Ari Gargir is the Founder and CEO of RedC Biotech, developing an industrial process for production of life saving universal red blood cells. For over 20 years, Ari led R&D and product development teams in various global and startup companies in the areas of biomedical research tools, pharmaceutical development and diagnostics. Ari Gargir holds a PhD in Microbiology from the Tel Aviv University and is an alumnus of the International Space University.
In March of this year, the Aviram Family Foundation partnered with Forbes Magazine to host the inaugural “Aviram Awards – Tech for Humanity” competition. After an live on-stage pitch competition, the Grand Prize was awarded to Ari Gargir, CEO of RedC Biotech Ltd, for his entrepreneurial tech and business venture that is expected to deliver real benefit to society, and to impact the lives of millions in the future.
In this exclusive interview with visionary change-maker Ari Gargir, he discusses the development of his company, the technology involved, how he’s paving the way for a scalable approach to building up emergency preparedness blood supply stockpiles, and he offers unique business leadership perspectives.
What is the story behind RedC Biotech?
RedC Biotech is developing an industrial process for the production of donor-free, Universal Red blood cells for life saving transfusions and advanced therapies. We intend to solve a global need, saving millions of lives in the process.
Red blood cell transfusions are a cornerstone of medical treatment and are used in every hospital around the world. Every year, 120 million blood units are donated and yet there are great shortages around the world, causing millions of people to suffer and die because of insufficient or inadequate blood transfusions.
At a high-level, please share a bit about the technology that you are developing:
We are utilizing a disruptive stem cell cultivation technology that spun out of the Technion in Israel. This technology allows cultivating the stem cells at relatively low cost and allows massive scale up of the production.
Describe your ‘ah-ha’ moment, at which point you knew that your venture might become a success?
I have yet to experience the ‘ah-ha’ moment. We still face many challenges ahead before finalizing development, regulatory and commercialization targets. However, I do have reminders and reinforcements on a daily basis indicating that we are on the right path, meant to save the lives of millions around the world.
What is the timeline for your product? By when should people expect to hear a lot more about it?
RedC Biotech faces a couple more years of product development, pre-clinical and clinical testing towards regulatory approvals. All in all, it will take about 5 more years before commercialization and universal red blood cell transfusions will be supplied to hospitals.
What are the key factors that played a role in your entrepreneurial success so far?
To be brief: determination, endless patience, and belief in a just and humanitarian cause that has great financial promise behind it.
What have you learned in the last year that will inform this company in the year ahead?
I have learned two critical things: first, that the current model for volunteer-based blood supply is no longer sustainable even in high income regions. This has always been true for low-income regions, and therefore humanity cannot afford to rely on volunteer blood donation and needs to seek a solution based on biotechnological production. The good news is that the knowledge in stem cell cultivation and the technologies for massive bio-production, such as those applied for cultured meat production, are ripening at these times and will help RedC Biotech fulfill its goals.
What other CEOs or other global leaders do you look up to? Who are your heroes?
The people that inspire me most have been both humanitarian thinkers combined with being profound scientists and fictionists. Carl Sagan was a person I looked up to. He made significant contributions to astronomy and astrobiology. While writing great science fiction, he was dedicated to explaining science for the benefit of humanity. Explaining science is extremely important in this age of fake news, conspiracies and disbelief in science.
What insights do you have for other emerging technology and business leaders?
I feel that at this time we all have to be very thoughtful about the utilization of resources while making certain we are doing everything possible for the benefit of all humanity and Planet Earth. Our concerns must address these aspects on a global level and not only for the benefit of our country or region.
Ari Gargir, founder of RedC Biotech, is the recipient of the prestigious 2022 Tech for Humanity award. For more information, visit Forbes. Lastly, to receive more timely cyber security news, top-tier reports and cutting-edge analyses, please sign up for the cybertalk.org newsletter.