MARCELO: [00:00:01] Anything could be going on and I’m just focused. But yeah, it’s a discipline stepping back and thinking strategically about what you want to achieve, and this and that. I’m a bit of a nerd in that respect. So, I regularly review my goals versus yeah, what I thought were my goals at some stage and what actually happened. My philosophy is that hey, control is an illusion, right? You got to let go in a way but nonetheless, I do have goals and I plan.
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JESSE: [00:01:13] Welcome to the Smart Athlete Podcast. I’m your host, Jesse Funk. My guest today describes himself as a scientist entrepreneur. I’d also described him as a serial entrepreneur. He’s the author of the book, Dream, Design, Surf. He also is a triathlete and does yoga. Welcome to the show, Marcelo Bravo.
MARCELO: [00:01:33] Welcome. Thank you.
JESSE: [00:01:36] Thanks for joining me, Marcelo. As I’ve read through all the stuff that you do, have done, I can’t imagine that you’re not a very busy person running multiple companies. As we were talking, before we got going, we’ve got family at home, everybody to take care of. So, I appreciate you taking time out of the day to spend time with me.
MARCELO: [00:02:01] It’s a pleasure, actually. I’m really enjoying to have the conversation. Yeah, I am very busy, but in a very positive way. You know, I don’t feel overwhelmed. In a way this working from home thing has made me very productive.
JESSE: [00:02:20] Yeah. The thing that comes to mind for me, when I think about somebody like yourself, who I think we have kind of similar mindsets, though, I think you operate on a larger scale than I do is time management.
I think, for the general person, we think about people running multiple companies, think about like the biggest examples, like Gates, and Musk and Bezos, and running these large companies, and we all only have 24 hours, right, trying to figure out, how is it possible that they can do all these things? Yet, some of us barely can figure out how to make lunch for ourselves. So, I’m curious if you have any thoughts on time management, actually getting things done? You know, how do you manage your day?
MARCELO: [00:03:15] Yeah. Well, the first thing is about designing your life and designing what you do, right? So, this book, Dream, Design Surf, the same component is all about how do you design adventure in order for escape? It is lower risk, it is scalable, it’s operationally very efficient. And if you step back and design your life in a way that allows you to be very effective, then you’re very effective.
On the other hand, if you don’t think through those things, or don’t design the way you want to do things, you end up with all kinds of inefficiencies built into your day. So, for me, it’s yeah, it’s about leverage, right? So, you only have so many hours, so much energy to get to things. How do you get most — where do you put your energy that gives you most leverage and most output?
[00:04:09] So, that I think is the key thing for me and our business. It’s a supplements business, it’s totally effective and it’s external so I don’t manufacturer. I have my product manufacturer in Switzerland. You know, we sell online, we sell through distributors, we leverage technology, and it’s a very agile, small team behind the whole thing.
And we focus on what has impact and delivers the business instead of stuff that just kind of like, makes you busy. Yeah. And that applies to your day as well, you know. What do you do? And for me it’s, well, yeah, there’s always a to-do list never-ending but you tackle the big ones, right, right upfront.
[00:05:00] So, last night, my son, because I involved my kids in whatever I do, told them well, this and that, I needed to change my website and on this website, and I just wrote immediately an email to someone and then in the morning, sorted. You know, he was quite impressed because we were able to just do it. And that that’s the thing that we understand and it got done right away.
One of the things I don’t do is we don’t do meetings, or you don’t waste time. I used to work for Procter and Gamble, right? I worked for Procter and Gamble for many years and big company. I would say half of your time was just managing your existence within an organization. And then another quarter of your time was just the politics of that. And the were effective time to get stuff done was this much. Whereas here, your effective time is this and the organization and the politics are very, very thin, you know? Yeah.
JESSE: [00:06:06] I think that the part I have trouble with, which I’ve been doing better about, as you know, since my assistant is the one that got in touch with you is delegating tasks away. You know, I used to be the one looking for podcast guests and sending emails and all this kind of thing. And, yeah, just delegating tasks and making sure that I’m not trying to do everything and being more effective.
And then I think about, how do I apply that to my everyday life? You know, there’s some things I guess you can do like I’ve got a yard so I could hire somebody to take care of the yard and do all those things. And then you’ve got more time. Anyway, just, I always wonder how different people deal with their own situation. And like you said, design, what it is that they’re after, that certain kind of life that they want to live?
