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“Raise the bar.” With Douglas Schmid of Predictive Biotech

I have been doing a lot more research and development recently, and one of the things I have noticed is how important it is to listen to the team members around you. Steve Jobs once said, ”It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so […]

I have been doing a lot more research and development recently, and one of the things I have noticed is how important it is to listen to the team members around you. Steve Jobs once said, ”It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do .” I completely agree with him. I allow my technician to be free and think about things the way she wants to and see problems in her own way, and because of that, we’ve made huge advancements. In the last two months alone, we have made huge progress in research and development because I have allowed her the freedom to approach our projects as she sees fit. Ultimately, my advice is to empower people and allowing team members to influence how we do things, and to work on things in their own way, will allow you to thrive.


I had the pleasure to interview Douglas Schmid, Ph.D.. Douglas is Chief Scientific Officer of Predictive Biotech, where he oversees laboratory operations, manages the production of human cells, tissues, and cellular and tissue-based products (HCT/Ps), in addition to inventory tracking and distribution, ensuring that all products meet FDA regulations. Douglas has over two decades of experience in biotechnology and has contributed to more than 20 scientific manuscripts and presentations.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Myjourney to this career started when I was in graduate school. The laboratory that I was working in was studying cells from umbilical cord blood, and the first project was to see if the cells could be transformed and function as a different type of cell. That project really sparked something in me and I wanted to see where we could take this technology of transforming cells for other uses in the human body.

I strived to do anything and everything that had to do with tissue allografts and birth tissues. I wanted to see how far we could push this technology and how much we could improve the human experience and quality of life. That’s how I ended up working at Predictive Biotech, a leader in regenerative medicine with products derived from tissue sources that are rich in properties that support the body’s natural ability to heal itself, developing these products in the hope that they can improve people’s lives in some way.

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?

The funniest, or perhaps worst, mistake I made was with the allografts themselves. We make and store each of the allografts in liquid nitrogen to ensure the freshness and quality of the product. However, it is very difficult to work with them in that condition, because they are so cold. We get around that problem by taking the racks of product out of the liquid nitrogen tank and resting them on the lip of the tank. As long as we ensure we do this quickly, the allografts keep their temperature and maintain their freshness. But one time, at the end of the day, I took out a rack with the samples I needed and I forgot to put them back in the tank. I lost about four boxes full of products that were extremely important to company production. That mistake taught me that you have to be extremely vigilant, even with the smallest details, so that mistakes don’t become catastrophic.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I would say the biggest thing that makes our company stand out is the concerted effort we have put into our quality department over the past two years. We do everything possible to have the safest products out there. Having a quality department as thorough as we do has made an incredible difference in the laboratory, and in the products themselves.

Unfortunately, in this field, there is a lot of room for error. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner has talked about a few bad actors in the field of regenerative medicine which can impact how people view of the industry as a whole. The strength of our quality department sets us apart from other companies in the space.

In fact, we recently passed our International Organization for Standardization (ISO)-13485 audit, which means that we successfully established and implemented a world-class approach to the design, development, manufacturing, distribution and servicing of our products. That certification alone should give you an idea of the steps we have taken to elevate our laboratory to provide the highest quality product and safety levels that no one else has. The inspector during our audit told us over and over again that he couldn’t believe a company as young as ours was as prepared as we were. We ended up passing with flying colors, zero observations and zero non-conformances. So, I really believe that our dedication to quality and safety sets us apart as a company.

What advice would you give to other healthcare leaders to help their team to thrive?

I have been doing a lot more research and development recently, and one of the things I have noticed is how important it is to listen to the team members around you. Steve Jobs once said, ”It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do .” I completely agree with him. I allow my technician to be free and think about things the way she wants to and see problems in her own way, and because of that, we’ve made huge advancements. In the last two months alone, we have made huge progress in research and development because I have allowed her the freedom to approach our projects as she sees fit. Ultimately, my advice is to empower people and allowing team members to influence how we do things, and to work on things in their own way, will allow you to thrive.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s jump to the main focus of our interview. According to this study cited by Newsweek, the US healthcare system is ranked as the worst among high income nations. This seems shocking. Can you share with us 3–5 reasons why you think the US is ranked so poorly?

