About Verdant – A Story from the Founder

It all started when someone with ALS asked me: “If you had this disease, what would you be doing?”

In other words: Would being a scientist lead me to different choices, give me better options, or provide an advantage? I had helped ALS patients for several years, but I had never thought about it that way. I would occasionally translate scientist jargon into plain English; explaining what it meant for patients, and how they could put the knowledge to practical use. But I had never considered this new perspective… “What if it were me?”

If it were me, I would use all of the scientific technology and research at my disposal to identify the root cause, identify the safest and most promising potential therapy, and then petition the FDA for an exception. In other words – cutting edge, individualized, precision medicine.

But doing all of that would require more than just the scientific knowledge to propose a treatment. It would also require an intimate understanding of the industries involved, the regulatory landscape, and the unseen factors influencing outcomes. It would require your healthcare provider to be informed of all this and willing to participate. It would require a professional network willing to align with your goals. And the biggest hurdle of all – it would require the ability to … motivate … pharmaceutical companies to participate.

That’s a tall order for a patient, but going head to head with bureaucracies, businesses, and bullshit is just a typical day in the life of a business in the scientific industry. And truly effective advocacy can’t succeed without the willingness to fight the big dogs, and the capacity to back it up. After all, if you’re not getting any resistance, you’re probably not changing anything.

Verdant was founded to solve important problems in society through scientific research and development. In my personal time, I used my skills to do what I could for people who needed help. But what if the two were merged? The more I considered it, the more it made perfect sense.

There are brilliant scientists developing treatments. There are sharp people who can navigate the system. But there aren’t any scientists helping people navigate the system to get the latest treatments! And that’s a problem, because when people feel like the system has done all it can, they get desperate. And desperate people are vulnerable to exploitation. That places people at unnecessary risk, because there is a way to help people access the most advanced research, safely, through legitimate channels.

It seemed like a seamless transition, so I posed the question to the rest of Verdant: What if we transformed my personal crusade into our professional mission? Everyone was on board, and they loved the idea. Many have volunteered their time and professional services because they believe that it’s a great cause. And that’s how a scientific business went rogue to become one of the most innovative private organizations fighting on behalf of the patients. And along the way I discovered – I really prefer working for people instead of businesses.