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Sunday Conversation: Incubus’ Mike Einziger

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СообщениеДобавлено: 19.01.2021 10:46    Заголовок сообщения: Sunday Conversation: Incubus’ Mike Einziger Ответить с цитатой

Sunday Conversation: Incubus’ Mike Einziger On How Co-Founding A Biotech Company Is Like Starting A Band

Musicians' side gigs are well documented, from artists like Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Brandon Boyd, who paint, to ASAP Rocky and Rihanna and their fashion ventures.

If there was a Grammy though for most unique and interesting side gig, Incubus guitarist Mike Einziger would take home that award with a unanimous vote. Having already founded a successful tech company, Mixhalo, Einziger and his wife, Ann Marie Simpson-Einziger have started a biotech company, Versicolor Technologies.

Born out of necessity, trying to research the condition, which turned out to be Tinea versicolor, Ann Marie developed on her back while in India in 2015, the company began in 2016. But as Einziger explained when I spoke to him, being off the road in 2020 allowed the couple to immerse themselves deeply in the company.

Now, their biotech company is developing into a potentially successful cosmetics venture which, Einziger says, has already received offers from several global cosmetics brands interested in commercializing their innovative technology.

I spoke to Einziger about Versicolor Technologies, how starting a business is similar to starting a band, what he's learned from Incubus he brought to the biotech world and much more.

Steve Baltin: What is the biotech company and what is your role with the company?

Mike Einziger: My wife, Ann Marie, and I are the co-founders, and I’m currently the CEO, but I’ll step aside when it's time to really build out the cosmetics business. VT is a biotech that later started developing cosmetics, which was not our original plan. Cosmetics just happened to be where the technology led us. And obviously being off the road has given all artists and musicians a whole lot of time to do things that we wouldn't normally get to do. I would've been on the road for the past year. Spending all this time at home has just given us different options. Versicolor Technologies, is named after one the world’s most common skin conditions, Tinea versicolor, which is what Ann Marie developed on her back. The condition is caused by a commensal yeast that naturally grows in the skin microbiome. Under a set of poorly understood conditions, the organism causes white patches to form on your skin. Ann Marie developed white patches on her back, and our attempt to diagnose those white patches turned into a journey down a deep scientific rabbit hole.

Baltin: What made you decide to pursue a company in this world?

Einziger: The idea was all started by Ann Marie’s epiphany that the skin’s microbiome is capable of producing beneficial chemicals. Tinea versicolor inhibits your skin's ability to produce melanin, which is quite remarkable. The cells that produce melanin, called melanocytes, can also be involved in melanoma and other skin conditions that can be harmful. The fact that the microbiome has evolved its own unique mechanism for inhibiting those cells is fascinating and we are investigating the benefits. It just so happens that I'm at high risk for developing melanomas. And in the past few years I've developed eight skin cancers. Luckily not melanoma, but this subject has interested me on a personal level, and the prospect of helping other people in need is just so compelling. So that was what drew us to this idea. And our research confirmed our original hypothesis. Unexpectedly, we learned that those chemicals could also provide other substantial benefits including cosmetic benefits. So, that became Versicolor’s immediate goal: to create innovative and beneficial cosmetic products. Simultaneously, we’ve continued exploring how our technology could be used to treat medical conditions and diseases like psoriasis and melanoma. I'm really passionate about it because it's a way to help make the world a better place through technology, and it’s been a massive learning experience.

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