A Turkish entrepreneur’s incredible inventions, including the so-called “God pill”, have propelled him on to the front cover of America’s leading business publication.
Izmir-born Osman Kibar is named by Forbes as one of “30 global game changers” in a feature that will appear in the bi-monthly magazine’s 10 May 2016 issue.
Educated at Istanbul’s renowned Robert College, Kibar moved to the United States (US) to pursue his studies at California Institute of Technology and later at the University of California, San Diego.
Gaining a Ph.D in engineering, Kibar set up two businesses: biotech firm Gennoptix, which he sold to Novartis in 2011 for $470 million, and electronic firm E-Tenna, whose assets were acquired by Intel (thermal management of microprocessors) and Titan (wireless antennas).
In 2008, Kibar set up his current biotech operation Samumed with the help of one of his Robert College friends, Cevdet Samikoğlu, who raised $3.5 million for the fledging business.
According to Forbes, “Samumed, the San Diego firm he has been stealthily building for a decade, is the most valuable biotechnology start-up on the planet.”
Samumed is currently valued $12 billion. As the owner of one third of the business, 45-year-old Kibar’s net worth is $4 billion. The sum could grow considerably should his medical inventions take off.
The company describes itself as “a leader in medical research and development for tissue-level regeneration.” Using small molecule-based Wnt pathway modulation, they “develop therapeutics to address a range of degenerative diseases, regenerative medicine and oncology.”
One new drug that has been successfully trialled by Samumed is set to help bald men re-grow hair, which in the US alone could give relief to an estimated 35 million men. The same drug may also turn grey hair back to its original colour and erase wrinkles. A second medicine in the pipeline could regenerate cartilage in arthritic knees. The firm is also researching how to cure blindness, cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Kibar’s ultimate aim is to regenerate the cells of the elderly, to make them as strong as those of a developing fetus. His quest for the “God pill” has put him in the same company as other well-known entrepreneurs such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Larry Page and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, whose innovations are transforming modern life.