Paul Edalat: Making Patient-Centric Transformation in Pharmaceuticals

Paul Edalat | Chairman of the Board and Founder and CEO | Vivera Pharmaceuticals
Paul Edalat | Chairman of the Board and Founder and CEO | Vivera Pharmaceuticals

Paul Edalat, Chairman of the Board and Founder and CEO of Vivera Pharmaceuticals, brings over 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries. Recognized as a visionary industry disruptor, Edalat is driven by a profound desire to transform the pharmaceutical sector to better serve patients and consumers. In addition, he holds the esteemed position of a member of the Forbes Council, acknowledged for the depth and diversity of his professional background in leadership, management, and growth.

Leading Vivera Pharmaceuticals, an innovative and science-driven pharmaceutical company in Southern California, Paul Edalat is on a mission to challenge the industry to prioritize patients over profit. His career journey in the healthcare industry has been both challenging and deeply personal. The inspiration to establish Vivera stems from a combination of personal experiences and a strong commitment to effect positive change in healthcare.

Having developed a passion for health and wellness from an early age, influenced by his involvement in athletics and fitness, Edalat’s pivotal career moment occurred in 2004, when his brother Peter was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Witnessing the shortcomings within the healthcare system during Peter’s battle with cancer fueled Edalat’s determination to prioritize people’s well-being over profit.

One critical issue observed during this period was the prescribing and administration of medications, particularly opioids, for chemotherapy-related pain. The absence of adequate safety protocols led to Peter developing an addiction to these drugs. This heartbreaking experience underscored the urgent need for a more efficient and safer method of prescribing and dispensing medications, ultimately leading to the founding of Vivera.

Below are the interview highlights that showcase Paul Edalat’s mission to challenge the pharmaceutical industry to prioritize patients over profit.

Tell us more about your company and its mission and vision.

Vivera’s mission is to support the needs of our most underserved communities by finding new and innovative ways to assist patients and medical providers. From the opioid crisis to mental health and beyond, the company strives to fulfill its purpose and promise toward patient-centric research and development that puts the total health of the patient front and center.

What methodologies do you implement that contribute to new growth opportunities?

My approach at Vivera blends visionary thinking, a culture of innovation, and over 30 years of experience in brand and product development in the healthcare sector. I envision a healthcare future focused on patient-centric care, innovative therapies, and advanced drug delivery systems, guiding Vivera’s strategic direction and identifying growth opportunities.

I prioritize fostering a culture of innovation, collaboration, and dedication at Vivera, inspiring our team to pursue our shared vision. This approach encourages creative thinking and the development of groundbreaking products and services in healthcare.

My extensive background in the nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, and medical device sectors is key in capitalizing on growth opportunities, understanding market dynamics, and steering Vivera towards sustainable growth.

In leading Vivera’s domestic and international business development, I collaborate closely with our sales and marketing teams to meet market demands effectively. My long-standing global relationships are invaluable in expanding Vivera’s reach, accessing new markets, and forming strong partnerships and collaborations.

Please share your learning of the business world.

Have a clear vision. With the pace at which technology is advancing and patient needs are evolving, it’s imperative for leaders to anticipate upcoming trends. This foresight allows us to position our organizations at the cutting edge of innovation, ensuring we’re always a step ahead.

Another key lesson is the significance of adaptability. The healthcare sector is in a state of constant flux, be it due to new regulations, the emergence of new diseases, or technological disruptions. As leaders, we must be agile, ready to modify our strategies and approaches at a moment’s notice to best serve our patients and organizations.

Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of leading in the healthcare domain is the myriad of challenges that come our way. From crisis management to deciphering intricate regulations, the hurdles can seem insurmountable. However, I’ve learned that resilience is paramount. It’s essential to remain composed, providing unwavering guidance even in the face of adversity.

What strategies do you implement to promote gender diversity for various leadership positions at your company?

At Vivera, we are deeply committed to promoting gender diversity, especially in leadership positions. Our approach is multi-faceted, focusing on actively recruiting and promoting women into these roles. We understand that a diverse leadership team, inclusive of women, drives innovation and strengthens our organization.

A key part of our strategy is the recognition of women’s achievements. Celebrating successes, like that of our co-founder Olivia Karpinski at the 2021 ‘Inspirational Women Forum and Awards’, not only motivates our current team but also sets a strong example for aspiring female leaders.

We ensure that women at Vivera are represented across various levels of leadership, including executive positions and advisory boards. This broad representation underscores our commitment to inclusivity.

Creating a supportive environment is crucial for us. Our company culture fosters empowerment and collaboration, focusing on a shared vision and meaningful work. This supportive atmosphere helps women in our organization thrive professionally.

We also emphasize the unique skills and perspectives that women bring to the workplace. Recognizing these attributes is essential for creating a dynamic and effective leadership team.

By highlighting the achievements and potential of women, we inspire and empower other women within our company to pursue ambitious goals. Empowering women is not just the right thing to do but is also critical for driving innovation and achieving business success.

What, according to you, could be the next significant change in your sector? How are you preparing for the change?

I’ve observed several significant changes in the biotech industry over the years, many of which were driven by technological advancements.

For example, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have led to significant advancements in drug discovery, data analysis, and predictive modeling. These technologies have accelerated research and development, helping to identify potential drug candidates more quickly and efficiently than traditional methods.

Also, the rise of digital health technologies, such as wearable devices, remote patient monitoring systems, and telemedicine platforms, has expanded the reach and accessibility of healthcare services. This has improved patient outcomes and enabled more proactive, data-driven approaches to care.

Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for your company?

Patients deserve top-quality care, and we are responsible for making that care accessible. My goal is to improve how patients take medications and make them safer. We can improve patient experiences and potentially improve outcomes by focusing on drug delivery.

I have seen firsthand how difficult taking medications can be for patients who are sick and how easy it is to become dependent on addictive prescriptions.

ZICOH is our flagship product. It’s a patented, dose-controlled, smart electronic medication delivery device. Vivera designed it with the goal of addressing the challenges associated with patient adherence.

ZICOH works by dispensing precise medication doses only to the registered patient, leaving little room for misuse or diversion. The timing feature supports adherence by restricting access to off-schedule doses.

ZICOH integrates seamlessly with ZICOH Connect™, a synchronized, cloud-based software system with strong data organization and AI capabilities. Together, they collect and aggregate real-time prescribing data and generate actionable insights to facilitate prescription medication adherence, oversight, and compliance.

Ultimately, the ZICOH medication delivery system aims to provide targeted release of medications and may offer a solution to better control medications known to be highly addictive and highly abused.

What advice would you give to the next generation of women leaders willing to venture into the modern business arena?

Embrace your unique perspective. Women bring distinct and invaluable skills and viewpoints to the business world, which are critical for innovation and progress.

Resilience and adaptability are also crucial in today’s dynamic business environment. Embracing challenges and learning from failures are part of the journey. I would encourage seeking mentorship and building a strong professional network, as these relationships can provide invaluable guidance and support.

Be passionate and visionary about your goals. This passion not only drives success but also inspires those around you.