RAMP UPdate: Leone BioVentures
We recently sat down with Joshua James, our 2018 cohort member from Leone BioVentures, to find out what he is doing now that his time with RAMP-in-Residence has ended. Josh shared his successes and challenges since graduating from the program, some insights he gained during his time as a cohort member, and some wisdom for those who are considering applying for the RAMP-in-Residence program.
Josh shared both the company’s long-term and short-term goals for the future. For now, he would like to see small successes in the lab via research, while confirming that their product is in proper working order. For the long-term, his goal is that the company will begin to bring in revenue. Further research and development of the bio-pesticide product are currently in the works, and he projects that Leon BioVentures will be selling their product within the next three years.
Josh believes that the biggest challenge he has faced since leaving RAMP is not having the “push” from regular interactions and conversations with his fellow cohort members and mentors. Though he does stay in touch with his mentor, he says that it has become more of an opportunity to share updates from time-to-time.
When asked about the benefits he gleaned from his time with RAMP, Josh responded that the diversity of the companies in the cohort was a great benefit to him because it allowed for the members to share advice and opinions with each other while not in direct competition. He also stated that the program allowed him to develop a business plan which he can utilize once his product has been fully developed. Josh also highlighted that the networking opportunities and connections that Mary Miller and his mentors provided were key in helping his company, not only while he was in the cohort, but also for the future.
To those who are considering applying to the RAMP-in-Residence program, Josh reminds them to be patient! He would also encourage them to apply even if they are lacking a viable product. He believes that for Leone BioVentures the timing worked well, as they were free to mold their product to fit the potential customer rather than being attached to a product that they were convinced would sell, but which had no actual demand.
About the Company
Leone BioVentures, LLC is developing a bio-pesticide that will have a worldwide market. The bio-pesticide agent has been proven to be effective against a wide variety of crop diseases in the previous field and greenhouse trials. Josh James (COO), a Bioengineering graduate from Virginia Tech, is developing feasible methods to scale up production of the bio-pesticide product.