Ryan Davies Podcast Transcript

Headshot of CEO Ryan Davies

Ryan Davies Podcast Transcript

Ryan Davies joins host Brian Thomas on The Digital Executive Podcast.

Welcome to Coruzant Technologies, Home of the Digital Executive Podcast.

[00:00:12] Brian Thomas: Welcome to the Digital Executive. Today’s guest is Ryan Davies. Ryan Davies has had a successful career as an entrepreneur, business executive, and public servant. Prior to joining CancerVAX, Ryan co-founded several biotech companies and technologies, including a nitric oxide topical wound care product, a medical device company, drug delivery system, and an antibiotic development company.

Ryan served as CEO of Curza. A small molecule therapeutics company focused on developing new antibiotics. Also serving as Senior Vice President at Clark Capital Partners, a private growth equity investment firm. Also, co-founder of a software e commerce company called Found.com, which was acquired. And co-founder of software company O2blue, which was also acquired.

Well, good afternoon, Ryan. Welcome to the show.

[00:01:01] Ryan Davies: Hi. Thank you, Brian. I appreciate you having me.

[00:01:03] Brian Thomas: Absolutely. Thank you for making the time, Ryan. This is so awesome. As I tell my guests from around the world, 40 countries, 700 guests, this is so fun, and I jump out of the bed in the morning just to meet somebody new and sit behind the microphone doing a little storytelling.

So, thank you again, Ryan.

[00:01:20] Ryan Davies: My pleasure. It is fun. It’s always fun meeting and talking to new people. I agree, Brian. So thanks again for having me.

[00:01:26] Brian Thomas: Absolutely. Ryan, we’re going to jump right into your questions here. We want to talk to you about your career investor relations. You’re a partner, a serial entrepreneur, which is really cool. You were a senior executive. Now you’re the CEO of Cancer Vax. Could you share with our audience the

secret to your career growth and what inspires you?

[00:01:45] Ryan Davies: Yeah, great. No, all good questions. And, I have my, it really kind of starts back with my grandfather. My grandfather was an immigrant from the country of Wales.

His father, so, my great grandfather was unfortunately killed in the coal mines of Wales. And when my grandfather was 15 years old, he immigrated to the United States. And he, along with his mother and 2 siblings and they worked and worked and worked. And it was interesting, Brian, because all of the whole family.

Decided that every the mother and the three siblings all had to work and they collected their money, put it into a jar and they said, we can only send 1 person to college. Well, who’s it going to be? It ended up being my grandfather and he ended up with an engineering degree and became an entrepreneur and started, went to college and et cetera and served in World War II and But but he became an ultimately after being an engineer at General Motors became an entrepreneur and started a company that built ship parts for the Navy.

So, my grandfather has a whole bunch of inventions. If you’ve ever been on a boat or a yacht. And flush the toilet, the mechanism that allows that toilet to flush is my grandfather’s invention. He built the the elevator shafts for aircraft carriers that are still used today, et cetera, et cetera.

So, it’s kind of in my DNA, Brian. When I graduated from college, I graduated as a political science major, just as a side note is a completely useless degree. I had a. A lot of fun studying political science because I’m sort of a political junkie. But I went and got my 1st job and about 2 years out of college decided to start a company and that’s where it really began.

It’s in my DNA. I started 2 software companies and sold them and then started a renewable energy company and sold it and then ended up in, in the venture capital space. And as a venture capitalist. We licensed and invested in a little technology out of a university, a well-known university and, and I stepped in as sort of an interim CEO just because I started and run and grown businesses in my past. And what I didn’t understand is that I would sit in that seat for another 7. Plus, years as the CEO of a biotech company. And what I learned was that I absolutely fell in love with the world of science and with the biotech space.

And since serving as CEO for that company, it’s a company called Curza, C U R Z A. we developed new antibiotics and since founding and serving as c e o of that company, I’ve started two med device companies and now the CEO of CancerVAX and so, that’s kind of a, a circuitous way of getting to where I am today.

[00:04:37] Brian Thomas: That’s awesome. And I appreciate the story. Everybody loves a good story. And the fact that it all started back in Wales what, about three generations ago. So, I appreciate you sharing that and what you’ve done date. So, thanks again, Ryan. Ryan, your company is leveraging cutting edge bioengineering and molecular technologies in order to develop a breakthrough universal cancer vaccine.

Can you walk us through your latest developments and what that potentially means?

[00:05:03] Ryan Davies: Yeah, you bet. And one of the things, Brian, that I learned as I started back in my first, the first biotech company that I worked for is You know, we all hear stories of and news stories of, why do drugs cost so much money?

And as I started getting into the biotech space, I started to really understand typically it takes one and a half to 2 billion and 10 to 12 years to make a drug. And 80% of those drugs. Fail so, 20% of them make it to market. And as again, with my entrepreneur hat on looking at the cost of starting a business, I recognized that I can go raise 15, 20Million dollars.

And all that’s going to buy me is a laboratory with a bunch of equipment and some smart people, but I’m starting at zero 20M in. I’m starting at 0 and I throw that number out a little bit, you know, it could be 10M. It could be 30M, so what I discovered is some of the smartest people that I’ve known are those who work for major universities and research institutions and academia.