MARCELO: [00:07:06] Yeah, exactly. And also, you have to identify the stuff that slows you down, right, and remove it. So, like, if you’re training, you got to identify the blocks to your training and remove those things from your life in order to enable then your training. Yeah. So, one has to be active in that respect.
JESSE: [00:07:31] Yeah. Yeah. So, how do I — Now, I do this a little bit, but in your opinion, say, I’m caught up whether I — maybe we go back to when you’re working at P&G, and you’re caught up, you’re not running your own show, you’re working for a corporate environment, you’ve got kids at home. How do you step back from that and kind of divorce yourself from where you are to figure out where you want to go?
MARCELO: [00:08:08] Well, I think it’s something you learn to do, right? My wife says, I’m a bit autistic, right? So, I can have tons of stuff going on around me and I’m in my thing, I’m very focused. And once I’m focused, I’m focused. Anything could be going on, and I’m just focused. But yeah, it’s a discipline, stepping back and thinking strategically about what you want to achieve, and this and that.
I’m a bit of a nerd in that respect. So, I regularly review my goals versus yeah, what I thought were my goals at some stage and what actually happened. My philosophy is that hey, control is an illusion, right? You got to let go in a way but nonetheless, I do have goals and I plan. And I continually check that. But, at the same time, this is the Dream, Design, Surf. You have to navigate all these because it’s never going to be — it’s never going to pan out the way you thought or expect it, right?
[00:09:13] But this continual revision of checking the course is something I always do. And then I have some pivotal moments like, when I turned 60, then when I turned 50, I had my 10-year big plan, big things I wanted to achieve in the next decade. And I’ve just done the same thing recently when I turned 60, right, what big things, you know. So, I think I have one company in me yet. And I’m starting actually something. But I said, “Look, it’s the last one so it has to be something big and meaningful.”
It cannot be just kind of like what I was doing 20 years ago or whatever. So, I’m actually spinning off a company here in Oxford soon, in the coming weeks. I’m trying to — it’s a cancer therapy. So, I’m [inaudible 00:10:01] I’m going to spend my brain and energy and life energy for the next few years, it’s going to take a few years, this thing. I don’t think it’s going to be in the clinic before five years from now, five very intense years.
[00:10:17] Then it has to be something big and meaningful, so I’m working in immuno-oncology. So, that was kind of like, yeah, great. This is what I want to do in this decade. It’s going to be bad. And if it progresses, it’s fantastic, it’s part of my legacy. It doesn’t — I try and I try to get something big and that makes it very relevant then either way. So, that’s — Yeah, so I do that regularly. But also, at certain moments like, you take advantage of the fact that you hit a milestone in your life, and you say, “Great. I want to think of the next 10 years, and the next thing.
And I’ve been doing that a few times. And now I kind of say, well, there’s not too many of those left. So, you know, I was going to do that half Ironman in Barcelona with a bunch of friends, right? It’s great. You know, we’re all quite senior, and it’s going to be great fun. So, we’re still going to do it as soon as things go back to normal, we’re going to be going that
JESSE: [00:11:18] So, you kind of answer one of the things I was thinking about. Because I think I read and correct me, if I’m wrong, that since you have moved to the UK and you’ve been there, at least 18 years now, and you started four companies in your time there.
MARCELO: [00:11:33] 20 now. I’ve been here for years.
JESSE: [00:11:36] Okay. So, I mean, most people don’t start one company, let alone four or five, or maybe you’re working on six now talking about the new one. And it’s just, the kind of joking question I have for you, so you’re not tired of it yet?
MARCELO: [00:11:57] No. So, it gives me life, you know? Yeah. It’s like air. You know, it’s what gives me life. This new one is quite interesting. I mean, I came here 20 years ago, because I had been working for Procter and Gamble for 15 years or so. And I started — I wanted to be an entrepreneur. And I had started a little business. But it was mad, right? I was traveling around the world with P&G, coming back home on weekends. I literally put in a million air miles in my last seven years with Procter and Gamble.
And I would come home on weekends to work on my thing, right? Then my wife said, “Look, it’s either that or Procter and Gamble, not both. We need to have a life.” And I said, “Well, you know, I don’t think I can go right now for that. I was a scientist and I was in R&D. I want to go and do an MBA. So, we came to London, I came to London Business School for a year to take a year off, think about things, figure out how I wanted to do things, and whatnot.
