I have been actively participating in various congresses related to physics, biology, pharmacology, orthopedics. As a student I have prepared several articles, one of which is related to plasma therapy or PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) Therapy. The article received a wide response, which motivated me to further work in this field of medicine – Regenerative Medicine.
Regenerative medicine is a new, evidence-based, multidisciplinary approach that seeks to repair or replace damaged human cells or tissues to restore normal body function, a revolution in patient care in the 21st century.
For this purpose, autologous blood or bone marrow components are used to stimulate the body’s own recovery processes. A common source of regenerative cells and growth factors is concentrated bone marrow aspirate (BMAC) and platelet rich plasma PRP (platelet rich plasma) obtained from one’s own blood.
By strengthening and accelerating our body’s own healing mechanisms, we achieve excellent results in the treatment of diseases that have hitherto been considered incurable. This is the future of modern medicine.By participating in the Innovation Academy, we aim to introduce more and more people to our activities.
Diyan: My name is Diyan Ganev and I am a trainee doctor at the Medical University – Sofia. This year is our last at the university, after which we graduate as medical doctors. For me, university time was a time of true innovation.
Initially, the clash with medical science, this spectacular experiment of testing, association, and patient-specific impact, was so idealistic. I had the incredible feeling that this was something that was really worth it because it saved lives. When routine became the norm, it was time for something new. Then I met alternative people who wanted to create new things, to be a new reading of the tradition in university. We have created a student research organization, with an annual medical students congress and activities throughout the year. Until two years ago, I was actively involved in this process. Meanwhile, a period of rethinking values has come.
Being a doctor means a lot, but I thought again about the impact of clinical practice. And that it can be amplified by some tools of modern technology. We started building the first 3D-bioprinter in Bulgaria, in an office in Lozenets neighbourhood. This was a period of very intensive scientific growth. I had the honor to meet a young doctoral student and my wonderful friend from the Medical Faculty of MU – Sofia – Rozalia Tsikandelova. From her I learned a lot of basic things in scientific practice – from working with cell cultures to enjoying life with all its vicissitudes. Yes, through the eyes of a young scientist, life is a continuous experiment.
The main thing in our team were the overnights! We stayed until 3-4 after midnight to finalize the experiments for the next day or to come up with a concept for bioprinting with living cells. We crossed Sofia several times a day, working in collaborations with other institutes. It was madness, sweet madness! She is now in the UK working with the CRISPR method on retinal cells.
In parallel, I participated in iGEM Bulgaria – an international project for genetic engineering. We used the laboratories of Sofia Tech Park, and our academic mentor was a young doctoral student from Heidelberg, an exceptional scientist with a combinatorial mind and original ideas. Our project was to increase the mutation level of E. coli and thus cause accelerated evolution in the respective colony of microorganisms. As a result we created a rifampicin-resistant microorganism and won a silver medal at the International Congress of Genetic Engineering in Boston, USA.
At the end of 2018, we created the Global Regenerative Academy – an international innovative community of doctors enthusiastic about the future of medicine. We were able to attract doctors from over 35 countries and fill the niche of the independent, scientific community to unite and consolidate regenerative medicine in practice. The problems in the field turned out to be many – doctors do not believe in the effectiveness of the new methods. Evidence of efficacy and safety independent of manufacturing companies is required. That’s why we created the Global Regenerative Journal – a medical journal for independently verified publications on regenerative medicine or what is called peer-reviewed publications. We continue to be flexible and innovative in what we do.
We are the first in the world with a complete solution for regenerative medicine as a branch of medicine, with its scientific achievements, clinical trials and established practices. With us, a doctor or scientist can start building his prototype, validate it multicenter and market it successfully.
We envisage the creation of a university course in this topic, postgraduate training for specialists. We hold an annual congress and focused events in different parts of the world. My task is to organize the processes in the company, as well as to look for new ways to implement the business model of the Academy.
At the Investment Academy you presented not just a startup project, but a complete concept. What was the original idea and how did it develop into the Global Regenerative Academy?
