EP 252 – Vishal Doshi – Founder and CEO of AUM Biosciences – You Can’t Depend on Hope, You Have to Take Action

by | Jan 11, 2023

Asia Tech Podcast recorded an energetic conversation with Vishal Doshi, Founder and CEO of AUM Biosciences. AUM Biosciences is focused on advancing a clinical pipeline of precision oncology therapeutics designed to deploy multi-faceted inhibition strategies to reverse cancer resistance. 

Some topics discussed by Vishal:
  • Why Vishal swapped his lab coat for suits
  • The motivational factors that are used to push a good scientist
  • The bug inside Vishal’s family that was passed down into his DNA 
  • How a regular part-time job contributes to a good entrepreneur 
  • The 3 things needed to succeed in the BioTech industry

Some other titles we considered for this episode:

  1. Finding Things That I Can Do Differently
  2. If You Want to Be the Boss, Learn How to Do the Smallest Job First
  3. It’s All About Relationships, Papers Are Crucial
  4. Trust Is the Biggest Thing That Makes You or Breaks You
  5. Starting Right at the Bottom of the Pyramid
  6. You Can’t Give the Memory Card to the Patient, You Have to Give the Drug
  7. Thought Processes Are Intentional but Actions Are Not

This episode was produced by Stephanie Ng

Read the best-effort transcript below (This technology is still not as good as they say it is…):

Michael Waitze 0:03
Hi, this is Michael Waitze and welcome back to the Asia Tech Podcast. Today we are joined by Vishal Doshi, the Founder and CEO at AUM Biosciences. Vishal, thank you so much for coming on the show. How are you doing today?

Vishal Doshi 0:17
I’m doing good. Michael, thank you for inviting me for this podcast. I’m looking forward to this exciting conversation.

Michael Waitze 0:23
It is my pleasure. I love the name of this company. We asked you know, before we started recording, is it on or is it AUM? It’s so weird, right? Because I come out of the financial services industry. And when I see AUM, I just think assets under management like I can’t get enough money. So we’ll try to change that today. We’re telling a really powerful story about AUM Biosciences. Before we do that. Can we get a little bit of your background for some context? Yeah,

Vishal Doshi 0:47
no, absolutely. I was born in India lived in Mumbai hustling city, as they call it, City of Dreams. I did my pharmacy in India. I got registered as a pharmacist in India, but moved to London after that. To do my medicinal chemistry from Kingston University in London trained myself as a medicinal chemist. My research was in breast cancer in a pathway called aromatase inhibitors, which currently is the standard of care for breast cancer. Just so that you know, and after I did my master’s, I was always intrigued by the concept of taking science and translating that into commercial success. And I could not do that from the lab by itself, right. So I swapped my lab coats with my suits, went on to the other side of the table, learned the tricks of the trade, from from a commercial standpoint, how a drug is actually developed all the way. My first job actually, Michael was a proposal developer believe it turns out there was a proposal developer where I had to write up 200 200 Pages documents summarising how we are going to do the study, and so on. So it literally covered everything right. So that’s a little bit about myself. I’m also a key opinion leader with the South Korean government initiative called kitty. And my forte lately lies in copy development and deal structuring. I’ve been involved in approximately 4 billion US dollars worth of deal making today. That’s a little bit about me.

Michael Waitze 2:18
Can I learn a little bit more about this proposal writing, you have to write 100 200 pages of stuff, it takes a tonne of time a tonne of research? And is the end part of that proposal? Is it for a grant? Is it for funding? Like what is the reason why you’re writing those proposals?

Vishal Doshi 2:31
I worked with a clinical research organisation. And we work with big pharma, we used to work with big pharma companies and biotech companies alive, right? Every client at that point of time was very different. Now I am the client, right? Think about it that way tables have turned right. But what I used to do at that time was look at the drug that is getting developed. Think of what what the protocol looks like, think of what countries are we going to do the trials and think of how we are going to enrol the patients into the study, think of what Kol we are going to involve into this how much is going to cost me to run this study. Think about yearly expenditure, right? So a common thing, themes that you see a lot of these days, what’s your annual burn? What’s your, what’s your monthly burn? Those were the kinds of things that I used to think but that was all summarised in that 100 200 page document. So right from science, strategy, contracts, finances, everything was looped into it and imagine that document preparation of the document was so comprehensive. It just made me learn everything that there was supposed to be when it comes to developing a particular drug. How do you how do you go about it? So

Michael Waitze 3:50
it almost sounds like a business plan? I mean, do you feel like that the stuff you learned by writing those big proposals is not dissimilar from the things that you’re doing now, when you’re going out to raise money or trying to understand how to build a business around not just one drug but a whole company that is involved in bioscience

Vishal Doshi 4:05
you hit the nail on the head, you hit the nail on the head over there. It’s a business proposal. It’s absolutely a business proposal. Let’s think about it. As you rightly said, instead of one drug, and rather than me selling to someone, it’s like I have to sell to myself whether I should be developing this drug or not. Right. So,

Michael Waitze 4:23
yeah, so I have a really interesting perspective on this. My brother’s a neurosurgeon, right? And, you know, obviously, tonnes of what’s the right word, operational related drugs, he’s gonna be used, right. So I’ve seen this kind of from the other side, a lot of the big pharma comes to him, he’s a pretty well respected. He’s the top neurosurgeon in Connecticut, but very well respected in his field, but I haven’t seen it from your side. Right? I’m gonna stay in the lab for a second because I’m super curious about this. Are there tonnes of conversations like what is it like inside the lab when you’re doing all this stuff, writing proposals, building all these new drugs and doing the research is that There are a conversation about, okay, it’s great to be in the lab. But two people talk about how to commercialise it. Or is that like a separate thing completely?

