For Alina Su, inventing a needleless medication delivery device and starting NovaXS Biotech Corp. was personal.
“My grandmother is a diabetic,” Su said. “She showed me her belly, where there were bruises and hard knots under the skin from injections… And she told me she was starting to not be able to remember whether she had taken her medication or not.”
Su had become interested in medicine early in her life, interning at a hospital at age 15. She quickly became interested in the research side, studying stem cells and exploring all things bio tech. That led to study at the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering.
In 2020, Su started NovaXS along with co-founder Jonathan Xing. The company developed an integrated medication delivery system including an injector (called Telosis) that uses high pressure instead of a needle to deliver the medication, an external charging station capable of extremely accurate dosing, a smart management app that tracks injections and provides reminders to the patient. The system also offers treatment reports to patients and doctors.
Taking an entrepreneurial approach to solving a problem comes naturally to Su. She said her grandfather and father before her were entrepreneurs – “I’m a serial entrepreneur,” she laughed.
The NovaXS system reaches beyond diabetes control to cover any treatment that requires frequent injections. It will provide a great option for those going through fertility treatments, for example. The in-vitro fertilization process requires women to receive 148 total injections mixed with four different kinds of medications and seven distinctive treatment schedules over four months. Telosis (patent pending) could turn a painful nightmare into a manageable process.
Su is currently a PhD candidate at the Harvard School of Medicine. That’s where she met Professor Irina Conboy, inventor of the Reverse Aging Plasma Exchange.
Together, they founded Generation Lab, which is working on ways to deliver anti-aging techniques and provide a non-invasive testing process to provide critical insights into people’s health and aging status. Generation Lab is working to develop a proprietary database, diagnostic tools and more.
The approach has attracted high-level interest – Generation Lab recently completed a $1.8 million pre-seed funding round in one month, and Su is moving back to San Francisco to join the next batch at the prestigious Y Combinator accelerator with Generation Lab.
“I love health care,” Su said. “It’s very important to humanity. I think I realized that when I was 7.
“My grandpa passed in his mid-50s; he was dead before I was born. It made me realize if you’re not here, you can’t do anything.”
NovaXS is a portfolio company in one of the funds Sunstone Management sponsors. And Su is friends with John Shen, founder of Sunstone and the author of the book “Crossing The Swamp.” The book talks about being a parallel entrepreneur – operating more than one company at the same time.
“I’m close to John,” Su said. “He just recently gave me his book. It was the first time I heard the phrase parallel entrepreneur, the first time I had a phrase to describe what I am doing. That was great.”
Su said her dream was to focus on anti-aging and age reversal science. But until then, the quest for a doctoral degree and acting as CEO of two health-tech startups will keep her busy.
“I’ve discovered that you need to have resilience,” Su said. “There are ups and downs coming. You have to be able to get through the downs.”
Note: We refer to early-stage technology entrepreneurs as Founders. The information provided here is to inform about the types of small business start-ups that have been selected for participation in certain programs in which Sunstone participates. The information provided here is aspirational and there is no assurance of success. Early-stage investing comes with an inherently high degree of risk, including the loss of some or all of an investment. The information provided is neither an offer to sell or an inducement to offer to buy interests in any Sunstone sponsored fund that may have invested in the Founder.
About Sunstone Management
Sunstone Management is a diversified private capital management firm with headquarters in Southern California that provides a range of early-stage venture capital, real estate, and fixed income funds to qualified and accredited investors. The firm delivers new and exciting options for economic growth through innovative public-private partnerships, making use of its unique experience across government, education, and private sectors. Identified by Financial Times as one of America’s Fastest Growing Companies three years in a row. In the second quarter of 2023, PitchBook ranked Sunstone the seventh most active early-stage venture capital firm in the country, and 18th overall.
© Sunstone Management, Inc., 2023
Connect with Sunstone Management at: