Hey there, I’m Spiffy and I’m an interplanetary journalist. I’ve been interviewing LGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs for pride month, check out the other stories, they’re all fascinating! Today is my last interview for pride, but I’ll be carrying right on with the interviews here on the Nasdaq blog. But without further ado, meet Dr. Nicholas Pashos!
Spiffy: Hi Nicholas! What challenges are you addressing at BioAesthetics?
Nicholas: At BioAesthetics, we’re focused on transforming lives through advancements in biomaterials. We’re developing products for use in reconstructive surgeries helping patients physically and psychologically by improving quality-of-life. Our first product is NACgraft – an acellular biologic graft for the regeneration of the nipple-areolar complex (NAC) for patients undergoing breast reconstruction, generally following a mastectomy due to breast cancer.
Spiffy: What motivated you to do this?
Nicholas: Before BioAesthetics, I was working on whole lung regeneration to provide an alternative to traditional lung transplants. Then, one night, I watched a documentary, Becoming Chaz, and the topic of nipple loss due to surgery was highlighted. I was intrigued by this. I stayed up all night reading about how many people lose their NACs each year, mostly breast cancer survivors, and how current reconstruction options are unsatisfactory. BioAesthetics was founded to improve quality-of-life through biomedical engineering because it is too often overlooked.
Spiffy: How is BioAesthetics using NACgrafts to make the world more equitable? Are you doing anything else beyond that?
Nicholas: Women make up half of the population in the United States – and yet women’s health is really an underserved market. BioAesthetics is working to provide quality-of-life products like the NACgraft which will help predominantly breast cancer survivors. Beyond NAC reconstruction, BioAesthetics is also developing new safer grafts for pelvic organ prolapse reconstruction to replace the synthetic meshes that have caused severe adverse problems for women.
Spiffy: Have you reached any milestones recently?
Nicholas: BioAesthetics was founded out of my Ph.D. work from Tulane University and it has been exciting to watch the company grow. Most recent milestones achieved have been completing our preclinical study and setting up manufacturing for our first product. These milestones make a large impact on our pathway to market. We expect our first product, NACgraft, to be available by the end of this year.
Spiffy: Have you learned from any failures along the way?
Nicholas: Of course! In the biotech start-up world, you fail a lot, from lab experiments not working out to investors saying no. From these failures, I think the most useful thing that I have learned is to keep the bigger picture in mind and to stay focused. Experiments fail, that’s science; investors pass on deals all of the time, that’s fundraising, but the bigger picture is the mission of the company - transforming lives through the advancement in biomaterials. You can’t let a couple of failures sidetrack you from your mission.
Spiffy: Failure is built into your success! Are there any times you’ve learned from someone unexpectedly?
Nicholas: After a conference, I sat next to two people at the airport terminal. We started talking and I learned that they were both stage IV metastatic breast cancer thrivers. We spent the next 6+ hours together, including dinner, as we also had connecting flights. Lesson: You never know what others are experiencing, life really is short and you can’t let anything get in the way of enjoying it and spending time with people you care about. I admire Stephanie’s and Shelia’s strength and kindness and I am incredibly thankful to have met such amazing people. We still keep in touch with each other.
Spiffy: Stephanie and Shelia sound amazing – great friends with lots to teach the world. Thanks a lot Dr. Pashos!
Nicholas: They really are, thanks for interviewing me today.
Nicholas Pashos, Ph.D. is the Founder and CEO of BioAesthetics. Before founding BioAesthetics, Dr. Pashos attended Drexel University for biomedical engineering. He then worked at the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Neurodegenerative Diseases. He completed his Ph.D. at Tulane University, as a National Science Foundation Fellow, where he spun-out BioAesthetics in 2015. (Nominated by IndieBio)