[00:13:00] And came to London for a year, ended up working for a company called Boots, which is a pharmaceutical chain. It’s Boots Walgreens now. But they had a pharmaceutical company within it. I went to work with him for a little while now in corporate strategy, and I left to start a business. And that was my first business and that would have been 17-18 years ago. And that was great.
One thing led to another, I ended up doing a spinoff from Oxford. I moved to Oxford. Oxford is a great place that ticked all the boxes as a place to raise a family, a place where there’s a lot of innovation, a lot of science, a lot of new technology. And also a very well connected to the world. It is right next to London and Heathrow and whatnot. So, a great place for this type of activity.
[00:13:57] And one thing has led to another. And yeah, so then I was running this company that I founded, Oxford Pharmascience, which is a consumer healthcare company. But, you know, it wasn’t my background. My background was in consumer goods with Procter and Gamble and whatnot. And here I was running clinical trials and all that stuff. So, although I was surrounded with experts, the clinical trial’s manager, the regulatory manager, whatnot, I felt I needed to train myself.
And I was looking online for a course to learn. There was this course titled, Clinical Trials in Drug Development. And it was in Oxford. So, I went to take it. It was a one-week thing with people from all over the world. I was the only lucky one that had just cycled to the venue, right?
[00:14:47] And it was part of a master’s program. So, I took it for credit. I submitted a piece of work, and then I kept taking the other courses and they were related to what I was doing. But one of the lecturers that came to talk about this new science, really, it was just so impressive. So, interesting. Because it was a thing I was working with food supplements, I was working with generic medicines. It was all about the new stuff, you know, gene therapies, cell therapies, you know, all the new things that we hear about, and it just fascinated me.
[00:15:26] So, I met this group of researchers, and started working with them. So, I did my dissertation in their lab. So, actually 2019, I went back to a lab for the first time in decades. It was every weekend working in a lab learning to do these new things. And then, in March last year, just as we’re going into lockdown here, I went fundraising so we [inaudible 00:15:54] virtually through Zoom.
And now we’re spinning the company off and it’s really what I describe as science fiction, biology, right? It’s stuff that you wouldn’t believe in. And that, for me, is fascinating. So, that, for me, is life, it keeps me alive. It’s exactly what I think I want to be doing till I really run out of air. Yeah.
JESSE: [00:16:22] So I’m going to back you up a little bit. So, if you’re working at P&G, and you make the — Well, no you were — I’m trying to remember exactly where you were. Making the jump from no clinical experience to a point where you have the ability to run a clinical setting. But then that class is really only what you — I think you said it was a week long.
You know, and this, as a side note, this is where we booked you on such short notice. I wish I could have got a hold of your book to read before we talked. But how do you get the confidence to make that leap? To say, “Yes I’m going to have no experience, but I’m going to go do this anyway.”
MARCELO: [00:17:16] Yeah, that’s a good question. Madness. No confidence, of course. I mean, yeah, I ended up all of a sudden running clinical trials and I didn’t have a drug development background, really. But I surrounded myself with people that had this background, right? So, my team was very, very qualified. But I always like — I was always like arguing things that sometimes were mad for them, or sometimes not. Actually, when I went through the course, after having run like at least three clinical trials, I realized that I had learned a lot very fast by doing it.
So, the course just kind of like rounded up my knowledge or gave support to my understanding of the whole field. So, I realized, actually, and I did very well, on that Master’s there, I know, quite a bit, and it was all — Procter and Gamble used to talk about learn by doing. It was learn by doing.
[00:18:22] And we learn by doing, but you have to — Now, have tools to complement and accelerate our learning. I mean, it’s amazing. I’m quite an expert in this new thing I’m doing because that’s the field of my dissertation. I possibly have read almost every publication that you want to read in the field so you can accelerate your learning. And I was fortunate also to, I got some training in the lab. So, I developed lab skills in sort of cell therapies, right. But I’m never going to be as good as the other people in the lab. But I know what they’re doing and I know the roadblocks or I know all the problems that we need to solve. So, you know, you’re never going to be a craftsman.
