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Meet Obdulio Piloto of Entopsis in Medley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Obdulio Piloto.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was raised in a loving, low-income, traditional Cuban family in Hialeah, Florida. Early on, school was a challenging struggle to me, probably due to my mild dyslexia and introversion. However, soon, I discovered a love for the sciences and doubled down on my school efforts. From learning about the smallest sub-atomic particle to the largest celestial clusters, the sciences offered a constantly thrilling view of the world. The glimpse of the true reality offered by the scientific method is immensely reassuring. This fascination with the natural world fueled my academic drive. As a result, I graduated from Hialeah Senior High School with top honors and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Cornell University. During my time at Cornell, my love for science became an obsession, which I indulged in the graduate program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where I completed my doctorate exploring the interplay between targeted molecules, signaling pathways and cancer. These studies were extended at Stanford University where I worked as a post-doctoral fellow and subsequently at a biotechnology pharmaceutical company in the San Francisco bay area. At the same time, while surrounded by highly motivated and creative people in the bay area, the allure of entrepreneurship became irresistible.

In contrast to working in a limiting, traditional academic or large company environment, I found the idea of research and development within one’s own company to be exhilarating and freeing. Thus, after much careful consideration, I left a lucrative, 6-figure salary job to create a start-up company with no salary. Unfortunately, highly specialized scientific training does not prepare one to create or manage a company from scratch. Nonetheless, a close friend of Johns Hopkins, Ian Cheong, and myself set ourselves on this path and we learned along the way seeking free help and advice whenever and wherever we could. We had many great ideas aimed at solving significant problems, but had few insights into raising capital, especially for a start-up managed by two inexperienced scientists. Mind you, at this time we only had ideas, lots of coffee, and supportive spouses, but no laboratory space, scientific equipment or employees. As such, many considered us ‘un-fundable’. In one of our late night online searches, we stumbled upon Peter Thiel’s Breakout Labs, which funds and supports start-ups developing truly challenging scientific technologies. Using an online portal, we submitted one of our most audacious ideas. A few weeks later, to our pleasant surprise, we received a call informing us that we will be funded! We named our company Entopsis, meaning “to look within,” partly as a tongue-and-cheek allusion to the diagnostic nature of our technologic platform, but also to reflect on the immense introspection during this uncertain time.

The funding from Breakout Labs and the investors that followed – people who believed in our vision and took a significant risk on unproven entrepreneurs – allowed us to develop some truly novel and impactful technologies. These Entopsis innovations have the potential to transform medical care while offering attractive returns to our valued partners. The concept is simple – the client submits a urine sample, and within minutes, the sample is analyzed, and the client is given a list of medical conditions and related information. In contrast to traditional laboratory testing, the output is not a list of biomarkers that makes little or no sense, but a comprehensive and holistic view of the client’s health status.

Our approach, called OpsisDx, works by creating a ‘health status fingerprint.’ Using the molecules found in the urine, our machine learning algorithm creates and interprets these fingerprints, which is unique to each medical condition, analogous to actual fingerprints. By detecting variations or changes in these urine fingerprints, changes in health status can be detected in an inexpensive, non-invasive fashion. Once completed, OpsisDx may be part of a future where healthcare is highly personalized and universally accessible.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road from Hialeah to top higher learning institutions and then back to Hialeah for entrepreneurship has been long and strenuous, but always educational. Being the first in my family to attend college and to start a business, I struggled to find my way without any real mentorship. We’ve encountered more than our fair share of struggles translating unconventional ideas into a successful company and have learned to embrace our mistakes and always learn from them. For example, we learned the difficult lessons of how to overcome unreasonable investors, unscrupulous clinicians and technical hurdles. However, each step of the way presented new opportunities for growth, making our team better able to adapt.

Entopsis – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Entopsis is a research and development company that utilizes internally developed platforms and proprietary know-how to solve problems in the life sciences. We are a team of scientists, engineers and business development experts excited about solving problems.

Below are three of our leading innovations:

1) OpsisDx: a Universal platform to diagnose cancer and other medical conditions thru urine for the multi-billion dollar diagnostics market.

2) Genurine: Only test capable of distinguishing real vs fake urine products for restoring trust in drug testing. Fake urine is commonly used to cheat on drug tests, is very difficult to detect and exacerbates the drug abuse problem plaguing the US.

3) PCRopsis: Series of time and cost saving research tools. These novel products offer superior alternatives and compete with products offered by companies posting >$1B in annual revenues.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Seeing our universal diagnostic platform (OpsisDx), which we have been developing for years, be able to correctly identify people with and without cancer through a simple urine sample. This was the first time such an approach, combining nano-materials, select chemistries, and machine learning, has been applied to the diagnosis of a human disease.

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