An interview with Andulkader Rahmo, CEO of SMS Biotech

As a premier life sciences incubator and consultancy, IntuitiveX is always in search of founders and entrepreneurs who push the boundaries of what is possible within medical research and technology. In this interview, IntuitiveX shares the story of a life science entrepreneur who — in response to COVID-19 — is pivoting his company to provide a cell therapeutic approach that regenerates the human lung tissue of people affected by COVID-19.

Introducing Andulkader Rahmo

Andulkader Rahmo is the current CEO of SMSbiotech, which is developing a technology platform that seeks to revolutionize how the life sciences industry explores, examines, assesses and manipulates cells, drugs and toxins by providing a novel, patented approach to manufacture Extracellular Matrix (ECM), based on the unique properties of stem cells.
Mr. Rahmo has a bachelor in biochemistry from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Southern California. As an associate professor, he has Over 30 years of experience in research and applications, of which 8 years have been dedicated to his current research. Co-founded several entities, including the National Commission for Biotechnology.
He is sole author of several scientific books and coauthor of many scientific articles.
1. What did your company do prior to COVID-19? 
Prior to COVID-19, SMSbiotech manufactured extracellular matrices derived using unique adult stem cells (Small Mobile Stem Cells) and was developing patented proprietary technology for the goal of wound healing in non-healing wounds such as diabetic ulcers.
2. What does your company do now in response to COVID-19? 
Currently, SMSbiotech is using manufactured stem cells to establish a cell therapeutic approach that regenerates human lung tissue of people affected by COVID-19. This includes testing the effect of these cells on other adult cells relevant to regeneration and assessing safety and efficacy pre-clinically and clinically by applying them to human patients.
6. What problem does your company aim to solve? 
SMSbiotech therapeutic’s core value proposition to patients starts with producing an Extracellular Matrix that serves as a “skin substitute” for wound healing. This “skin substitute” serves a large number of patients with underlying diseases such as diabetes who suffer from non-healing wounds that could lead to amputation and death.
Additionally, SMSbiotech recently introduced an R&D kit that allows for the efficient testing of blood vessel formation and blood vessel regression by examining drug candidates relevant to cancer and other serious illnesses.
3. When did you decide it was time to make the decision to pivot? 
Early in the pandemic, I noticed — based on my knowledge in epidemiology, that there was a complete lack of suitable therapeutics in the market. The threat of COVID-19 combined with a lack of suitable medications in this space, only meant situations could become dire. As a result, given that our company was already planning to do cell therapy in the future, the move towards cell therapy was not inconsistent with the general goals of SMSbiotech.
4. How has your business model, target market, or execution strategy changed as a result?
Unfortunately, the R&D market for our products has shrunk a lot. As of now, progress related to launching the wound healing therapeutic has been slowed significantly due to delays in outsource testing and difficulties in organizing a pilot clinical study.
5. What were some challenges that you did not expect to come across and how did you move past them?
One major difficulty for an early stage company is learning how to commercialize products efficiently. For that reason the company decided to hire experts in the field. Other pitfalls related to human resources and the challenges related to hiring competent employees.
An equally important obstacle for us was logistics. Our progress relies on employees being present in the labs and this has been a challenge during the pandemic. Inadvertently, finding the appropriate financial resources during these economic times has been a daunting task as well.
7. What were some accomplishments from your company? 
To date, SMSbiotech has produced several research and development products in the space of cell technology. Some of these products are unique and all are based on technologies developed within SMSbiotech.

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About IntuitiveX: As a premier life sciences incubator and consultancy, IntuitiveX is always in search of founders and entrepreneurs who push the boundaries of what is possible within medical research and technology. IntuitiveX is a life science consulting firm and incubator. With a team comprised of life science entrepreneurs, investors, and innovators, they bring a combined 100+ years of experience in R&D, Clinical, Surgical, IP Strategy, Prototyping, Product Development, and Commercialization. They catalyze medical innovation by removing the complexities, cost barriers, and time sensitivities related to introducing new products into the market. From initial concept to final commercialization, IntuitiveX has the in-house knowledge and network to meet the unique needs of the most innovative life science companies in the world. We’ve currently incubated more than 12+ portfolio companies and are always in search of more.


About SMSbiotech: is a California-based biotech company that was founded by Dr. Abdulkader Rahmo, Tom Pistone, Mohamed Diab, Amy Mousavi, and Firas Abras in 2015. Through a combination of hard work and over 30 years of experience in research and applications, we have been able to introduce a new proprietary technology that will change the way the life science industry approaches the research of cells, drugs and toxins. Based on our patented, revolutionary, adult stem cell research technologies, new potential treatments can be tested earlier than with traditional methods, and in a cost-effective way.