Diyan: The doctor is skeptical at first. He does not make choices quickly and lightly. That’s why a new product is actually a huge challenge for the doctor. This is because he needs to be very familiar with everything about the product and then make a decision. In addition, the doctor makes a competent choice in favor of the patient. That is, the doctor bears full responsibility for the patient’s health. Another feature is that doctors in private practice have individualized their presence in the community. They develop on their own, without realizing that they can do it together better.
Global Regenerative Academy recognizes the specific needs of physicians using regenerative medicine. Therefore we are working to create a community that validates the use of regenerative medicine in clinical practice and for those who have not yet dared to do so.
The reasons for this may be that they have encountered some poorly done sponsored study or have not found enough evidence. By creating the Global Regenerative Journal, we address precisely these problems at the clinical level. These two instances are enough in the medical and scientific circles to prove that a new method works and is safe.
Nikola: As head of the Trade Department of the Global Regenerative Group, I face problems with people’s access to innovation in medicine. Over the years, many companies have developed products that try to establish themselves in the market without proof of their effectiveness. This leads to doubts, to the distrust of patients. That is why we strive, through our relations with different clinics and doctors of different specialties, to provide scientific information, evidence of the truth of our work, the effectiveness of our products. In this way, united with the Global Regenerative Academy, we are making more and more accessible, scientifically supported and clinically tested methods of treatment!
At this stage, what is the Global Regenerative Academy?
Diyan:Global Regenerative Academy is a community worldwide – doctors from 4 continents, 35 countries, over 2000 participants. The academy facilitates annual congresses and focused events in various locations around the world.
It exists under this name since a year and a half ago. Our team consists of 20 doctors, advisors from 15 countries, business leaders, IT specialists. We are currently facing an event in Dubai, which we are considering how to conduct in connection with the coronavirus pandemic. We are about to sign a cooperation agreement with an university in the UK, we are holding talks with Medical Universities in Bulgaria as well. One of the strong goals of the Academy is to manage projects related to regenerative medicine, and many of our doctors have specific ideas looking for realization. This implies pipeline of products that solve specific problems through the use of blood products, biological “waste” (umbilical cord, placenta) and others. We are also about to announce the start of the Global Regenerative Journal – an open-access journal for the publication of verified, independent scientific information related to regenerative medicine.
And what is Global Regenerative Trading?
Nikola: Global Regenerative Trading serves as a link for products used in various fields of medicine.
We work with doctors from all over the world, doctors with different specialties related to Regenerative Medicine. Based on their knowledge, we develop innovative products that improve the quality of life of patients.
The many years of experience of all these doctors, the difficulties they face, help us to develop these products so that they are as accessible as possible for each specialist.
How do innovations happen in medicine today? What is the path from scientific discovery to application in clinical practice?
Diyan: Innovations in medicine are an exception in the world of entrepreneurship. This is because medicine is a territory of tradition, ie. new things break through hard. Medicine also has a specific object – the man. Ethical contradictions in medical innovation are a major problem and are the subject of debate and state regulations. In itself, innovations in medicine can be purely technological or procedural. A new method of surgical operation can be an innovation due to low trauma and high efficiency. Technological innovations is a wide range term – from telemedicine to ultrasonic scalpels. My personal attachment is to technology and hardware solutions. But for the development of a hardware product, sciences such as biophysics, mechanics, electronics, biology, chemistry and others are most often involved.
Innovations in medicine require a large and highly specialized team.
This is difficult to detect, especially at the beginning of the project. The entrepreneur at the head of this project must be able to attract, motivate and retain the team. Qualities based on mutual trust and perspective for the future. Subsequently, technological innovation is gaining popularity, but to stay relevant, the company needs to innovate not so much the product but its business. To target new markets, to find new applications of its products, in another field. This creates large corporate groups, where a company serves one sector of the economy.
There are no lectures on entrepreneurship at the Medical University. How and where do you train yourself?
Diyan: Four years ago, I first tried to create such a course at my university. There was not enough motivation then for that to happen. But later Novartis together with Junior Achievement Bulgaria managed to do it not only in Sofia but also in Plovdiv Medical universities. That is enough for me and I think I have been able to contribute in this direction.