Vishal Doshi 5:09
So when you’re in your research mode, yeah, it’s not a very often thing to talk about commercialising the drug, really the most common thing with and I’m things might have changed. But when I was doing my research, it was more about what does the data look like? Right? You think from a scientist perspective? What are the scientists crave for? The scientists craves for good quality data, good outcomes of Israel, his or her research? Right. But to have expected, every person knows how to translate that science into commercial application would be a very long shot. And and I don’t say this in a bad way, I just say it’s a different skill set. Right. Exactly. It’s an absolutely different skill set. Right. So yeah, I mean, during my times in the lab, there was common questions that we were talking about, what is the data look like? We used to have weekly conversations, we used to have daily conversations in some places as well. But then, then very seldom, there was a question, how do you translate this technology into commercial success? So take an example. Michael, patenting this technology is right. Yep. So patenting takes time, it takes money, it takes resources, and then taking the drug or taking the technology and even patenting it. You might have been in situations where some universities only patent get US patents into some universities only get China patterns. So when you only have regional patents, you can’t get that technology globally, right. So even the smallest things like that make a very big difference. So

Michael Waitze 6:47
what’s the impetus for you to go out to the lab and say, You know what, I can do this, I can do this, I’m actually interested in having a full 360 degree view on what’s happening in biosciences. And I want to take not just the research, because the research is super fascinating, interesting to do. But I want to take it and also commercialise it right? Because it has to take a certain type of personality to be able to do all of that together. Like what were you looking at? What did you see that said, Wait a second, if I do this, I can build a really big business around it.

Vishal Doshi 7:14
If I may, please, I’d like to take you back to my childhood days, right? Because that’s, that’s how my personality was built up. Are you do you have a lot of Indian friends, Michael?

Michael Waitze 7:26
I do now? Yeah, I do. I do. Can I tell you my favourite story about India, this is not me talking. I love telling the story I tell all the time. But just to give it to some perspective for you. Okay, I went to a startup. But don’t don’t lose your train of thought. Yeah, I went to a startup event in Mumbai, this must be like three or four or five years ago now. Right? And one of the guys was there an entrepreneur, and he was giving a speech about this edtech company that he was building. And he said, you just have to understand how important education is in India. This is him talking right? In front of like two 300 people. And he said, you know, education is really important. But what you do afterwards is also super important. And there were only three careers he said that are available for most Indian people. I was like, three, that seems weird. What are they you said you can become an engineer, you can become a doctor. The third one was my favourite. And that was you can become a family disappointment. wanted to tell you a story.

Vishal Doshi 8:21
So just this start in the 1930s and 1940s, right? Like my grandfather moved from Burma to India, this was pre partition. And the funny part was when I was growing up, my grandfather used to tell me this story. And they did tell me that he was actually a registered pharmacist himself. This was in 1930s and 1940s. Right. So they think he I think he was one of the top five registered pharmacist in India, if I’m if I’m not wrong, and there was a bug that was there in the family, right from the beginning, right? Pharmacy, developing drugs, making medicines, helping people. But the second part of the story is there is a group of people or there is actually a language in India called Gujrati. Right? If you actually think two or three people in India that are very good at businesses, one is majority. Second is Cindy. And third is from the south of India. They’re very good at and I don’t want to stereotype them, but they are very, very good at that is very good at food chains. And there’s a group called Shelties in India, right? So good Rotties I’m always ready, by the way. Okay, so the combination of my grandfather being a pharmacist, me being a visuality. When Gujarati is born, the first thing they think is how can I turn something into a business? That’s how they think, right? That was just my DNA right from the very beginning. That was just in my DNA, problem solving, finding Finding issues in the society finding things that I can do differently. But at the same time, I’m a believer. And this is what my father taught me that if you want to be the boss, learn how to do the smallest job first, don’t learn how to do the biggest job, learn how to do the smallest job. Because when you have employees, your employees would need to know from you how to I mean, I just give you an example how to clean the toilets. Yep. Right. If you can know a smallest possible detail, that’s when you succeed in doing the biggest thing as well. So that’s the combination Gujrati and UBB legacy of pharmacy in my jeans in my DNA, I think this was just meant to me, this is this is my calling, Mike, this is my calling.

