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The Future Is Now:“We are interested in turning back biologic time in all 50 trillion cells that make up our bodies” With Ira Pastor, CEO, Bioquark Inc. and Fotis Georgiadis

We are interested in turning back biologic time in all 50 trillion cells that make up our bodies for the purposes of human regeneration, repair and rejuvenation of critical tissues and organs I had the pleasure of interviewing Ira Pastor, CEO, Bioquark Inc. (www.bioquark.com) a U.S. life sciences company focused on biologic solutions for human regeneration, […]


We are interested in turning back biologic time in all 50 trillion cells that make up our bodies for the purposes of human regeneration, repair and rejuvenation of critical tissues and organs

I had the pleasure of interviewing Ira Pastor, CEO, Bioquark Inc. (www.bioquark.com) a U.S. life sciences company focused on biologic solutions for human regeneration, disease reversion, and age rejuvenation — 30+ years of experience across multiple sectors of the pharmaceutical industry including pharmaceutical commercialization, biotech drug development, managed care, distribution, and retail — Served as vice president, Business Development for drug development company Phytomedics Inc., raising $40 million of private equity, consummating over $50 million of licensing deals, and bringing a lead drug candidate from discovery stage to Phase III development. Prior to that, employed by SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals in sales, marketing, and business strategy positions. He has also served as vice president of Corporate Development for the pharmacy benefit management company Prescription Delivery Systems (acquired by Cigna Health Insurance). He is board member of RegenerAge SAPI de CV (www.regenerage.clinic/en), the Reanima Project (www.reanima.tech), and member of the World Economic Forum’s Human Enhancement Council (https://www.weforum.org/people/ira-pastor).


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

I am a 30+ year pharmaceutical business development generalist that had an issue working in an industry that generated close to $1 trillion annually, but was unable to come up with any true cures for the chronic degenerative diseases responsible for human degeneration, disease, suffering, and death.

Selling the 15th cholesterol lowering drug on the market, or the 20th anti-inflammatory, etc. just was not my thing anymore.

I needed to move on to something that would have a much bigger impact on the world

On the lighter side, I grew up as a major science fiction / comic book fan, and whether it was stories about unique super powers, or traveling in deep space in suspended animation, or time travel, or whatever, I always maintained a childish enthusiasm for the potential that awaits us in the future.

So an interest in creating the future became my focus, and more specifically in an area that I grew up immersed in — human health.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Being a father of three children in a big city (Philadelphia), they always (very happily to me) wanted to get out into nature, and get quite “dirty” in the process.

I think this stimulated a “re-realization” in myself, coming out of a very “sterile” pharmaceutical industry that thinks it has all the answers, that the natural world, its organisms, and it’s 3+ billion years of evolutionary power, still has a lot to teach us in terms of the human condition.

We tend to forget that we currently live on a planet with many other organisms which from a health and wellness perspective are much further advanced than human beings.

Many lower organisms (i.e. amphibians, planarians) can replace lost or damaged organs and tissues that are identical in both structure and function to the original, effortlessly regenerating a wide variety of tissues, including spinal cords, limbs, hearts, eyes, and even large segments of their brains.

In a similar fashion, many of these same species possess fascinating skills for repairing and reversing cellular and genetic damage. Cancer, as an example, is found to be extremely rare in species displaying an efficient regenerative mechanism, even under the action of potent carcinogens. In many cases, when cancer does occur, tumors have been found to spontaneously remodel and integrate into their surroundings as normal, healthy tissue.

Some of these organisms don’t age and exhibit “negligible senescence”. Some can age, and then return to a youthful state later on in life. Some can even die and be re-born.

Needless to say, humans are extremely weak when it comes to accomplishing any of these feats, and unfortunately, the outcomes are very different. In most instances, the structure or function of an organ will not be restored after complex tissue damage in humans, and is often replaced by non-functional scar tissues. Additionally, while humans do possess robust DNA repair mechanisms that protect them from daily external and internal perturbations, these capabilities are diminished substantially over time as we age.

The ability to tap into and mimic these capabilities with novel bio-products, in human beings, will offer potential solutions to a wide range of disorders responsible for human degeneration, suffering, and death.

Can you tell us about the “Bleeding edge” technological breakthroughs that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?