Well, you could if that’s what you want to do, but that’s not where I want to apply myself, no. You know, this is — I’m a chemical engineer by training, actually and a chemist. But this is really like an engineering project now. It’s about how to take this thing that’s — it’s made in the lab. I got [inaudible 00:19:25] industrialized it. I need to come up with the manufacturing protocol to make these cells in [inaudible 00:19:31] environment so that the product, it’s a product but it’s a cellular product. It’s a bunch of cells in a jar are always the same and they do what they’re supposed to.
[00:19:43] So, is it’s exactly what you’re doing when you’re working for Procter and Gamble making boxes of soap. It’s about making a product with quality, repeatedly, reliably. So, that’s in a sense, yeah. It’s connecting the dots with everything you have experienced with. So, yeah. But confidence I think comes from having had, I think a few times in one’s life, the exposure to situations where everything is new and then learning how to manage that and how to deal with it.
You know, that I think comes with experience, right, to be thrown at so many new things that no matter what you throw at me, I’ll tackle it. Part of it is, like knowing well, great, it’s about teams, it’s about getting the right group of people around you and connected. So, it’s having, I think my experience now is really about great, what is the problem here? What are the resources that we need to harness and then making that happen? You know, yeah.
JESSE: [00:20:59] Thinking about confidence, one of the things that I think about because I run a couple of companies, but I think business people in general would deem them lifestyle companies, because it’s just, it’s me, I’ve got my assistant who contacted you, I’ve got my video editor. But really, that’s just it. It’s a very small team.
You know, I think, sometimes I wonder when we think about designing our life, trying to figure out what we want to do, whether it’s a matter of, I simply prefer this way, or if I’m risk averse, and don’t have the confidence to go big. So, I’m curious about your thoughts on raising capital, taking companies public, that whole thing because it’s a world that’s completely foreign to me.
MARCELO: [00:21:57] Yeah. Well, confidence, risk, scalability, all these things kind of play together. But before we go there, I think I should say something. So, when I signed up to my first triathlon, I didn’t really swim. So I said, “Well, I’m going to have to learn to swim.” And that was a challenge. So, I guess I had the confidence to say, great there’s a swim thing, I have to deal with. I’ll just go and deal with it. And so that’s when I started really — and I had for many, many years, I had been a windsurfer. You know, very active water sports, but I wasn’t a swimmer, I never learned to swim really.
I used to spend eight hours on top of a windsurf and never fall because I couldn’t fall, I couldn’t swim. So, anyway, so just trying to say, look confidence is something that you have to sort in your head. And then clearly, great, I got to learn how to swim. So, what do I need to get from A to B? And as an engineer, you say, well, these are the steps and you go through them. Still, swimming is my — Well, it’s not my weak discipline anymore. It’s kind of like, it’s not my strongest, but I’m in the middle of the pack, and it’s enjoyable.
[00:23:17] But anyway, so businesses. Okay, businesses, I write about this in my book. Some people think that success means a huge building with a huge parking lot with a bunch of cars outside and all these employees. That, for me, is very risky. You know, that says a lot of fixed costs and a lot of inventory and whatnot. And when you design things properly, you can have a very global business with none of that. You know, so it’s more about just like when you’re doing Facebook marketing, right?
You know when to scale a campaign or ad and actually, you’re quite risk averse, where you want to see it work before you scale it. Right?. But when it works, then you scale it, right? And it’s the same thing, right? So, when you know the formula works, then you scale it. And if you design it properly, you can scale it without having, you know, because yeah, I do have an aversion to like, be complicate organizations.
[00:24:21] You know, I don’t want to create another Procter and Gamble. But now you can scale. You know, there’s all kinds of global products and services that have very light teams behind them, you know. In biotechnology, for example, you can get an asset, you know, people talk about the asset, the asset being the molecule or the therapy.
And [inaudible 00:24:45] clinic and through to partnership with large pharma which is typically [inaudible 00:24:52] with very small teams. Sometimes one or two people, and everything is a lot of things are contracted out, run through external contractors in my company, for example, we are orchestra directors, right, of external resources.
[00:25:13] And our asset is really the intellectual property and another intellectual type assets. So, dossiers in the industry is all the stuff you need to put together to go and file with the regulator or somewhere for marketing approval. So, if you want to sell a medicine in the US, you need approval from the FDA. Right? And to get approval from the FDA, you got to show up there with a stack this large of all kinds of evidence and decent data. And that is intellectual, it sits on a server, right.