Michael Waitze 10:47
Do you I love these stories about grandpa. I really do. And I’ll tell you why. I want to hear more. You know, my grandfather left school when he was seven years old, because this is in the teens, I think or maybe the 20s, the early 20s in the United States. And the reason why was because he stuttered. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Cuz they thought he was retarded. So he took a lot of flack for it back then. And my grandfather was demonstrably not retarded and built a really a bunch of really big pistols. It’s actually to be fair, but it’s this idea. And I remember talking to my grandfather, and the only reason why I bring it up is because you’ve mentioned it, these stories that come out of these guys and gals 100 years ago that build stuff from scratch. It’s just amazing to me. All right, no, do you have? Do you have any old stories from your grandfather? Maybe one that you’d like to share that you still talk about today? Do you know what I mean? Because I can tell you one of mine.

Vishal Doshi 11:35
You know, I don’t have a very long story. But something that has really stuck with me forever and ever is how my grandfather used to teach me about dealing with people. Right. One of the things he always told me and this was actually a conversation I was having with him, he had a couple of pharmacies of his own, right. And when you have distributor agreements, you have different contracts in place with various parties. And this was a seven year old me at that time, who asked him a very simple question, why do you have these papers where you have to sign things, right? And then the way he explained it to me was, it’s needed. But once you do it, it’s all about relationships. Papers are crucial. But when you’re dealing with people, you have to trust trust is probably the biggest thing that makes you or breaks you in a business. Yeah, right. And the moment the time comes that you have to see the contract, that’s a very, very bad time. You should not you should not be going back and seeing the contract, right. So I think what what it really taught me at that time was, and then he ended this with one line that people only do business with whom they like, right, so people need people. At the end of the day, you can’t do business with a robot, right? So you people do business with the people and they only work with each other if they like each other. So I think that was there was something that has stuck with me. And honestly, I still keep that very close to my heart. And then I try to implement that. And not that I’m saying I’m becoming a champion in it. But my father clearly mastered that.

Michael Waitze 13:21
Let me tell you mine, this is the thing that I just keep with me every single day, my grandfather said to me, it takes a lifetime to build a reputation and a moment to lose it. And in a way, it’s very similar to what your grandfather said, it’s like the contract could literally say, you know, don’t screw me, basically. And you thought you both sign it. And at the end of the day, you should both die with never having to read that contract, because it was a good two way relationship. And neither one of you ruined your relationship. Right. And it’s kind of the same thing. Yes. Yes. Anyway, so talk to me about how long is on bioscience has been around? When did you found it? So

Vishal Doshi 13:50
I found it all in 2018. And the genesis of all was actually by sitting on the beach, sitting on a bench on the beach. Six for six months straight morning, nine to five in the evening and writing my business plan, Michael, believe it or not, that bench still exists?

Michael Waitze 14:12
And what was the point like so you looked around and you thought, I need to start my own thing. I come from a history of people that start their own things like you said, the first thought you have What did you say? Gujrati that I get that right?

Vishal Doshi 14:24
You use goddess plotline. Yeah.

Michael Waitze 14:26
Right is like how do I turn this into a business? What was the idea? What were you thinking

Vishal Doshi 14:30
when I did my masters? And when I trained myself as a medicinal chemist, I the first thing that came into my mind was do I want to jump into this right now? Right? You know, there is a saying you need to learn how to walk before you can run. That was the first thing that came to my mind. I was thinking, Should I wait until I learn a little bit before I start teaching anybody? Can I learn myself? Right? And that’s one of the reasons why I started right at the bottom of that. terabit right, Michael, I started as the proposal developer intentionally because I wanted to really learn how it’s written. After becoming a proposal developer, I started as a business development person getting customer facing. So that’s where I build that customer facing angle. Love it. After that, I learned how the business is really. And by the way, there’s one thing that my father told me that there is no better school than life. So after I did all my business development components, I actually just started reading and I read, how do you take a idea to a business? Right? Because if I do that, in a corporate world, Michael, it will take me 20 years to do that. 10 to 20 years. Right. And I didn’t have the patience. Yeah. And I didn’t have the patience to do it. So I spent hours and hours and days after days reading books, after books, and just learning from the books, right. So I did that. And there came a time when when I said, you know, I’m not going to be 100% at any given point in my life. But if I’m even 50% of where I want to be, I just want to take the plunge. Right. And this is when in 2017, I felt, you know, let’s let’s just start something, let’s do it with a lot of passion. And that’s how I just started. And the first thing I did was, as I said, I went to the beach, sat on the beach, went for a walk on the beach and said, Okay, what should I do? And it just came to me that what do I know best drug development was something that I learned, I trained for it. And maybe we should start that

Michael Waitze 16:34
now. It almost sounds like a foregone conclusion. Like when you started your I like to ask entrepreneurs sometimes like was your family surprised? They think that you are crazy, right? Because most people leave like, you know, some big MNC and then go start their own company, their family’s like, what are you doing, we didn’t like risk our whole life savings to send you to a great university so that you can then give up all of this stability and go through this insane thing. But for you, it feels like it was really a foregone conclusion. Do you think that your whole life is like this intentional, where you start at the bottom you learn all these things, you know, you’re going to use these skills later, right? It’s like, like you said, you need to run before you can walk. A lot of people are trying to run like right away. Sorry, you need to walk before you can run. A lot of people are trying to run right away. Yeah, they’re just like, nevermind, I don’t need to learn how to walk, I’m going straight for the goal is your whole life this intentional,