Bioquark, Inc. is an innovative life sciences company, developing proprietary biopharmaceuticals and consumer healthcare products, targeting the regeneration and repair of complex human organs and tissues, as well as the reversal of a range of chronic degenerative diseases responsible for human suffering and death.

The company is focused on merging knowledge from various scientific disciplines, including regenerative biology, evolutionary medicine, and comparative genomics, to develop a set of bio-products capable of directly remodeling diseased, damaged, or aged tissues, to induce efficient and controllable regeneration, repair, and rejuvenation.

The company’s core program focuses on developing a novel class of substances termed combinatorial biologics, which take a unique approach to mimic the dynamics found during natural reversal of disease, degeneration and aging found throughout the biologic kingdom, as opposed to only affecting the genomic outputs (symptoms) of such conditions, as most marketed pharmaceutical products do today.

How do you think this might change the world?

The majority of the aforementioned $7 trillion spent annually on health care globally, is focused on the treatment of patients that have diseases with either an underlying cellular degeneration (i.e. Alzheimer’s, Congestive Heart Failure, Parkinson’s, Type I Diabetes,) or cellular damage (i.e. Auto-Immune Diseases, Cancer, Chronic Inflammation and Pain, Fibrotic Disorders) component to them.

Unfortunately, the current therapeutic tools used to address these needs, including organ transplantation, traditional single target pharmaceutical moieties, and, more recently, stem cell therapies, fall very short of actual cures.

Organ transplantation is limited by a substantial and growing donor gap and the unavoidable host-versus-graft reaction. Traditional pharmaceuticals, while capable of interfering and slowing down degenerative processes, can do little to reverse damage once it has occurred, and typically only target the late-appearing indications of dysfunctional tissue / organ systems, as opposed to the biological factors that cause these abnormalities.

Even the evolving stem cell space is running into many technical and efficacy related challenges which will substantially limit the potential of the market for these replacements as mono-therapies. Many current clinical stem cell programs have unfortunately followed the reductionist mantra of the pharma industry, endeavoring to create stand-alone cell therapies that are akin to trying to assemble a house by providing the bricks, but with no mortar, blueprints, or construction foreman on the job.

The whole system requires new approaches and new thinking to correct the problem, and Bioquark Inc. brings a unique set of solutions to the table.

Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

Not really.

At the end of the day solving issues such as degeneration, suffering, and death, trump most other concerns.

People occasionally question the certain ethical and moral items, especially when it comes to some of the more “dramatic” projects we are involved in, such as the rejuvenation of human brains on the cusp of life and death. Some say that we just want to “play God”

But we don’t see it that way.

If someone wants to criticize us for helping the family whose 3 year old accidently drowned in the pool, or whose 16 year old flew off a motorcycle with no helmet on, who do not accept the statement “Sorry, there is nothing else we can do for them” from a global modern medical establishment that generates $7 trillion annually, then so be it.

It’s not “playing God” — we’re just helping him / her out a bit.

Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?

Most interestingly, the breakthrough that we have based our work on occurred all the way back in 1958, when Dr. John Gurdon, then at the University of Oxford, successfully cloned a frog for the first time, proving that time could be turned back in a cell’s nuclei — in that case from the somatic cell of a Xenopus frog tadpole

He only just received the Nobel Prize for this work in 2012!

How Bioquark Inc. leveraged this discovery, was by making the transition from petri dish based cloning, to live, whole organism regeneration work with biologic materials found active during the cloning process

We were not interested in cloning, and turning back time in one cell

We are interested in turning back biologic time in all 50 trillion cells that make up our bodies for the purposes of human regeneration, repair and rejuvenation of critical tissues and organs

What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?

Getting our first drug indication approved in the U.S., and demonstrating successful endogenous regeneration in a critical, 3d organ structure (kidney, pancreas, liver, heart, etc.) to treat a specific human disease, will be the most important inflection point for us.

From there, there is truly unlimited potential across any and all other disease indications

What have you been doing to publicize this idea? Have you been using any innovative marketing strategies?

Primarily making the traditional PR rounds when called upon — newspapers, magazines, podcast, etc. all for getting the word out

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

That would be my father.