And what we do is generate all that, but mostly using external resources. So, I don’t have a company that runs clinical trials. Now, you can go and contract one. And generally, this whole industry has disaggregated in the past 20 years. 20 years ago, Pfizer would have had everything in house. Then as they restructure, they shed off bits of them that were doing these things, and those things have become you no contractors to the industry.
[00:26] So, I use the same resources that Pfizer will be using, because they’re available all over the world. So, this very small team can take the pharmaceutical asset from the lab all the way to market approval, without having to build all these risky tangible assets and so. So, anyway, [inaudible 00:26:40] I’m trying to say we’re very scalable. And that changes the equation, because what I don’t want to do is end up with a company we’re not doing what I do. Which what I love to and what I’m doing is like doing performance appraisals for 100 people. You know what I mean? So, I think you need to read my book.
JESSE: [00:26:57] Yeah, I know, I was like — [crosstalk] I saw it and I was like, you, ‘cause we booked you very quickly. And anytime we have authors, I actually do read the book, before we have you on. It just happened to work out this time where it did not where I was, “Well, add that to the list. I kind of keep a list of things I need to be reading. Sometimes you get around depends on where I am in my work schedule, will I actually get around to sitting down with that book list. But usually, there comes a time — [crosstalk]
MARCELO: [00:27:29] Yeah, I got to believe you can stay as agile and nimble as you are and scale significantly. And then raising capital, well, raising capital changes things, because the moment you have investors there’s new people in the mix there’s stakeholders. And no matter how detached they are, they’re not — they always come with strings. And they’re never going to be totally detached, right. So, the moment you have shareholders, then you have to have a board, and then you have to have representatives of those shareholders. Either direct representatives or independent representatives, and then your job is slightly different. You just start managing that interface.
[00:28:18] So, I took two companies public, right? And the last one, I did [inaudible 00:28:24] change, and I learned through his new job, which was managing the cities in London, the place where it’s say Wall Street, so you talk about managing the city. So, I spent most of my time meeting fund managers or people that are watching the investment and then managing my board.
And I have little time to execution of the clinical programs, but you know, I had the right people doing that bit. But my job basically changed. And I kind of like it, I was doing, I was running listed public companies for seven years and the moment — Then this one company, we took private again. And the moment that happened, you know, I had become very used to doing this day-in-day out. And the moment that happened, I realized how much time I was spending managing the fact that the company was public.
And all of a sudden, I had this huge weight off my shoulders, right. It was quite heavy on your shoulders, right, running a public company and all that it entails, you know, communications and Investor Relations and board governance and whatnot. Yeah, I was working very lightly. I remember on the day, we went private because I was working non-stop for seven years running the public company.
JESSE: [00:29:54] , Is that — I’m trying to wrap it all together and figure out where this came in. Is that moment, is that the genesis of the book? Because you’re — I mean, you have this moment where you all switched back. And do you think about okay, that — I mean, that’s, is that the starting point? Or how does that come about?
MARCELO: [00:30:18] No, the book came about because — Okay. After all kinds of adventures, good experiences, bad experiences, I had a company that went into administration, but you know, then I had apparent success. You know, people were coming up to me, right, to bounce off ideas to ask for advice they’re trying to raise capital, how do you go about it? You know, some advice.
They had this idea: what do you think about it? I found myself regularly, I find myself now as well, talking to people that — and you never have enough time for everybody. Right? And I found that I was, yeah, I’m always kind of giving the same advice. And there’s method in the madness. I’ve learned stuff. So, I realized that, yeah, I had come up with a formula, and this is what I was passing through.
[00:31:10] So, I decided to put it down on paper or write a book. And so then I would tell people to go read the book, then if you still have questions, come and talk to me. So, it was one of these crazy things, I just said, I’m going to write this book. And I wrote it. And it became a method, it’s a method, really. It’s a method to develop new ventures with lower risk, for fast growth, lower risk and global impact.
And it’s like a five step thing. And it’s particularly not specific only to but, you know, particularly suitable for companies that are based on intellectual property of some sort. Well, my argument is that, the more you can intellectualize the assets, making non-physical making stuff that’s very portable, they can sit in a server, the lighter lower risk is going to be, right?
[00:32:08] So, I created this method, and then Oxford University, that was always having people coming around, and this and that kept inviting me to lectures, or speaking in front of people. And so that book became a workshop. So, it became like an afternoon workshop. And then occasionally, companies call me and I do an hour — think and work like an entrepreneur. Innovate, thinking, working like entrepreneurs work for big companies.