Vishal Doshi 17:22
I mean, thought process is intentional, but actions are not. And what I mean by that is things have just happened in my life, where I did not anticipate it to happen. Right? So it’s a classic example classic thing for a life of an entrepreneur, right? You hope things will happen. And but you can’t depend on hope you have to take action. Hope is not a strategy. So i Exactly, exactly. So I felt I felt what I did with my intention was to pave the path, but to drive the car. I couldn’t depend on anybody else. For that, right. So I had to drive the car myself for that. So yes, I mean, I to answer your question. Yeah, there is some level of intention to it. But going back to what I told you earlier, I just wanted to learn the smallest possible things in life so that I can learn from failure. Did you know Michael, I was actually a Subway sandwich maker,

Michael Waitze 18:28
did you? I love I so much love meeting people that have that part of their life. I had a part time job at Baskin Robbins, right? And nobody knows this is. But this is the other thing that I love talking about is that when people meet you today, all it’s like, I call this and I I’ve kind of coined this phrase. It’s like the fallacy of now. Right? So I meet you and I just think, Okay, super well educated, very successful, you know, working in oncology and drugs for you know, to solve some of these problems. I can’t imagine that dude ever making a sandwich at Subway, but actually done that. You know what I mean? It’s so cool. I think at some level. No,

Vishal Doshi 19:06
absolutely. I mean, that was a life lesson that I will never, never regret. There will never never regret. I used to work from nine in the evening. until four in the morning. Yeah. I used to clean the streets. So that you know, in Kingston, after the funny story is just outside my Sunday, there was UK is largest club, or one of the largest clubs called Oceania, and Oceania had all the welcome party goers every Friday, every Saturday, right? So every Friday, you will see some ruckus happening out there. So sandwich making are just one part of it, but cleaning sweets was another part of it. I’ve actually picked up boxes of fireworks to load them onto on to trucks as well. Can you believe that? I mean, these are all lessons, right?

Michael Waitze 20:04
Absolutely. Look, I mean, again, nobody will believe this because and I don’t talk about this a lot, not for any reasons, just that it was a long time ago. But I mean, when I was in college, I for one of my summer jobs was actually being Dennis was so great. I was a janitor. Oh, you were I was a janitor at a chip fab company called towel labs in upstate New York is in Dutchess County, New York. And I was the only guy there who was in college. So that was my nickname they were read by was college boy, right? But a killer experience across the board, right? Because, look, I can’t explain to you what I learned about customer service and dealing with a wide group of people in different life situations and stuff like that, just by working at Baskin Robbins.

Vishal Doshi 20:47
So true. I mean, just think about it, right? When that is your age, when you grasp all these things, and it just stays in your mind. And it never goes away? No, no. I mean, that has taught me that has just taught me so many different things. And this is one of the reasons why I just take so many life lessons from it right when I was working in subway, making sandwiches, and when I was working, wherever I was working, what it has basically taught me is do the small things, the best that you can, so that the bigger things can get even better, right? It’s just a process of making, you know, just the process of making, you don’t want to go directly at the tail and get the payment. But you have to go through the process, right? I know, I know. And I really wish, I really wish that I can instil the same values in my kids, as well. But yeah, it’s

Michael Waitze 21:44
hard. It’s hard. I’ve got a 21 year old daughter, she just started her first job and I love it. I could not be happier. I just couldn’t be happier. Because there’s no way you can teach what that feeling is like, look, most kids grow up thinking. School is so hard. What a pain. Why do I have to do this? I’m never going to use calculus in my life. Like, why do I need to learn? What’s the real life application? And then the first thing that happens is they go get a job. And they’re like, Oh, my God, school is so easy. Can I please go? No.

Vishal Doshi 22:14
So true. So true. So true.

Michael Waitze 22:17
Yeah, god. Okay. So talk to me about just need to build a lot of patience. Yeah. So talk to me about the business landscape that you’re trying to attack. And I’m really curious, first of all, just like what the overall view looks like, but then also the comparison to other markets where this type of stuff takes place globally?

Vishal Doshi 22:34
Yeah. I mean, the underlying underlying issue that still remains in what I call it as the r&d, or the drug development industry, is the fact that there’s two ways I look at it. First, is the patient economics, right? And the second is the investment economics of that. And patient economics is a very concerning one. And what I mean by that is that there is there are so many patients in this world that are suffering from cancer. And just to give you some perspective, there is the 60% of the world’s population. Oswald’s cancer cases, comes from Asia, right? 6066, zero, right. And even when you have a majority of the cancer population in Asia, when the drug actually gets approved, at the time of saying this drug is hereby approved, you can go and sell this to the market. The first few markets that are available, that these drugs are available are in the US and Europe, right. The gap between us in the west and the east of the drug getting available is quite stark, right. It’s just so big, of course, it has improved a little bit. But say five years back, the gap between the drug getting approved in West and the East was around about seven years,

Michael Waitze 24:10
just the approval you’re talking about. So not the access to a pool, the access makes sense. I want to make this point really clearly, right, because like you said it the economics are hard, right? And this idea that, you know, Asia has lagged from a GDP per capita standpoint for you know, generations. Right. But it’s way catching up and going super fast that we’ll get to that in a second. But just the approvals are lagging. I want to understand why that’s the case.

