Genexa, an unconventional pharmaceutical startup, is disrupting an entire dinosaur-like industry that is long overdue for a cleanup.
"Most Americans are familiar with the go-to, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, like heartburn remedies, saline solutions and pain-relieving menthols. And most don’t hesitate to blindly use these products when irritating health issues arise," said David Johnson, chief executive officer of Genexa. "However, what consumers don’t realize is that most medicines contain only 10 percent of the active ingredients that they are seeking for relief, while the other nearly 90 percent merely serve as binders and fillers that could be potentially toxic."
It’s this startling fact that motivated Johnson, 35, and Genexa co-founder Max Spielberg, 34, into taking action to protect their young families whom they noticed were being negatively affected by the toxic overload of these traditional OTC medicines. With business pedigrees that are not your typical entrée into the natural products industry, Johnson and Spielberg’s rallying cry has attracted a rock-star advisory board of industry investors and medical advisors who are also highly motivated to turn the OTC channel upside-down to provide healthier medicines to their patients.
“I am approached by companies every day for my medical endorsement and I turn most everyone away,” said Dr. Alejandro Junger, cardiologist and New York Times best-selling author of “Clean,” “Clean Gut,” and “Clean Eats.” “When David and Max approached me with their plan for Genexa, I did not hesitate to commit to their cause. This is the company we’ve all been waiting for to come along and finally take on this challenge of cleaning up OTC medicines.”
Junger is just one of the highly credentialed medical professionals committed to seeing Genexa’s clean label OTC medicines come to fruition. The other prestigious doctors include Dr. Mark Menolascino, who also serves as Genexa’s chief medical officer, Dr. Joel Kahn, Dr. Taz Bhatia, Dr. Glenn Marshak, Dr. KellyAnn Petrucci, Dr. Amy Shah, and Dr. Deanna Minich.
Why has it taken so long to get unnecessary and potentially harmful chemicals out of OTC medicines? The challenge is not an easy one as Spielberg and Johnson quickly discovered when they started the research and development process.
“We were originally told from formulators that it wasn’t possible to make organic versions of these medicines,” said Johnson, whose educational background is in food chemistry. “We spent the first couple of years developing an advanced technology to remove unhealthy synthetics and toxins and to find the right organic active and inactive ingredients that would work together.”
The Genexa hustle to market has resulted in the first ever USDA Certified Organic and non-GMO line of OTC medicines including a menthol-based analgesic called Pain Crush, a saline nasal spray called Saline Care, and a non-GMO calcium carbonate-based antacid called Heartburn Fix made with organic ingredients. These FDA regulated products are already top-sellers on Amazon and in retail at GNC, CVS, Sprouts Farmers Market and other natural health retailers. The vision of both Spielberg and Johnson is that Genexa’s disruption in OTC will change the future of medicine for all families.