I don’t know where it comes from, possibly from having grown up outdoors, or in the midst of 1980s junk food, but for as long as I can remember, I’ve been reading food labels. At home, we rarely used over-the-counter (OTC) cold products because the ingredients were confusing. It is surprising that little has changed in the OTC cold and flu category since the 1980s.
I didn’t originally set out to develop an OTC cold product. As with many great things, it happened by accident. After college, I followed my passion and became a scientist. I was captivated by the work of a charismatic professor, Dr. David Colman, who stressed that studying scientific problems at the cellular level was the way to solve them. He made numerous discoveries throughout his career pertaining to multiple sclerosis and cancer by studying how cells attach to one another.
For my thesis, which I completed at McGill University in Montreal, I also worked with another great professor, Dr. Edward Ruthazer. I studied a group of molecules that bring neurons together in brain development. It just so happens that some of these molecules are found in the respiratory system (nose, mouth, and lungs) and that they are the receptors that viruses use to initiate an infection.
Fast forward several years, after gaining some investment experience in biotechnology, I was surprised to learn no one was using this scientific knowledge to treat respiratory infections. Taking a big leap, my husband and I created Applied Bio to do just that. In the course of researching anti-viral treatments (our original focus), we discovered that the OTC market has not changed since the 1970s and none of the products on the market focus on the respiratory epithelium either.
After much trial and error and countless hours in our laboratory in Brooklyn using human respiratory organoids, our first product, Biovanta was born. It’s the only OTC product that is both made from 100% natural ingredients and that works to heal the inflammation in the respiratory lining that is the root cause of cold-like symptoms. We are proud of our accomplishments and look forward to bringing many other products to market soon through our pipeline.
Nazlie Latefi, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer and Co-founder
Applied Biological Laboratories