Vishal Doshi 24:36
There are different reasons for it. Right. First is, of course, the regulatory for some regulators want local data, there was a recent case study that happened on that, right. So different regions want local data to get that. The other reason is really is just a focus, right? A lot of the innovation comes from the back that was the story right? A lot of innovation comes from the west and there is no denying that now when The focus is on doing trials locally in the USA, US and Europe. The first go to market strategy for them would be US and Europe, not countries like Singapore and Thailand and Philippines and Malaysia, right? There’s the different ballgame altogether. So that let me regulatory is clearly one part. And second is actually the focus as well. And that’s that’s one part. And then the second challenge is on the investment economics. Now think about it this way to get one drug approved in the market. It takes How do I put it, it’s like a battle, right? So it’s a war or the king to win. There are so many soldiers that that, that sacrifice themselves. Now think about it from that perspective, therefore, one drug to be approved, there are so many drugs that are not making it all the way to the end. Now, to put things into perspective, in oncology, it there is a 7% success rate, going from phase one, all the way to commercialization. On an average, there is a 7% success rate of every 100 drugs, only seven make it to the market. Can

Michael Waitze 26:06
I ask a question about this, though? Because I want to put this statistic into perspective. Sure. What’s the timeframe for that? 7%? And I don’t mean, how long does it take for the drug development to take place? I’m saying is that in the last century in the last 20 years in the last 50 years? Do you really mean and you can approximate because I want to understand that and then maybe follow up with something else as well.

Vishal Doshi 26:27
I think it’s probably over the last 22 decades or so. Okay. Very good. There’s only a certain sample size you can take right? Yep. So yeah, it’s based on a certain sample size.

Michael Waitze 26:40
So let me follow up them. How do you think that technology and compute power and connectivity, right, because before and again, I’m surmising, right, because I don’t do this work, but I’m surmising that even just like 20 or 25 years ago, a lot of the research that got done locally and regionally. Wasn’t easily shareable. And I’m using that in relative terms. But today, information flows around the world, for better or for worse, pretty freely. Right? So do you think that that changes now as more information is available, right, and I get the local data thing? Yeah. Because you know, people in India are different than people in United States, people in Indonesia are different than they are in Singapore. So you want the local data to make sure that drug is specific for what’s happening in that place. But do you think that compute changes, that percentage,

Vishal Doshi 27:29
there’s a lot of conversations going around artificial intelligence in drug discovery and drug development? All right. First things first, I don’t call that as artificial intelligence. Yeah, I think the term should be augmented intelligence. I don’t disagree with you. Yeah. At the end of the day, it’s going to augment your decision making is not going to replace your decision. All right. God. So to answer your question, is technology actually going to help? Yeah, it will definitely, it will help in niche areas such as identifying the right patients, right, it will help in niche areas, such as identifying the right side. So it will make a difference in the different parts of the value chain. But at the end of the day, you can give memory card to a patient, right? You have to give the drug.

Michael Waitze 28:21
So great. Can I I want to make that the title of this episode, you can’t give a memory card. Because it’s such a no but it’s such a great concept. Sorry to interrupt you, but you can feel like the excitement. It’s such a great way to put it into words. Yeah,

Vishal Doshi 28:33
no. So you have to give the drug right. And only once you give the drug, you can figure out whether the drug is actually working or not. You can predict as much as you want. But yes, if you have to give the drug at the end to the end, that’s that’s how I look at technology technology will aid our decision making I don’t believe it will replace the decision making and and if I may just take a step back on to your point about what what is the problem, right, what’s the underlying problem. One is, of course, what I told you about the patient economics, but the investment economics is actually rather concerning. Michael, if you think about it, and as I said to you that there is only 7% success rate for a drug to commercialise put this into perspective, for every drug to commercialise there is close to the this is statistics that is out in the open that costs around about $2.1 billion to make one drug. Okay, imagine taking hundreds and hundreds of drugs and adding that cost to it, but only one out of 10 drugs actually make it to the market. So think from now now reverse engineer this a little bit. Everybody’s happy that it takes $2 billion to make one drug and then you get a treatment out in the open right. But what are the patients paying for the patients are paying for a combination of cost of success? And more importantly, the cost of failure. The cost of failure in oncology, drug development is very high. So, as a patient, do you feel that you should be paying for cost of success and cost of failure? Maybe not? Yeah. But as a pharmaceutical company, there is no alternative to it. Right? They had they are in this to run a business, it’s a profitable business that is that now, that’s where AUM Biosciences that’s where the philosophy of of what we are looking at AUM Biosciences, right, that is looking at a lean machine in what we call it as AUM Biosciences, we are looking at developing a portfolio of oncology drugs, again, not very dissimilar to what a big pharma company does, okay. But we would like to have a approach what we call it as a biomarker driven approach. It’s a precision oncology strategy that is there. Now, because you’re from a financial world, I think you will relate to this. When you have your stock portfolio, by the way, Aum also means assets. And the management assets for us is different drugs in the portfolio. Every drug in the portfolio is assets under management, like it actually, right when you’re looking at your stock portfolio. And if you look at the data, and if your stock portfolio says the data does not look good, you make a decision whether you’re going to long or short, correct. Now, based on that, you will use the same logic in drug development. If I am developing a drug, and end at the mid of phase one, or even at the end of phase one, I come to know that my entire universe is only six drugs, okay, my entire universe is not 2025 drugs, I don’t have a drug discovery engine, my entire universe is six drugs. My stock portfolio has six assets, I look at data for every asset. And I say, well, it looks my drug number one is not working. Would it be right for me to make a decision that No, I will still pump in $50 million to develop this product? Right? The answer is no. No. Correct? Then I will show that drug and say, you know, I will terminate this study immediately. You know, just by making that decision, I would have saved $50 million. Go ahead. Right. Yep. So if you translate that into times, six, that’s $300 million, potentially saved on that. Now, imagine, I don’t have to spend that $300 million in, in failed drugs. But I take that capital and spend that in drugs, which I think is going to work for sure. Right? I say that in our company. There is one thing that I say me and my co founder keep on saying is no drug is a bad drug. Right? Okay. It’s how you use the application of the drug for that matter, right. And that’s how we think about it that if we don’t see any promise in that drug, we don’t want to end up developing that phase two, and phase three, or phase two study would cost you 25 to $30 million of phase three study would cost you around about 50 $200 million. Right? And if I can actually save that much money, phenomenal, I mean, ultimately down the line, it will be a domino effect somewhere. So what is owned by sciences AUM Biosciences is a company that is developing a portfolio of precision oncology therapeutics, focused on a multifaceted strategy to reverse cancer resistance. That’s who we are. That’s my elevator pitch for

