According to Dr. George Syrmalis, Founder and CEO of The iQ Group Global, biotechnology will transform the world as we know it. “Biotechnology is bound to drive the biggest and most significant evolution of the world that we live in,” he says.
Providing a turnkey solution for life sciences companies, spanning corporate advisory and investment banking, through to research, development, commercialisation and pharmaceutical sales, the Group facilitates an end to end solution along the drug development lifecycle, committed to creating the medicines of tomorrow.
The Group enables its corporate clients to merge their intellectual property with the iQ companies’ capital resources and scientific expertise, resulting in the creation of innovative therapeutics and diagnostics. It is through this partnership that they contribute to the growth of the global biopharmaceutical industry with the goal of helping people live better and longer lives.
Capitalising science that transforms lives
The Group has been ambitious — working to position themselves as the strategic partner to the biotech industry.
Comprised of several companies which work collaboratively internally and with its clients, they create efficiencies and maximise economies of scale during the entire drug development process and beyond. “Our companies act as tools that we can deploy from the outset of the research and development cycle,” says George. “For example, one of our companies will provide clinical research services, while another Group company will provide the necessary venture capital to pay for the research.
“So in parallel to the full suite of research and development services, we also provide investment banking and commercialisation services that span the entire life cycle of the product or compound. Depending on the clients’ needs, this can include investing our managed funds, deploying our medical affairs teams, engaging our pharmaceutical contract sales entity and engaging our corporate advisory team from our investment bank in New York.”
“We can create entire brands and even sell them for our clients – or sell the client’s intellectual property portfolio to one of the big global pharmaceutical companies.”
Why have they chosen biotech? George likens it to a gold rush; in any gold rush, you’d obviously want to invest in the companies that make and sell the picks and shovels. “The advent of molecular medicine is the biggest investment theme of this lifetime,” he says. “Fifteen years ago it would cost billions and took more than a decade to sequence a genome, it can now be done in a matter of days for around a thousand dollars”.
“Biotech has the potential to be the most exponential technology ever known to the human race, the sum of human experience and research continues to build upon itself, aided by increasing globalisation and information sharing. When one combines this with advances in computer processing power and other technologies enabling safer and faster drug testing, the result is an acceleration of innovations and efficiencies that underpin the current biotech boom. With seven billion humans on the planet, the life sciences industry is assured to sustain growth of demand in both diagnostics and therapeutics. Our diagnostic platforms have evolved and we have a rapidly growing middle class that can proactively engage personalised screening/diagnostic services and therapeutics.”
“From a business perspective, the worlds of drugs and diagnostics are parallel universes: they have different development timelines, development costs, product lifecycles, return on investment, customers, and regulations. From the patient perspective though, they go hand in hand and combined, will continue to grow the biotech and healthcare sectors into the next boom.”
Our combination of science and capital is key to the creation of medicines that will transform lives.
Challenging current thinking about cancer and diabetes
Two recent additions to the Group’s assets and intellectual property portfolio that are currently under development — a cancer compound and a glucose biosensor — are set to shake up the current school of thought in oncology and glucose monitoring.
Working with Newcastle University, The iQ Group Global is developing an exciting novel biosensor that can measure glucose levels in a salivary sample and produce the reading on a smart device (e.g. phone). An ability to store readings in the cloud will mean that the data can be accessed from anywhere and reminders or readings can also be sent to patients and/or carers by SMS. Most importantly, it has the potential to eliminate the need for finger prick blood testing.
With the prevalence of diabetes constantly rising, and over 400 million diabetics worldwide, George is enthusiastic about the possibilities for improving the day to day lives of these people and the potential to expand the technology to help countless others.
“This kind of innovation is really valuable. Practical and tangible, translating research into a patient tool and making a daily difference to millions of people’s lives. Glucose is just the first parameter that we intend to commercialise. We will continue researching approaches in which macromolecular proteins and other analytes can also be detected in real-time, with high specificity and sensitivity.”
“There is significant potential for the integration of these biosensors into clinical practice. Furthermore, there are significant opportunities to develop new methods for non-invasive analysis of body fluids for which there are currently very few acceptable approaches available, if any.”
“With the use of biosensors, a healthcare practitioner, whether a physician, pharmacist or community nurse, could have the ability to perform most of the tests and access the results in real time right there while you wait.”
Leadership that enables change
Inspiring work requires inspired people and George strives to bring the best out of his people. The Group fosters a high performance culture by recruiting and retaining highly skilled and passionate individuals.
In science fiction everything is big and bold until you make it science fact. There is no dream too big.
“First of all, in order to be here, you have to be courageous” he says. “As the leader of the iQ enterprise, I am responsible for establishing the tone and the values of the company and personally communicating that with all relevant stakeholders. I ask questions like: “What are our strengths? What are our capabilities? What risks should we take?’ Based on the answers I receive, I create a vision which is aspirational, ambitious and tangible.”
With the ultimate vision of creating a company that is the trusted strategic partner to the global biotechnology industry, George says the Group is constantly looking for new ways to value add to the industry through collaboration with financial market participants, governments, research institutes and the broader biopharmaceutical community.
“It’s important to remember though that with all innovations, the challenges are multiple – typically, most will require a mindset change,” he says. “Innovation is neither systematic nor is it predictable. Leading innovation requires incredible patience and incredible impatience. It requires optimism and it requires absolute brutal realism.”
“One has to be able to see things, from a future perspective – as they should or could be, then paint a picture so vivid that you will want to go out there and make those things happen.”
“In science fiction everything is big and bold until you make it science fact. There is no dream too big.”
The iQ Group Global key facts
- Company name: The iQ Group Global
- CEO: Dr. George Syrmalis
- Headquarters: Sydney, Australia
- Number of employees: >100
- Industry: Financial Services & Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology