Audacia Bioscience: CEO Phillip Olla’s story of resilience and opportunity
While there are many attributes the best entrepreneurs have in common, the ability to pivot and see potential for new ideas and applications is perhaps one of the more unique and valued skills. When you’re working to commercialize ground-breaking research, it’s even more important to see the diverse applications of your work.
Dr. Phillip Olla is such an entrepreneur. His company Audacia Bioscience has had to remain flexible and responsive to changes in the economic and regulatory environment that include shifts in policy and the ever-evolving impacts from the COVID 19 pandemic.
Audacia first worked with OCI on a Collaborate 2 Commercialize project that made significant progress in determining a way to detect cannabis in breath as a measure of sobriety. Audacia’s hope was to use this research and their Intellectual property to create a commercially viable product for applications such as roadside breathalyzers.
However, changes in federal policy from breath to fluid tests for cannabis detection meant Phillip and the Audacia team had to switch gears.
A few years later, enter a pandemic and Canada – as well as the world – is dealing with a health crisis. In the early days of COVID, researchers and public health officials were spending day and night trying to understand the virus – how it manifested, how it spread, and how to measure immunity.
In December 2020, Audacia and the University of Windsor partnered on another Collaborate 2 Commercialize project. At the time, it was becoming clear that reinfection with COVID was very much possible, but Phillip and his team knew that vaccines soon to be released to Canadians would mean tracking our immunity would be even more important. Phillip and his team created just that – a new type of COVID test that indicated the taker’s immunity status at that moment so they could know if it was a good time to take a booster.
Now Phillip is once again reimagining the future of Audacia. As Canada and the world move on to a “new normal” post-COVID, the company is embarking on another pivot, rethinking further applications of their initial research into breath.
“The number of indicators of health provided by our breath is greatly underestimated, “ says Phillip. “By researching and understanding the compounds in our breath, we can see impacts of pollution, asthma, and even other initial signals of disease.”
The company is working on integrating this breath research with datasets into an AI platform that would allow medical professionals to have a further understanding of patients’ wellbeing. It’s where next is for Audacia.
There is a lot of talk about remaining resilient, especially in the wake of the pandemic. However, Phillip and the Audacia team have shown time and time again that resilience isn’t just a value in policy or in public heath, but also in entrepreneurship.
Learn more about Audacia Bioscience: https://www.audaciabio.com/