Michael Waitze 33:38
you. I got to put you brought up so many really interesting kind of micro topics. So just walk through this with me, right? And I’m going to use me as an example, but make the analogy to what you’re doing. And then tell me where I’m wrong, right? Sure. In the old days, for me to start a media company, I would need billions of dollars, right? I need studios everywhere in the world with very expensive equipment I would need correspondents everywhere in the world, it would just cost billions of dollars. I mean, when and again when ox was purchased by Rupert Murdoch in the 80s or 90s. I can’t remember when people thought he was insane. Why are you starting another media business are trying to consolidate all these assets into a media business in the United States. It’s so expensive, most of them fail, what’s the point? But today, I can start a media business with five or $10,000 because the economic state moved in my favour. And this is why I always ask the tech question, because the Tech has changed so dramatically. That I don’t need like you have no idea where I am. You can’t tell by looking at me now where I am. Sound good. It looks good. All this other kind of well, I never look good, because I have this face. But what are you going to do about it? There are two questions I want to ask now that I’ve set this up. Is this true as well in the pharmaceutical space and in precision oncology space, right where the cost of doing this has dropped, or at least the access to the technology that makes the research and development possible, has become much less expensive than it was 2025 30 years ago, that’s the first thing. But the second thing as well as, and you hinted at this earlier, because everything is global now and not local or regional. Do you have and this is gonna sound really tricky, right? But you have access to capital through what’s the right word? It’s gonna sound so weird, but through like a cryptocurrency thing where people all over the world can get access to the investment possibility into the precision oncology that you’re developing to spread the cost and then the risk out across the board, which means that even in this targeted way, with the six assets under management that you’re talking about, that you can spread the risk to so many other people, but that the upside is so much bigger for everybody, not just for the people that are developing. Does that make sense?

Vishal Doshi 35:50
Yeah. Let me take the first part first. Yeah, technology has definitely helped. As I said, technology has definitely helped us getting to a point where the cost of doing trials has gone down. But it hasn’t gone down significantly. Because at the end of the day, you have to get the right patients you have there are costs associated with it. You can do trials at the site, unfortunately, we don’t call eg there is a term called be centralised trials, there’s a lot of trials in different indications that can be done at home, as well. But in oncology is still the case where the physicians would like to have the patient because these are these are rather ill patients, right? So it’s, it’s a different setting. But technology where it helps a different part of the value chain, right. So you can probably find the sites better things like contract negotiation, small small bits and pieces, right? You don’t have to take 200 pages, print it out, go to the site, and then sign it, you can do it on DocuSign, right, or do it on a trial management system. So there’s been evolution in trial conduct, which has reduced the costs in some places, but I still feel that on an average, and just to give you some numbers, right, if you were to do an oncology trial, and an average, it would cost you around $100,000 per patient, per patient, per patient. So just putting put things into perspective for you. And to your second part about cryptocurrency and the different access to capital. You know, Biotechnology is a very interesting space, and not just oncology, but biotech companies is a very interesting space where it still depends on the traditional form of capital. Right. So venture capital, private equity, okay, retail investments, cryptocurrencies, I don’t believe I’ve come across many companies that claim that they have cryptocurrency on the cap table.

