Oh, the irony!
This whole story by a man named David Whitlock, a 54-year old man who spent every money he had just to get patent filings on a type of bacteria that he hypothesized “would improve skin disorders, hypertension, and other health problems.”
“It was the most important thing I could work on,” Whitlock says. “But I knew I needed patents, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to get anyone interested.”
He even transformed his Dodge Grand Caravan into his house by squeezing his queen-size bed inside. He stored his lab equipment, on the other hand, inside the barn of his good friend, Walter “Hilly” Thompson. Whitlock would later then depend on Thompson to look for investors willing to invest in his crazy ideas, since Whitlock suffers from autism spectrum disorder.
Now Whitlock now lives in an apartment, and his ideas turned into a $100 million fortune, through the form of a startup company AOBiome Therapeutics, Inc.
The company is seeking to become the first to get Food and Drug Administration approval for pharmaceutical-grade topical live bacteria, with six clinical trials under way to treat acne, eczema, rosacea, hay fever, hypertension, and migraines.
AOBiome’s cosmetics branch, Mother Dirt, already counts tens of thousands of customers for its products, including the spray Whitlock developed from his bacterial elixir; they’re sold online, at natural beauty and food retailers, at Whole Foods Market stores in the U.K., and, starting in June, in the U.S. Several of Whitlock’s early investors are so enthusiastic about AOBiome that they’ve adopted his hygiene habits. “I haven’t used soap or shampoo or antiperspirant or deodorant or toothpaste or mouthwash in five or six years,” says entrepreneur and venture capitalist Lenny Barshack.
And now, big companies also want to do the same.
See the full story at Bloomberg.
(Image Credit:Brea Souders for Bloomberg Businessweek)