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Bob Maguire of BioLab Sciences: “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room”

I believe it’s not the startups or the technology that’s disrupting industries, more often than not, it’s the consumers and their changing needs and wants. It then requires a startup founder, innovator, or business executive to identify where there’s a break-down in the customer value chain and do something about it. This is when disruption […]

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I believe it’s not the startups or the technology that’s disrupting industries, more often than not, it’s the consumers and their changing needs and wants. It then requires a startup founder, innovator, or business executive to identify where there’s a break-down in the customer value chain and do something about it. This is when disruption is good. It challenges dominant logic or legacy processes and leads us to a better way of doing something.


As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Bob Maguire the co-founder, president and CEO of BioLab Sciences, an innovative regenerative medicine company focused on developing new ways to regenerate the body to optimal performance. With more than 30 years’ experience in leadership, operations, and sales management, Bob oversees the product strategy and vision for the company. He transitioned to the biotech industry from a career in telecommunications seven years ago after surviving a life-altering moment, in which he realized he wanted to do more to help people and leave a lasting impact.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Before co-founding BioLab Sciences I had a long and successful career in the telecommunications industry. At the age of 50, I decided to return to school to get my executive MBA to sharpen my skills and fill any knowledge gaps I had. It proved very impactful, as it allowed me to see other people at different stages in their careers, and what some of them were achieving or not achieving. It made me reflect internally on what I was doing and how I was using my skills.

On my last day of grad school, I had a life-altering moment — a rollover car accident from which I miraculously walked away without a scratch. The next day I was on a plane to Rochester, New York to start a new position and couldn’t help but wonder, “Am I really doing anything to help improve lives or to help others?”. And the answer — painfully — was no. I was helping businesses become more efficient, but I really wasn’t changing lives.

I wanted to create value for other human beings. So, I made a career shift from software sales to regenerative medicine. Yes, it was a big transition, but we are so fortunate today to have a wealth of information at our fingertips. You truly can learn to do anything new you want.

It’s been a great journey to where I am now. Regenerative medicine has come a long way in five years, and I think it’s going to keep progressing tremendously as we learn more about how the body can help heal itself. This path is enabling me to help people who are suffering from hard-to-heal wounds. We’re helping save people’s limbs. We’re absolutely changing lives and improving the quality of it for countless individuals. For me, this line of work definitely feels much better than saving a company money or helping a company achieve a better business plan.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

BioLab Sciences is just over two years old and in that time we have built a phenomenal team. There’s strong alignment in terms of our approach to the work we do — we’re all personally vested in doing good for other humans. We’ve already introduced several leading-edge alternative therapies including, MyOwn Skin™, Fluid Flow™ and Membrane Wrap™. We were also one of the early distributors of rapid antibody tests for Covid-19.

MyOwn Skin™ is transforming the world of wound healing, providing patients with burns, diabetic ulcers and other chronic skin wounds a way to heal quicker. The innovative solution leverages a very small sample (the size of the tip of a pencil eraser) of a patient’s own skin taken through a non-surgical procedure. From this sample, we produce three 4-inch x 4-inch patches of the patient’s own skin within a week. This eliminates the need to surgically remove large areas of healthy skin from other parts of the patient’s body to produce skin grafts, an operation that often creates a wound more painful than the original wound and increases the potential of infection.

With this treatment, physicians have been able to heal wounds that haven’t been closed for years. We are really improving patients’ quality of life and their course of care.

Our Fluid Flow™ uses amniotic liquid to accelerate soft-tissue repair, replacement and reconstruction. It’s currently being used to successfully address degenerative joint disorders, inflammatory conditions and soft-tissue injuries. The Membrane Wrap is also being used to inhibit inflammation and the formation of scar tissue while regenerating soft tissue.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

In many ways, I felt like I had an advantage venturing into a sector that was relatively foreign to me. I had the benefit of being somewhat naive, which made me less inhibited. As a result, we’ve been pushing boundaries on innovation and trying new things. I’ll never forget what one successful business owner (who had just had a very healthy exit from his company) told me during my MBA program, “If I knew what I was doing from the start, I probably wouldn’t have done it.”