He was a community pharmacist in the Philadelphia area back in the 1940s, and put me to work in his stores pretty much as soon as I was born (1968)

While I would at the time have been much more interested in playing more baseball, or going to watch a few more movies, at the end of the day it instilled a strong work ethic in me, and showed me what it took to build a small business from the ground up.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I try to get in front of classrooms of young children as much as possible to spread interest and joy in the possibilities of the beautiful future before us

Children are the future.

But we need to keep them engaged in these topics, and start them at a young age.

We need to get them off their iPads and smart phones, and have them see, hear, and experience “real” possibilities of the “real” world around them

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. The investor with the deepest pockets isn’t always the best for your business.

Unfortunately, no matter how large, a fund’s bank role can’t be spent entirely on your ambitions. Make sure ahead of time before accepting anyone’s capital that they are willing to support you as a portfolio company for the “long run”.

In the past I’ve had extremely “rich” investors who carried too many “zombie” portfolio companies that made them poor long term partners.

2. When putting together an investor syndicate, make sure personalities mix well.

No matter how great your company / product / service is, if your investor syndicate doesn’t get along, and has different visions of the future, it can stifle or even destroy your potential.

In a past investor syndicate in an ag-biotech company I was involved with, I had pharma, consumer, and agricultural investors in the company. Needless to say these folks had different strategic interests, and different horizons for their preferred “liquidity events”. This made for very ugly board meetings.

3. In biotech, always raise more money than you think you will need.

Needless to say, bio-pharma is a highly regulated space, and no-one ever knows what (or how much more) the FDA (in the case of U.S. registrations) is going to ask of you, even when the finish line is in sight. Always have a bit more cushion than you expect to weather the storm. I have been at the finish line, with new, last minute drug development barriers put in place, more times than I wish to remember.

4. In bio-pharma development, 99.99% of the people you meet will have failed — and don’t always want to see you succeed.

Be wary of these people — they can be overly negative, toxic and bring down your spirits — exorcise them from your professional sphere.

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 hope to inspire more optimism about the future as a whole, and really get people understanding that nothing is off the table, whether that relates to health, energy, agriculture, the environment, etc. — if we are willing to listen to nature and listen to the past.

More specific to my field, I point out how the literature is full of data, both current and historical (yet forgotten), on how nature has provided elegant solutions to many human problems that seem insurmountable today, as well as is suggesting of novel paths for intellectual debate and discovery.

Whether we are talking about the 100,000 people who die daily from age related ailments, or the 50,000 that die from acute traumas, it is well within the intellectual capacity of humans to solve these problems of disease, degeneration, and death.

There is a reason that microbes, and plants, and invertebrates, and amphibians, have survived for many hundreds of millions of years on this planet, and developed their own unique answers to many of the problems that plague humanity.

We can also realize these as a species.

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

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead — his eyes are closed.” — Albert Einstein

It seems that as we age, we grow cynical; stale; we too often lose the childish enthusiasm and wonder of the possibilities of the cosmos; so we turn away.

I will never lose that mind set, until the day I die

I think Einstein felt the same way

Some very well known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

We recently surpassed US$7 trillion in total annual healthcare expenditures around the globe, close to a US$1 trillion of which was spent on pharmaceutical products alone. Additionally, every year we are now spending over US$200 billion on new life science research and development.

Despite these incredible financial dynamics, we are witnessing a rise in the prevalence of almost all chronic degenerative diseases responsible for human suffering and death, as well as an on-going growth and aging of the population.

Which leads us to the inescapable questions: Where has the current approach gone wrong? and where are the cures for the chronic, degenerative diseases, which are routinely promised to humanity, but which always seem another “20 years away”?

We tend to forget about it, but we currently live on a planet with many other organisms which from a health and wellness perspective are much further advanced than human beings.

Whether that is the regenerative capabilities of the amphibians, or the planarian’s ability to turn cancer into normal tissue, or the varied species that do not age and exhibit “negligible senescence”, nature and its evolutionary processes seemed to have already solved many of the problems that send 65 million of us to the grave every year.

Bioquark Inc. is a unique biotech company focused on mimicking the “super powers” of many of these species, in human beings, for the purposes of regeneration, repair, and rejuvenation.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Sure. Visit us at any of the following:

www.bioquark.com

https://www.facebook.com/ira.pastor.7
https://www.facebook.com/Bioquark/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/iraspastor/
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