Striving to be the people our dogs think we are
Grappling with conceptually-challenging new science, working for hours at the bench to complete impossibly-complex experiments designed to illuminate the dark, analyzing pages of data from the laboratory, and then synthesizing all that information into presentations that can be understood by the world; this is our challenge. And while it is one we embrace gladly, it can all be overwhelming if not kept in perspective. Nothing clears the head or brings real perspective more than a relationship with furry friends. Mercaptor takes full advantage of the opportunity to reap the benefits of a symbiotic relationship that began tens-of-thousands of years ago—with our best friends.
We value the team behind the team: Our dogs. They tolerate our quirks in exchange for love, reciprocated 100-fold, occasional treats and long hikes in the hills that rise behind Mercaptor and continue all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Read about our canine companions below:
The Discovery Team
We have a small, dedicated, cross-functional team. We have room to grow the business, but we are not keen to grow the team as we value our autonomy and feel strongly about maintaining scientific integrity. The Mercaptor espirit de corps is rooted in mutual respect and trust that has been cultivated over years of shared effort. Working in relative obscurity from the outside world, we have grown accustomed to drawing strength from within and leaning on each other to make us stronger. Not surprisingly, team members are as committed to each other as they are to the science and the mission. We all wear many hats - proudly.
Mercaptor has been fortunate in the composition of its Board of Directors. Relying initially on two hapless founders, Mercaptor was mercifully introduced by a friend to Jim Kovach and Ralph O'Rear. Possessed of extraordinary and fortuitously-apt skills for an endeavor like Mercaptor, Jim and Ralph had been a near-legendary managerial duo elsewhere in health science research and remained fast friends. The accession of Jim and Ralph to the Board provided encouragement to a team in need of a little validation and added decades of applicable experience to Mercaptor's managerial team.
A tiny company, a remarkable discovery, and a lot to do. Mercaptor presented some interesting problems. And not the kind familiar to scientists. One such problem was in engaging the world and communicating our story; another, related, but more existential problem, was in finding money. We needed help. People to show us a way, without ignoring some founding principles: Avoid reliance on the sclerotic, inefficient approach to drug development common in the modern pharmaceutical industry and, similarly, avoid venture capital and its desire for profits tomorrow.
In short, we weren’t keen on solutions that devalued science in favor of marketing, that made patients and taxpayers foot the bill for the corporate jet. The first step in getting some purchase on these issues and sharing our message, research and ongoing progress with the world, was engaging journalist, social media expert, and friend, Carole Barrow.
The second step was putting together an Executive Advisory Board (EAB). We brought on Yvonne Schaefer, a polymath in the modern sense, positive energy barely contained, comfortable in the world of wealth and fame. Second to join our EAB was Dr. Michael Schwartz, MD, a force of nature and advocate for athletes who, as Chief Ringside Physician for Professional Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in the State of Connecticut as well as at the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casinos, has a unique insider perspective of the concussion crisis in the sport of boxing.