But there was one lesson I learned early on in the medical field and that was how important it is to develop a reimbursement strategy at the onset of the product development. It was during our first conference that I learned this. We were there to promote several of our new regenerative therapies and the first question that physicians would ask us was, “Is there reimbursement for your products?”. This was followed by, “When you get reimbursement give me a call.” So, we had to get versed in that world really quick. That’s been a huge lesson for us. I never imagined I’d become a reimbursement expert. But now I attribute our growth to that and the team that we have put together focused on this.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I’ve always learned best by watching people from afar. People who have succeeded. People who have courageously tried and failed. I take note of how they responded. While we can always learn a lot from others, I’ve learned we also have to trust ourselves.

But there are a few individuals in our history who I’ve always admired and have strived to learn from their leadership lessons. One is Abraham Lincoln. In fact, I keep a copy of “Abraham Lincoln: His Speeches and Writings” on my desk and will randomly open it and read a letter. He’s truly an inspiration. What’s interesting is he thought he was one of the worst presidents, but is actually ranked as one of the top three on a consistent basis.

Another person I’ve long admired is Thomas Edison. When he was working on the lightbulb, he would constantly have failure, but he didn’t see it as failure. He viewed it as one more way that didn’t work and got him one step closer to what would work. One of my favorite quotes comes from Thomas Edison: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

I believe it’s not the startups or the technology that’s disrupting industries, more often than not, it’s the consumers and their changing needs and wants. It then requires a startup founder, innovator, or business executive to identify where there’s a break-down in the customer value chain and do something about it. This is when disruption is good. It challenges dominant logic or legacy processes and leads us to a better way of doing something.

I don’t think disruption is inherently bad. The businesses that are out there just to make a quick buck rather than solve a real problem eventually fall away. Disruptive innovators — the ones who exist to address a real need — keep business leaders on their toes and hopefully looking for ways to better serve their customers. It’s when businesses fall prey to assumptions that no longer apply, that everyone loses.

There are countless examples of disruptors — many of whom have completely changed human behavior.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Again, I often turn to my idols, Thomas Edison and Abraham Lincoln. The quote from Thomas Edison, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up,” keeps me charging through challenging situations. It reminds me to shift my thinking. Not to view “failures” as failures, but one step closer to realizing a success.

The other common idiom I keep front of mind is to surround yourself with great people. “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”

And finally, the advice I received from during my MBA program, “If I knew what I was doing from the start, I probably wouldn’t have done it,” continues to resonate with me. It reminds me that sometimes there is an advantage to being green and not to fear not knowing it all.

Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of any business. Can you share some of the strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?

We work through distributors so our focus is on recruiting well-connected distributors who have long standing relationships with doctors, medical centers, etc., but who also align with our vision. A lot of our efforts have been just around building this top-tier base of distributors. Then we work hard to maintain great relationships with them. We don’t try to compete with them, but instead give them the tools to help them excel and succeed.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

We see BioLab Sciences as a platform to help people achieve optimal performance and health, and create a better quality of life for themselves. So we’re in constant research and development mode to unearth the latest innovations in regenerative therapies. Currently, we’re looking at a new technology in the diagnostics space and also working on introducing some of our cutting-edge therapies to the international market.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

I have two favorite books. One is “Abraham Lincoln: His Speeches and Writings”. He was an amazing leader and example of someone who followed his beliefs even though many didn’t agree with him at the time. Another favorite book is Simon Sinek’s, “Start With Why”. There is a strong “why” behind BioLab Sciences and it guides every decision we make. I believe having a strong vision attracts the right people to us and dictates how they respond to us.

I also follow Mel Robbins, author of the “Five Second Rule.” She’s very upbeat and positive. Not to mention an example of someone who decided to take control and turn her life around rather than become downtrodden by what was going on around her.

Warren Buffett also continues to inspire me. He’s 89 and still adding to his list of thought-provoking quotes.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Les Brown’s, “When life knocks you down, try to land on your back. Because if you can look up, you can get up. Let your reason get you back up.” I’ve carried this with me throughout my life and it has really helped me to keep going. Nothing was ever handed to me. I really had to work hard to carve a new path for myself and there have been a lot of challenges along the way. But that part of Les Brown’s quote, “If you can look up, you can get up,” has always kept me going.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would invent a cancer vaccine and give it to the world like Jonas Salk did with the polio vaccine. I had two parents die from cancer so solving the riddle of cancer is very near and dear to me.

How can our readers follow you online?

On LinkedIn or at biolabsciences.net

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