CEO Spotlight: Hoji Alimi of Oculus Innovative Sciences, Inc
OWM: Please describe the education, training, and work experiences that have prepared you for your current position as CEO of Oculus Innovative Sciences, Inc. I have an undergraduate degree in biology. My training has been in microbiology and toxicology. I began my career at Arterial Vascular Engineering, a stent company, in 1995; at that time, the company was private and growing. The company completed its IPO in 1996 and was subsequently purchased by Medtronic in 1998. I served as a corporate microbiologist and managed some of their QA engineering functions in their Canadian operations as well. In 1999, I started Micromed Labs, a microbiology testing facility and consulting firm to help medial device companies navigate the regulatory paths in both Europe and the US. The revenues from Micromed Labs helped finance the development of our Microcyn Technology. In 2003, Oculus Innovative Sciences, Inc was formed primarily to focus on development and commercialization of this technology. Microcyn Technology is the first effective nontoxic antimicrobial with anti-inflammatory response and wound healing benefits that can eradicate resistant strains of pathogens. OWM: What should our readers know about Oculus Innovative Sciences, Inc? Oculus Innovative Sciences, Inc is a healthcare company focused on the development and commercialization of a novel compound (Microcyn Technology) with a safety profile that parallels saline but offers broad antimicrobial properties, anti-inflammatory, and wound healing properties. Microcyn Technology is the only stable form of hypochlorous acid (HOCL) available on the market. The technology has been cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for both wound care and dermatology markets. The product also has received multiple approvals in international markets including Mexico, Europe, China, India, and the Middle East. OWM: How were you first introduced to wound care and why do you enjoy working in this arena? The impact of the product was observed initially by physicians in Mexico, where the product was approved as a topical antiseptic and disinfectant. The initial findings and market feedback showed diabetic ulcers healed in a matter of months, saving some patients from amputation below the knee. Based on this feedback, Oculus redefined its strategy to include the wound care market. Since that time, we have treated more than 3 million patients around the globe without any signs of significant adverse results. OWM: What are some of the company’s biggest accomplishments thus far? What are some of your key products and/or functions that clearly distinguish your brand? Product development: We have produced the compound in a liquid form with a 2-year shelf life, as well as in hydrogel form. Regulatory: The technology has received 5 FDA clearances in wound care and 2 in dermatology. The technology is also approved in Europe, China, India, Far East Asia, and the Middle East. Partnerships: We have established strategic partnerships around the world. In the United States: 1. We have partnered with Amneal Quinnova, one of the fastest growing generic drug companies in the US. The company most recently acquired Quinnova Pharmaceuticals to establish their foot print in the dermatology market. Amneal Quinnova is now marketing and selling our dermatology products in the US. 2. We also have partnered with Eloquest to commercialize our wound care products in the acute care market. 3. We have partnered with Innovacyn to market our products in the animal health care market. After 3 years, Innovacyn has successfully commercialized more than 40 SKUs and reached revenues of $10M annually. Microcyn Technology is the only topical product today that can eradicate resistant strains of bacteria (ie, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus [MRSA]), as well as viruses, spores, and fungi while it does not pose any harm to body tissue. The product has anti-inflammatory response and wound healing properties. OWM: Please describe the mission/vision of your company and how your personal vision fits with the company’s goals. Oculus is focused on providing landscape-altering healthcare products that can significantly improve patient outcomes globally in wound care, dermatology, animal healthcare, and beyond. My intent was to create a company that reflected my values — ie, to improve patients’ lives through the development of innovative solutions to healthcare challenges not adequately addressed by current technologies. OWM: Please explain what must take place on a daily basis at Oculus Innovative Sciences, Inc in order to accommodate patients, clinicians, and healthcare facilities: Again, it comes back to developing technologies that are disruptive in nature, that redefine the rules of engagement in the healthcare space. OWM: Looking ahead, what are some incentives or products the company is working on? We continue to work with our partners to develop Microcyn-based products that address a multitude of healthcare issues including wound care, dermatology, animal healthcare, and others.