So, done a few of those in Asia, actually. So, yeah, I became part of what I do, which is kind of funny, breaks the routine once in a while. Yeah. In fact, I was — I just did one in Malaysia last week from home via Zoom. Yeah. So, that’s where that book came from.
So, it was a way of clarifying my experience, I guess. Yeah. It was great. I mean, actually, I just put something on LinkedIn where someone will be — send me an email through LinkedIn, saying, “Hey, we met on an airplane 10 years ago, and you really empowered me. That conversation, after that, I went out and, you know, she was in a low point — moment in her life.
She had just closed a business that wasn’t doing well or whatever. And she went out to start a very successful business. And she said, “Hey, I’ve been meaning to write to you all this time. Anyway, here you go and thank you so much for empowering me.” It was great. Yeah.
[00:33:45] So, it’s like, wow, that’s all I wanted — I know that book, I think I’ve sold like a couple thousand copies or something like that. Not too many. But to entrepreneurs that have come to Oxford to do these workshops or courses, they do in a week here. And I know that a few of them have gone to start a business. And for me, yeah, great. It’s like Johnny Appleseed. So, I hope that I have given those people better chances of success in whatever they set out to do. And that way, it’s very rewarding.
JESSE: [00:34:19] Yeah. Yeah. It’s always, regardless of the venue, whether it’s in my case, making like, very small consumer products or in your case, with the book, it’s always very rewarding when somebody is like, in either a large in your case or small in my case scale when somebody says you made a positive impact on my life. Like it’s very rewarding just in its own sense to hear, hey, man, like I did something, you know, I helped somebody. I think that’s what draws me in particular to entrepreneurship. Among other things, but just like, you get to see firsthand that impact that you have on people.
MARCELO: [00:35:07] Yeah. For me, that’s the most important thing. Yeah, that’s really what it’s all about, you know? That’s what it is.
JESSE: [00:35:17] So, thinking about that, I think your company, the – pharma working on the [inaudible 00:35:24] alternatives. Can you tell me about what you guys are working on? And as I understand it, you’re trying to replace opioids or assisting reducing the use of — [crosstalk]
MARCELO: [00:35:38] Yeah. What we did there is a drug delivery platform. So, it’s a way of delivering medicines from the suppliers to you. New medicines can be applied to all medicines. We particularly focused on the incidence or the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. So, I aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, so these are the painkillers right? The old, the oldest, best-known drug in the world is aspirin, right? It was invented, patented by the Germans way back in the 1890s, 18 whatever.
But it’s very, very, it’s a derivative of a natural component, you know. So, from the willow tree, right, so the Egyptians were using the willow tree as an anti-inflammatory or anti [inaudible 00:36:35]. And then it was discovered that there’s this thing in there called salicylic acid. And then people were using in the 1700, salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is extremely harsh, puts a hole in your stomach right away.
[00:36:51] And then the Germans figure out to hang a little thing from the salicylic acid, an acetyl chain. So, acetylsalicylic acid is aspirin. It’s milder but nonetheless is quite harsh in your stomach. So, when you take aspirin, you may end up with a gastric bleed if you take it every day. And then in the 1960s, here in the UK, Boots, the company I worked for, a chemist there was trying to invent a safer form of aspirin basically, or an alternative to it, and he discovered ibuprofen. And then in the US someone wanted an alternative to ibuprofen, they discovered naproxen and whatnot.
[00:37:33] So, those are the second-generation insights for naproxen, diclofenac. They became widely used as a prescription drug and then they were switched to over the counter. Now, you’re buying over the counter, right? You don’t need a prescription for low doses. But they’re still quite harsh in the GI tract. So, if you actually go to the drugstore in the US and buy Advil and you read the label, there’s going to be a black box. It’s a back box statement, which says be very careful, basically, if you’re over 60. And this can give you an ulcer. And sadly, people never read the back of the pack, right. And a few people ended up in the hospital with gastric bleeds.