Michael Waitze 37:52
I want to be careful about this, right? Because I don’t want you to think that, look, this is not an FTX question. I want to be clear about that. Right? The idea is, then you can create a community and give people access in a way that’s not traditional in the sense that you don’t have to go public. Now you’ve gone in another direction. I didn’t even think about this in that context. But like, are you doing a spec? We are? Can you talk about that at all? Because I’m super curious about this spec, special purpose acquisition company, right? I’m curious as to why, like, I don’t know anybody else who’s done a spec. I mean, I’ve read about tonnes of them. As you can imagine, I do come out of a finance background. So I’ve read about this. But I haven’t been involved. And I want to understand kind of like the nitty gritty about

Vishal Doshi 38:33
this. Yeah, no, I think I think you’re hinting towards the I mean, you’re hinting towards different sources or access to capital. When it comes to in drug development. drug development is not cheap, for sure. It’s not cheap. And let me just address one point before I go to the spec piece, and that’s on your cryptocurrency piece and the other other components are access to capital, right? The thing with biotechnology industry is that it is a very regulated industry, which is the right thing. It’s a very regulated industry, because at the end of the day, you’re dealing with patients, there are ethical concerns associated with it, and you need to stick to your ethics. That’s that’s the first and the foremost thing that should be always kept in mind when it comes to biotech companies. Right. So talk about Yes, own Biosciences did announce that we entered into a business combination agreement with a group called Mountain crest acquisition compromise. We signed a business combination agreement in October 20 of October, to be very useful, but we made an announcement 20th The 21st of October, and we plan to close that in q1 of next year. And just to give you some results, summary highlights of that this is a spec that has $69 million in trust. company

Michael Waitze 39:57
million dollars $69 million. Yeah, it’s exciting. million 2

Vishal Doshi 40:01
million yes sorry, values the company at a pre money, equity value of 400 million US dollars and we feel that it gives us a pathway towards what I’m trying to achieve within the company. Right. If you look at own biosciences, Mike, we have to face two assets, we have to face two assets we have to preclinical stage assets are some phenomenal strategic partnerships put together in place. With one with Merck one with Roche, we have a revenue generating partnership put together in place with a Chinese company as well. So the fundamentals of the business as such is and I’m a foodie, Michael. So I’m going to explain this to you in a very simplistic term. So if you want a delicious soup, right, if you want a delicious soup, you need to put different ingredients in it to make whatever your favourite soup is, right. But if you want a delicious biotech soup, you need to have three things. One is a good quality team that knows how to choose the right assets. Right is to good choose the right science is one thing. Second, a good quality team does that knows how to do clinical trials and in the most expedited and a cash efficient manner, right is the right way of looking at it. Okay, and ingredient number three is we should know when to cut the cord or when to give the rope. Okay, so business optimization and business exits are also it’s an odd, where you can just drink onto it for too long, but you should know what is the right thing to them when to do it. Right. Right. That’s what I feel we have done over the last four years since the inception of Hobart, we have a good team with covers all these three beautiful ingredients to make a delicious biotechnology soup. Right. So because of the fundamentals because of the team because of the fact that we have a good portfolio, we were hoping that we could expedite our development. And one of the ways of actually doing that would be an IPO or do private rounds or do SPAC whatever it is no denying things that are out in the market right now. So you have to look at different avenues. And we felt that this particular specular presents what we are looking

Michael Waitze 42:24
to get the sense that private investors don’t understand what you’re doing. I mean, if you if the company is valued at 400 million bucks, you’ve got to stuff in clinical trials, you’ve got an agreement with I’m gonna forget Mark, you said and tell me the other one. Roche and Roche, excuse me, this should be it sounds like this is something that a venture capitalist should be clamouring for even a private equity firm should be clamouring for right. You have great partners, you have all this stuff going down the right roads, you have all the background and experience. You’ve built the right team to build this soup you’re talking about? Do they call you as well and just go like, Dude, what are you doing? Do they want to be in? And you’ve just said, No, thank you. Do you know what I mean? Yeah,

Vishal Doshi 43:00
no, I that’s an interesting question. To put into perspective. I don’t think that I don’t think I would say the private investors don’t understand what we’re doing. Because we this thought process of having a portfolio of science and developing it there are there are a lot of people doing it. But at the end of the day is the team. Right? And my team is different versus other team is different for sure. When we started the journey of own biosciences, there was also some challenges associated with geographic as well. Right? So you’re a Singaporean company. And then there are a lot of reasons. So this is one way I put it right? If somebody wants to do something, they will do it no matter why if somebody does not want to do it, they will find hundreds and hundreds of excuses of not doing it. Right? Yeah. So as an entrepreneur, the only thing I can tell you is you keep hustling, you keep trying, you keep knocking at the door, just because somebody does not make them right or wrong, for sure. Maybe just that they don’t understand what you’re selling. Right? Maybe it’s just that they don’t understand your vision. So that’s the way I look at it is you keep knocking at doors and then drive the car and take like right turns left turns, you will hit traffic lights in between for sure. But that doesn’t mean you can go and find a parking parking spot at the end of the day, right the door and journey and destination. So

Michael Waitze 44:29
one of the things you mentioned earlier, I was at a lot of the innovation and even a lot of the financing for this type of stuff. And actually, for a lot of things comes out of the west, right? Whether it’s in Europe or the United States first, but I feel like the world is at an inflection point. I want to get back to the 60% number if the earth’s population has reached 8 billion people, and five and a half billion of them are out of the west, right? Like there was this great map that was going around a few years ago that said there are more people inside this circle than outside the circle and I can put the I can put a picture of this. You’ve seen this though, right? And that ends up being Yeah, between like 60 to 60 5% of the world’s population. So fair enough, but also from a technology standpoint, do you feel like Asia is leapfrogging particularly with all the incredible science being done in China and India, not to mention Singapore and the rest of this whole region, right? That we’re now LeapFrog? I say, we like the way I included myself in Asia, some dude born in California, but are we frogging now?

