'64 YSU graduate develops new way to treat cancer, other diseases
By Jamison Cocklin
JACKSON cENTER, PA.
Premier Biomedical Inc., a Mercer County-based company with ties to Youngstown State University, has developed technology with the potential to better treat cancer, Alzheimer’s and traumatic brain injuries by removing the harmful molecules that act as a catalyst for disease from a person’s body.
Known as the “sequential- dialysis technique,” the treatment is the brainchild of an El Paso, Texas contract-neurologist, Mitchell Felder, who co-founded the company in 2010 with William Hartman, a 1964 YSU graduate.
Rather than treating the symptoms and blocking certain proteins or molecules that are the under-lying causes for certain diseases, sequential-dialysis takes blood or other bodily fluid from a person’s body and removes such molecules. The treated fluid is then returned to the body.
“The big question is how you get rid of that stuff without ridding the body of those things you want to keep, like healthy red and white blood cells,” Hartman said. “That’s the reason no one’s been able to do this. The methodology is incredibly difficult, but the treatment actually utilizes a compilation of existing technologies and applies them differently.”
Hartman, 70, who has a mechanical engineering degree, worked for more than 20 years as an auto- industry executive. Shortly after his retirement in 2003, Hartman’s wife fell ill with a rare brain disease. Felder was the only physician who properly diagnosed and treated her, but as he sat in Felder’s office, Hartman became curious.
“I noticed all these patents hanging on his wall and asked him to tell me about them,” Hartman said. “He wasn’t very personable at first, but I kept pushing him, and I realized he was very smart.”
Eventually, the two men went to lunch and Hartman agreed to draw up a business plan for Felder. Today, Hartman says “the company is flying high.”
Recently, the University of Texas at El Paso agreed to a partnership with Premier Biomedical and it will aid in laboratory tests and development.
The company agreed to share 10 percent of its revenues with the university, but Hartman said it’s a big deal for Premier Biomedical because it will allow the treatment to be better developed within the University of Texas System’s network of nine universities and six health institutions.
“Their budget for research and development is around $1 billion, so this is huge for us,” Hartman said.
The partnership with the University of Texas at El Paso, came along only after the Army rejected Premier Biomedical’s cooperative proposal to develop the technology. Felder works as a contract-neurologist at the Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso.
But after sequential-dialysis passed “proof-of-concept” tests at the university, where researchers were able to show the treatment was possible, the Army has expressed a new interest in the technology.
Premier Biomedical already has medication in clinical testing with the Army, but Hartman said the military’s interest in sequential-dialysis has only increased its credibility.
Researchers at the University of Texas at El Paso have expressed a strong interest in Premier Biomedical’s treatment and its potential, but they also acknowledge that there are many years of research and development ahead.
Initially, Hartman and Felder split the company’s start-up costs, but July 24, the company went public with about 100 shareholders. The company is now traded on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board, an electronic quotation system for small-penny stocks.
Hartman said his company is operating within a steep “cost- structure,” but he expects interest in the technology to grow. He said wealthier investors and companies have approached the company in recent weeks.