Visionary leader Paul Edalat is the Chairman, Founder, and CEO of California-based biopharma and MedTech company Vivera. After being affected by deficiencies in the healthcare system, Mr. Edalat is paving the way toward a patient-centric approach.
In this article, we explore Mr. Edalat’s journey, vision, and leadership that earned him recognition as one of Aspioneer’s CEOs to watch in 2023.
Vivera is a science-driven biopharma and medical technology company with global exclusivity to license the patented and patent-pending TABMELT sublingual drug delivery system for pharmaceutical use. The Company holds its own issued patents on ZICOH, a smart, dose-controlled, electronic prescription medication dispensing device, and MDZone, a portable telemedicine station.
From the opioid crisis to mental health and beyond, Vivera’s patient-centric research and innovative product development aim to improve inefficiencies in the healthcare system while putting the total health of the patient first. Without losing focus on its core pharmaceutical and medical device initiatives, the Company supports the needs of local underserved communities and always seeks to find new and innovative ways to assist patients and medical providers.
Sharing some of the challenges to growth, Mr. Edalat claims that, like other businesses, Vivera faces significant challenges as the Company invents, develops, and works to commercialize its products.
“While the healthcare industry is adaptive, there is always resistance to change. We stay on track by focusing on solving problems and communicating the added value that our transformative technologies will assist with,” he shares.
The Inspiration Behind Vivera
Mr. Edalat’s motivation to enter healthcare came after his brother Peter’s Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis in 2004.
“As I stood by Peter during his cancer battle, I observed challenges and limitations within the healthcare system. The shortcomings were obvious regarding patient-centric care and medication prescribing,” he shares.
Peter’s doctor prescribed him high opioid doses to ease his pain from chemotherapy. Yet, no safety protocols were in place to prevent him from exceeding the prescribed dosage. Peter became addicted to his medication and spent his last months of treatment struggling to conquer both cancer and addiction.
Realizing the need for a Company focused on efficient prescription medication delivery inspired Mr. Edalat to create Vivera in 2018.
Alongside Vivera’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Mehdi Hatamian, Ph.D., Mr. Edalat invented and patented ZICOH, a smart drug delivery device for prescription medications.
The device dispenses prescription medications to the registered patient according to the physician’s prescribed order. Instead of allowing access to multiple doses of highly addictive and abused prescription drugs afforded by traditional prescription bottles, ZICOH acts as a controlled dispenser, only allowing a registered patient or caregiver to access the right dose at the right time. The goal is to reduce misuse or diversion opportunities and promote prescription adherence.
ZICOH integrates with ZICOH Connect™, a synchronized, cloud-based software system with robust data organization and AI capabilities. They work together to collect real-time prescribing data and generate actionable insights for prescription medication adherence, oversight, and compliance.
Driven by Technology
Mr. Edalat is committed to utilizing groundbreaking technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and big data analytics to drive effective drug and device discovery, technology, development, manufacturing, and delivery.
“By harnessing these tools, we can identify new healthcare system targets, predict the efficacy and safety of current systems, and streamline discovery toward products and processes that improve quality, safety, and efficiency while reducing costs and improving patient outcomes. For instance, AI and ML can analyze vast amounts of data, revealing patterns and relationships not apparent to human scientists and data analysts. These technologies help pinpoint system challenges and optimize opportunities to make positive systemic changes,” he shares.
ZICOH and ZICOH Connect™, within Vivera’s Medical Technologies division, will collect the first ever, near real-time prescribing and dispensing data, enabling access to better oversight of highly addictive and controlled medications.
Several of Vivera’s upcoming initiatives focus on improving how patients take medications. “Our goal is to make medications easier and safer to take. By concentrating on drug delivery systems like TABMELT and ZICOH, we aim to enhance patient experiences and outcomes,” shares Mr. Edalat.
Vivera’s long-term mission is to commercialize TABMELT and ZICOH. The goal is to revolutionize drug delivery and help patients avoid the harms of addiction while at their most vulnerable. Mr. Edalat envisages that soon, Vivera will enhance collaborations with regulatory bodies and healthcare providers to make TABMELT and ZICOH accessible to patients.
Having seen the challenges patients face when taking medications and how easily addiction can occur, Mr. Edalat believes these drug delivery systems can make a significant difference in lives and overall outcomes.
“Vivera is committed to collaborating with providers and stakeholders to ensure these innovative solutions reach those who need them the most,” shares Mr. Edalat. “We envision a brighter future for our communities, patients, and providers.
"Failure has been a significant part of my journey. I've learned to view mistakes as learning opportunities rather than failures."
Passions & Interests
While Mr. Edalat works hard, he still makes time for his hobbies. Mr. Edalat has been passionate about cars since childhood. As a young adult, he embraced the world of exotic automobiles. Eventually, he entered semi-professional car racing.
“One of my favorite memories from this period was participating in The Players Run 2004, a weeklong road rally from New York to Los Angeles. I was fortunate to drive my 91 Lamborghini Diablo and learn from experienced racers like Roland Linder, a two-time Le Man’s champion,” he recollects.
After the tragic passing of his brother Peter in 2006, he stopped car racing to ensure peace of mind for his mother.
However, he continues to buy and collect them, maintaining a connection to the automotive world.
Lesson in Business
“Failure has been a significant part of my journey. I’ve learned to view mistakes as learning opportunities rather than failures,” says Mr. Edalat.
He feels that feedback is necessary and should be welcomed. “Ignoring feedback causes you to miss improvement opportunities,” he says.
He encourages his team to contribute ideas and provide personal insights. He claims that doing so often results in a positive impact on business.
The ability to delegate is also necessary, according to Mr. Edalat. He takes pride in creating an environment where people feel empowered and valued for their contributions.
Mr. Edalat also strongly focuses on the process rather than the results. “As a leader, it’s essential to cultivate a reliable system that can be replicated in the future,” he says.
He believes that honesty with employees and admitting mistakes leads to trust and respect among team members.