As a scientist, I have a different perspective than other healthcare providers and physicians. In my opinion, one of the biggest problems is that our system is set up so that we have pharmaceutical and surgical intervention. Historically in healthcare, we have only been taught to look to either drugs or surgery as a solution to medical problems. We tend to skip over everything in between.

That’s how we see regenerative medicine in the healthcare continuum, we believe it has a place between drugs and surgery. Currently, there is a lack of consideration for that space. I think that looking at how this space is seen is one thing we have to address as a system. We have to get away from some of the bad actors in the industry and build confidence in the regenerative medicine arena. We also need to look at legislative means to propel our ideas forward.

You are a “healthcare insider”. If you had the power to make a change, can you share 5 changes that need to be made to improve the overall US healthcare system? Please share a story or example for each.

I would absolutely focus on regenerative medicine because I believe it is a strong example of the change needed in the U.S. healthcare system.

We need more education among healthcare professionals.

I would allocate more efforts to increase education surrounding regenerative medicine for physicians and other healthcare professionals. Currently pharmaceutical and surgical interventions are widely talked about and accepted for patients, so regenerative medicine is out of sight and out of mind. Many professionals don’t have easy access to where they would begin to explore the treatment, let alone criteria to properly vet their options.

We need to empower patients.

I would make information about regenerative medicine easily accessible and digestible for the patient population. We live in the patient advocacy era, but patients are unable to advocate for a treatment option they have limited knowledge about or understand.

We need to debunk medical myths.

Regenerative medicine is the poster child for how false information that is not addressed quickly or prominently can delay progress. Many of the myths that are popular among the general public are due to the unfortunate presence of bad actors in the space or lack of awareness around what regenerative medicine actually is.

We need to cut costs.

I believe that utilizing regenerative medicine as an intermediary between pharmaceutical and surgical intervention could cut down healthcare costs in the long run. Because the technology is new at this time, it comes with a heavier price tag, but with wider adoption I believe we could create a more cost-effective option for families.

We need to raise the bar.

Because we go above the current standards when it comes to safety and quality at Predictive Biotech, I have recalibrated what it means to have “high standards.” I believe that stricter requirements would make it more difficult for bad actors to get through and subpar products to get to market.

Ok, it’s very nice to suggest changes, but what concrete steps would have to be done to actually manifest these changes? What can a) individuals, b) corporations, c) communities and d) leaders do to help?

One of the first steps has to be to get in touch with legislators. We need to let them know this is something that patients want, and we need to help make it accessible to everyone. To manifest these changes it is essential that we approach each step with safety as our cornerstone and under FDA oversight. But again, the first step is to get the word out and talk with legislators at all levels: federal, state and local, to get the ball rolling in this direction.

How would you define an “excellent healthcare provider”?

I look at an excellent healthcare provider as someone who genuinely cares, wants the best for their patients and will do whatever they possibly can for them. They can’t be transactional or as if they are reading from a script. An excellent healthcare provider isn’t someone who just wants you in and out, but genuinely shows concern for your wellbeing.

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

My favorite life lesson quote is the same Steve Jobs quote from my previous response about how great things are accomplished when you empower your team. In addition to living this out in the lab, I coached soccer for 20 years where I applied it as well. It’s truly what I embody in everything that I touch, even with my children. Empowerment is key in every relationship.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I have several projects I’m working on with my team, and while I can’t say much about them due to our process and patents, I’m excited to be constantly working to improve and deliver a more consistent product. It’s exciting to be part of this team and everything we’re doing to better the quality of life for those around us.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better healthcare leader? Can you explain why you like them?

I am not much of a podcast listener, but some of the most influential books I have read recently have been by Neil Riordan. He talks about working with specific cells that have self-renewal and regenerative abilities, and are free of ethical concerns, to be used to improve people’s health.

His books really inspire me as I look at the future of Predictive Biotech. Because the human cell and tissue space is under scrutiny, and the FDA wants to tighten things up this upcoming November, these books help me think about how to keep things moving as a company by going down the FDA-approved drug pathway. They’ve made a huge difference in how we view the future of Predictive.

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. 🙂

A movement I would like to inspire, and it comes back to regenerative medicine again, is to have an affordable, readily available option for patients that is basically off the shelf. That’s where I would like to see this work go. I want people to get excited about regenerative medicine and to see that this treatment can improve their quality of life and offer an intermediate option before surgical intervention.

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