Vishal Doshi 45:21
I think we are, I think Asia as a continent, I think you are seeing a lot of innovation coming from Asia. It’s actually a great place to be in Asia right now. Right? It’s amazing. Oh, my goodness, it’s a great place to end. That’s one thing that I will still remain hopeful and talk about Singapore, right? It’s a great place just to think about the geography of the region around you. And Singapore is actually a great place for somebody to be and doing what I am doing, for sure, as well. But that’s that’s the thing, Michael, I think this is this is very important for all the listeners to also understand that innovation does not have to be geographically bound. No at all the underlying mechanism of innovation, is, even if the science is developed, somewhere in California, the crux of the matter is that if you set up an entity in Singapore, if you set up an entity in Hong Kong, if you set up an entity in China, the ownership of the technology can be either in the US can be either in Singapore can be either in Hong Kong can be either in China, that’s not what makes a big difference. Innovation can come from anywhere, at the end of the day is the legal structure that you set up, right. So that’s one very important thing. What makes the difference is the people, it’s the brains that is going to take that innovation to the next stage. Right? And I explain in a simplistic analogy, the way I look at it is if you give a untrained animal, a sward in their hands, they will end up killing everybody, right? They don’t know how to use the sword. That’s as simple as that. But if you give the same sward to a trained animal, okay, and you tell that animal to actually tell the animal to actually use that sword, that animal will end up blowing a Candlewick. With that training, yeah, right. But that’s, that’s what I’m trying to get at is the people is you need trained individuals who knows what to do with the staff, as well. Right? So geography does not matter. To me, it’s more about innovation is more or less, if I found it, I want

Michael Waitze 47:44
to make one more point. And I want your opinion on this. And then I’ll let you go. We’ve been at this for almost an hour. I mean, I feel like we could go for three hours or more, right? I took another look at the map. And I’m just looking at where Singapore is. And I’m thinking about this too, right. And I completely agree with your premise that innovation has no sort of geographical boundaries. And this is one of the things to which I alluded earlier when I said that, like, because of the way that information flows around the world, it doesn’t matter where you are, as long as you have access to connectivity, right? As long as you have the internet. Yeah, basically. But Singapore has so many other benefits, as well. Five and a half million people rounded, right, but very well educated, very wealthy. And it’s kind of like a candy place. I mean, tell me, I’m wrong, right. But because of that, so much great stuff can happen there. And yet, it’s small enough that no one’s afraid of it either. Right? So you’d never go around the world and hear the call God, I hate those people. And nobody ever says this, right? Because it’s not big enough to scare people. That’s not the only reason why obviously Singaporeans are great. But you understand the point. Right? So like, if all this were being done in a gigantic country with a gigantic standing army, people might get nervous. But in Singapore, it’s like it’s just a small place over there. This is one of the reasons why I love it. It’s a can do play stuff gets done. They’re well educated, and a killer place to innovate. Sorry, go ahead. Am I wrong with that little thesis, though?

Vishal Doshi 49:04
No, I think you’re correct. You’re correct. Singapore has great benefits. Yeah, especially for the biotech industry. Right. biotech industry depends on intellectual property. Yeah, no matter what you say, right? It depends on intellectual property. The biggest differentiator for Singapore is it’s a very strong place for good quality intellectual property. And I’m not saying Singaporean IP, I’m talking about the protection that you get the legal framework and infrastructure. It’s, it’s fantastic, right? So that’s one I’d say it’s ideal place for biotech. If you really think about it, the other is from from a niche perspective. Good place, good hospitals, great place to do more phase one and phase two work as they call it from bench to bedside. Right? It’s a great place to go from bench to bedside. And the third thing is is access to the Foreign countries within the region to take a five hour flight to India take a five hour flight to China. Take take a one hour flight to Malaysia is so easy. Flight is taking a taxi. I agree. Right? So it has great benefits. It’s great benefits. And that’s one of the reasons why I’m calling this my home. My family’s in Singapore. India is my first home. Singapore is my second home. Yeah, absolutely.

Michael Waitze 50:29
Thank you so much for doing this today. Vishal Doshi, the Founder and the CEO at AUM Biosciences. This has really been incredible. You’ve got to come back. I love having great guests like this where the conversation is not on the surface where you dig deep into stuff, give real opinions and let people really know what’s going on behind not just the founding of the company, but like the day to day running of it as well. Super interesting stuff. I really appreciate your time. Thank you again.

Vishal Doshi 50:52
Thank you, Michael. It was a pleasure. having a nice conversation with you and I would love to come back. I’d love to come back. Thank you. Thank you for calling

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