[00:38:21] So, anyway, this platform, this way of formulating the drug and delivering the drug reduces that risk. It also makes it much milder in the GI tract. So, that’s what that technology is doing. We developed it, we took it to the clinic, we persuaded the regulator here, [inaudible 00:38:44] that, yeah, that our clinical trials showed this effect, endoscopy trials. But the real opportunity commercially, because it takes so much money. And you got to run like what’s called a phase three trial. You’ve heard of the phase three trials for vaccines, large trials to show efficacy and safety on a large population. Well, we said the only way to justify doing all that work is in a big market. So, it has to be the US.
[00:39:14] So, we actually went to the FDA, and sadly the FDA didn’t agree with our trial protocol, and came back with something that was just too risky and too expensive. So, we didn’t go ahead with that program. We stopped that program. I’m still trying to take it over the line, but it’s going to have to be different. I have to think of a smaller, more niche drug, higher-priced where I can justify a different type of trial, and so on. But yeah, the application to those everyday pain medicines, I don’t think it’s going to go to market, at least not with us. Because we just can’t justify the investment in the phase three trial.
[00:39:58] But that’s the type of thing we do, right? So, you’re always looking at unmet needs, unmet clinical needs, and then trying to find solutions which is the essence of the entrepreneurial process, right, is really about design an unmet need? In this case, the patient needs — is there a solution? In this case, it’s technology to make an impact in the GI tract [inaudible 00:40:24].
And then you try to develop that and deliver it to the market. But in the case of pharmaceuticals is quite complex, because there’s regulation, which has to be there. I mean, it’s a market that needs to be regulated. But it’s hard to navigate and it’s very risky. And it’s fascinating, but sometimes you get a lot of work. I have all these white hairs because of my experience with it.
JESSE: [00:40:51] Yeah, yeah. That kind of leads me nicely into so there’s a question I ask everybody for an entire year that kind of transcends everybody’s job or sport discipline. So, this year’s this question I’m asking this year, I think you’re maybe particularly knowledgeable about answering. And the question is, how do you stay motivated that you fail to reach a goal?
MARCELO: [00:41:25] Well, I talked about that. So, success and failure are labels that you assigned to events. And events, just are events, right? It’s you who decides, oh, that was a failure, that was a success. And you think about goals, the one thing I do is I set my goals super high. And if you set them in a way that you can achieve them, they’re not high enough.
So, if you define failure as not meeting your goal, I’m asking you to fail, I want you to fail. Because what I really want you to do is to set goals that are really stretching. And I don’t care , you know, if you don’t get there, but you get here, that success. It may be failure to you, but to people looking from the outside, that’s success.
So, that’s the first thing I did, forget the label. I’m just a total failure. Everything I’ve — People look at what I’ve done, and they go “Oh, very successful.” But it’s the evolving. Failure versus whatever I had in mind, believe me, yeah. So, who cares? And I’m always going for something. And Winston Churchill writes that, “Success is going from failure to failure without ever losing your optimism.” So, that’s it. Yeah. Yeah. So, I am a total failure. I fail everyday. Yeah.
JESSE: [00:43:02] No, that’s good. That’s good. Marcelo, if people want to pick up the book, if they want to see what you’re up to, where can people find you and kind of keep in touch with what’s going on with you?
MARCELO: [00:43:15] Yeah. So, the book website is called Dream, Design, Surf; three sections, dream, design, surf. So, just www.DreamDesignSurf.com, and you can contact me through there. My current company website is Oxford Pharmascience. You can also reach me there. Our supplement range is called Ellactiva. That’s really cool [inaudible 00:43:43]. It’s E-L-L-A-CT-I-V-A. Ellactiva.co.uk.
But yeah, if you go to Dream, Design, Surf, you can find me, you can reach me there. Or LinkedIn, you’ll find me on LinkedIn, Marcelo but only with one L. It’s important to mention that because there is a Marcello Bravo with two Ls And it’s this German guy that thought Marcelo Bravo was a great artistic name, but he’s an ex-stripper. So, don’t look him up. Look for [inaudible 00:44:23] Marcelo Bravo.
JESSE: [inaudible 00:44:26] end up in a adult-themed environment — [crosstalk]
MARCELO: [inaudible 00:44:29] They may get the wrong guy. Yeah, they may get the wrong guy.
JESSE: [00:44:38] That’s good. Marcelo, thanks for hanging out with me today.
MARCELO: [00:44:41] But anyway, good. No, thank you. It’s been great. So, great. I like to hear what you do and what you’re up to. So, let’s stay in touch.
JESSE: [00:44:51] Absolutely.