Potentia Pharmaceuticals Inc. Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2010

Finalist

Health care

Dr. Cedric Francois’ new drug will allow aging adults to see clearer than ever before. Researchers plan to release a new drug that will prevent blindness caused by age-related macular degeneration by 2015. Francois founded Potentia Pharmaceuticals Inc. in 2001 after realizing a need for a drug that would treat the major side effect of macular degeneration. Research went well, but it was a very expensive undertaking. By 2003, the funding Francois had raised was almost completely gone. Taking the time to ask for more capital would slow progress down, so he had to decide his next step very carefully. Believing in his project and his team, he took a risk and finished the research just in time to sell the new drug to Alcon Research Ltd.

Francois is no stranger to risk. After hearing about a project involving hand transplantation at the University of Louisville, he moved to Kentucky. Before long, he joined the research team that would be part of the first successful human hand and face transplants.

Francois speaks with passion and excitement about all of his projects. In his free time, Francois constantly looks for ways to stimulate his mind and conquer new challenges. After hearing about Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room project, Francois tracked Branson down and asked to develop a team that would develop a special kerosene fuel for airplanes. The fuel creates light-wave-collecting clouds, which help reduce the temperature of the earth. Francois also works with Kentucky legislators as a member of the Bioalliance Board, where they are working to distribute a fast-acting inhaler to administer vaccines in times of pandemics or biological warfare. The success of the macular degeneration drug inspired Francois and his team to tackle other ocular diseases, as well.

How to reach: Potentia Pharmaceuticals Inc., (502) 569-1053 or www.potentiapharma.com