There are other universities in Bulgaria and in Sofia, it is not forbidden to attend lectures in other faculties. Fortunately, however, there are experienced entrepreneurs who see the need. I am talking about the Center for Applied Research and Innovation at the Faculty of Biology at Sofia University, where Kiril Petkov, a well-known Bulgarian entrepreneur in the field of probiotics, created such a course. It is based on the Harvard model and reflects some basic economic postulates. The way of teaching itself is different in this course. I recommend it to everyone! There we completed an eco-project to reduce the use of environmentally toxic fresheners, as part of the solution is based on a microbiological substrate.
The Karoll Knowledge Foundation is a partner of the Center for Applied Research and Innovation and one of the teams in the next course there will also win participation in Entrepreneurs in Science.
Did you make your first business plan for the innovative hackathon?
Diyan: The business plan is one of the first things for any start-up business. Ours was ready a long time ago and we really adapted to fit within the requirements set by the organizer. However, every time you read the business plan, you rethink what is valuable to your business. There is a theory that every company should have its own “bible”. This is a large folder where everything important for the company is placed – market, employees, product, strategy, human capital, etc. This “bible” is supplemented and re-read every 6 months or a year, thus constantly keeping up, innovating the processes in the company.
So far, how do you finance your activities?
Nikola: Our financing is done through sales revenues.
Who are the clients of Global Regenerative Academy? What is the market you are targeting?
Diyan: Our clients are also our members. This is special for this type of business. Because when you build a community, your goal is not to make a sale and disappear for that “customer.” When you are a member of the Academy, mutual trust is the most valuable currency. These are doctors, owners of private clinics or private practice, in different locations around the world, scientists who develop in the field of regenerative medicine, entrepreneurs or sales experts who deal with regenerative products. All these instances, together with hospitals and universities make up the market of regenerative medicine. Worldwide, it is estimated at about 40 billion dollars, including the market for professional events and medical devices, the amount rises to over 2.5 trillion dollars.
How will you develop the project?
Diyan: Our vision is clear – to use our contacts and ideas of doctors to offer new solutions to the clinical practice. All this supported by scientific evidence, experiments, published data and multicenter studies. In fact, during the annual congresses, we plan to create an entrepreneurial session, in which several quick lectures, a business case and a discussion on a problem set by us will be given. The academy is unifying for the problems of the branch. This is actually a big advantage. With this session, the participating doctors and entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to build future solutions.
We also have some ideas for accessory projects that I will keep secret for now. They are again associated with regenerative medicine. I hope that in the process of “Entrepreneurs in Science 2020” we will test some of them.
And what are your next steps in science? Do you plan to continue with doctoral studies and in what field?
Nikola: As I have already mentioned, Regenerative medicine is a multidisciplinary approach in medicine, which includes many medical and biological specialties. My interest is mainly focused on the application of Regenerative Medicine in Orthopedics and Traumatology. As a future specialist in Orthopedics and Traumatology, I believe that the wide application of Regenerative Medicine in this specialty will lead to a leap in its development.
Diyan: In fact, in early 2021, I will have the honor of working with scientists from the University of Cambridge and their Adenbrook University Hospital. There is a laboratory for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine for clinical application of biological products. These are people with experience in creating organic products, ie. there will be a scientific transfer that will be useful for my current and future projects.
My doctorate is still at the conceptual level, but the processes are accelerating. I am graduating with state exams this year and graduating in February 2021. So there are only a few months left until the beginning. It will probably be in the field of immunology, oncology, hematology or pharmacy.
Although I am very attracted to science, I have a medical practice duty. My choice of clinical specialty will probably be in the field of infectious diseases. For 3 months I was a volunteer at the Infectious Diseases Clinic at the Military Medical Academy in Sofia.
I met wonderful doctors and teachers there! Infectious pathology is very diverse and requires an expanded clinical view and analytical thinking. The coronavirus turned out to be not just a lung disease, but also a vascular disease due to its effect on the vascular endothelium and the coagulation cascade. Oncology and hematology are also favorites for me. What they all have in common is their interaction with immunity and cellular components. Apparently for me, regenerative medicine, with its biological products and immunological phenomena, are the two things that close the circle.