And, with Cancer Vax, we’re fortunate to be working with UCLA, one of the top cancer research institutes in the world. Now it’s a university that already has enormous amounts of money that’s come in. So, they have all the equipment and all the laboratories, they’ve got brilliant scientists.

And so, the business model, Thank you. That I’ve employed in the past and we’re doing again at CancerVAX is we find really good ideas. We partner with academic and research institutions who are very good at what they do. and then we become essentially the business arm the business development arm and oversee, the science and the research at CancerVAX.

[00:06:49] Brian Thomas: Thank you. I appreciate you sharing. I know there’s a lot that goes into it as far as like you said, just to get set up and you’re still at zero. Those are one of the hardest businesses to get off the ground. You obviously need some great investors or obviously had some success in your previous entrepreneurial companies.

Thank you, Ryan. Ryan, just the next question here. We are a tech podcast platform. We do focus on emerging technologies. I’m a technologist by trade and we don’t put our guests on the spot, but we do like to ask them if they’re maybe leveraging some of this new and emerging tech in their business.

And if you’re not, share something that you are using today that you might consider something cool.

[00:07:30] Ryan Davies: So new technology is absolutely part of what we do. And one of the things that is emerging in the biotech space that actually that we use at CancerVAX and that also makes me quite excited is artificial intelligence.

And so there’s a lot that we know. about drug development. And and we really are fellow travelers, all of us in the biotech community, right? Those of us who have failed, those of us who have succeeded, and we learn from those failures and we learn from those mistakes, but artificial intelligence and other technology really allows us to leverage all of that information to develop new drugs.

And what’s really interesting is one of the things that we’ve been doing at CancerVax is we report on news report on updates of our competitors, other biotech companies who are developing cancer vaccines. And we do that because we think that, and we understand that there’s, well.

First of all, there are lots of different types of cancer, and no one company is going to cure every single type of cancer, and therefore we, when I use the word fellow travelers, all of us are working together, and we really need each other, and we need to leverage each other, and all of our experiences, our collective knowledge and understanding to develop new drugs, and to help, cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and so It’s a big effort.

So back to your question, Brian, we use technology. All the time, every single day, with Carty with CRISPR. with artificial intelligence now informing us how to input certain aspects of chemical compounds that we developed that can be compared against other chemical compounds that have either worked or not worked in the past.

We leverage technology on a daily basis in the biotech space.

[00:09:12] Brian Thomas: Thank you. That’s awesome. And I really do have this affinity for healthcare. I’ve been in healthcare a lot of years on the tech side, so that’s something that has always interest me. And I appreciate you sharing some of the things that you’re doing to really make the world a better place by leveraging the technology to get to a solution or a breakthrough science sooner than later. So again, thank you. Ryan.

Ryan. Last question of the evening. Could you share something from your career experience that would be helpful for those listening this evening, looking to grow their career in either biotech or entrepreneurship?

[00:09:46] Ryan Davies: Yeah, thank you for the question. I think that first of all, let me start with the second part of that question with the biotech one first, because it’s most relevant to me right now. I am not a science guy, even though I graduated with a degree in political science and joke with my scientists that I’m a scientist, too.

Right. But but a different kind of scientist, I don’t have a degree in chemistry or biology, et cetera. But but the biotech space is very important as I take a look at, as I start to get older, as my parents are aging, As I’m losing friends to different health conditions as we just all of us come off of this worldwide COVID pandemic, we see the fragility of life.

I understand that we need new drugs. We need new medicine that can help humanity. And so for me as an entrepreneur, now back to the part A of your question, Brian, as an entrepreneur I love taking an idea and building and growing it. And building something out of that, right?

That’s just really is fun for me. It’s exciting for me. Now, if I can couple building a business around an interesting idea, and I can layer on top of that now, being able to potentially help humanity by developing a new drug that can, cure a specific type of cancer in a different way, or that can, reduce your time in the hospital for a number of reasons.

That’s now I’m actually feeding sort of both sides of what really invigorates me as a businessperson. And really, frankly, as a human being, get to build businesses and I get to do that in a way that can potentially help humanity in the long run. And that’s what excites me entrepreneurship is hard.

So the advice I give is, Keep your head down, fight, fight, fight. It’s really, really hard and to be really candid, Brian I think I have learned far more from my failures than I have learned from my successes and I would say to the audience that’s listening that there’s no shame and failure.

Unless you take that failure and kick it to the side and don’t learn from it, if you can take a failure and learn from it and, dust off your boots and get back into it. That’s how really cool things are made.

[00:11:49] Brian Thomas: Thank you, Ryan. Most appreciated. as I tell every guest on the show.

We’re all unique humans and we all have a great story to share or two and I appreciate some of the gems that you shared this evening around your story. So thank you again.

And it was my pleasure having you on this evening. I look forward to speaking with you real soon.

[00:12:07] Ryan Davies: Okay. Take care.

[00:12:09] Brian Thomas: Bye for now.

Ryan Davies Podcast Transcript. Listen to the audio on the guest’s podcast page.


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