founder

Sen-Jam Pharmaceutical Founder Jim Iversen on Making Effective and Affordable Drugs

Introduction

Prescription drug prices in the United States are painfully high. Americans pay more than twice as much as other countries for medication. This can weigh especially heavily on individuals without insurance who are struggling to make ends meet. 

In recognition of this problem, Sen-Jam Pharmaceutical aims to develop and sell affordable and effective oral anti-inflammation medicine. The company is working on eight products to address specific conditions, including COVID-19, opioid withdrawal, and hangovers. We reached out to co-founder and CEO Jim Iversen to learn more about the origins of the business and its plans following the raise.

Note: This interview was conducted over phone and email. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Yasmin Sharbaf

In your own words, how would you describe your company?

Jim Iversen

Pharma for the people! We are on a mission to provide new, innovative drug products to the masses that are safe, efficacious, and affordable.

Yasmin Sharbaf

What inspired you to take the leap and start this company?

Jim Iversen

When Jackie, co-founder, came to me with a strategy and a successful work plan to bring drugs to the market for large, unmet needs at a fraction of the cost, I realized the opportunity to make a positive impact on individuals’ lives while also offering safe and efficacious alternatives within the pharmaceutical space. Personally, being a leader in supply chain engineering my whole life made this opportunity an easy one to dive into, as we see new startups like Uber and Airbnb using today’s technology to create a preferred, high-value experience.

Yasmin Sharbaf

Who is on your team and how did you come together?

Jim Iversen

Jackie, a pharmacist, saw up close the lack of pharmaceutical products in the anti-inflammatory and pain space and how their absence has led to the opioid crisis and expensive immunomodulating treatments with severe side effect profiles. She saw a need to introduce drug products into this space to end suffering. To help us advance through the FDA, we hired Thomas Dahl, PhD, a regulatory expert with sage knowledge and extensive experience. And to broadcast our message, we have Christine Leonard, who has worked more than 30 years in the pharmaceutical marketing space, which makes her acutely aware of this country’s dire need for our products. 

We are also supported by a group of key opinion leaders and scientific advisors who provide important and relevant clinical information. 

Yasmin Sharbaf

How is Sen-Jam Pharmaceutical transforming the anti-inflammatory drug industry?

Jim Iversen

Currently, there are only a few options for a physician to prescribe and a consumer to purchase for reducing inflammation and pain fast and effectively. And the newer drugs being developed will be expensive, creating a further burden on our healthcare system. Each of our assets within our platform offer the consumer low-cost, efficacious alternatives for treating disease-related inflammation and pain without numerous side effects. Because our assets can provide relief to large, unmet needs, we anticipate manufacturing and distributing a large volume of products into the prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) space.

In the OTC market, a consumer would be willing to pay out of pocket for our products that provide better value over the current pain-relieving options. In the prescription market, our assets provide efficacy with reduced side effects at a cost that will disrupt the current pharmaceutical industry model.

Yasmin Sharbaf

Why did you decide to focus on treating multiple health problems rather than focusing on a niche problem?

Jim Iversen

Our eight assets represent a platform of agents all geared towards creating the most potent oral anti-inflammatory with the least side effects. As we advance one product, all other products will benefit and can advance through the regulatory pathway faster. By staying focused on offering anti-inflammatory pain relief for a number of disease states, this allows us to strategically bring a product to the market for a large number of individuals.

Yasmin Sharbaf

What does the competitive landscape look like, and how do you differentiate?

Jim Iversen

Overall, the entire platform offers innovative solutions by creating the most potent oral anti-inflammatory with the least amount of side effects at a price that allows accessibility to all individuals. For each of our assets, we can dive more deeply into the competitive landscape.

For COVID-19, we offer an oral medication that can be taken on day one that has the potential to reduce symptoms while preventing lung tissue damage. Our therapeutic solution will be priced at an $80/dose regimen versus Merck’s $700/dose regimen and Pfizer’s $530/dose regimen. Also, our side effect profile will be significantly less than both Merck and Pfizer’s oral therapeutics, which is an important characteristic of a preventative therapy. 

For opioid use disorder, we offer a non-opioid pain reliever that has the potential to reduce opioid consumption while reducing opioid withdrawal symptoms. Our therapeutic will be less expensive and more accessible than methadone and suboxone. This product could be used with opioids to reduce the likelihood of dependence or as part of an opioid detoxification regimen.

For prevention of alcohol hangovers, we offer an over-the-counter product that reduces next-day side effects, allowing a more productive day. Currently, the hangover treatment market is composed of non-FDA-approved products with questionable efficacy and safety. Alcohol hangovers have just been recognized by the International Classification of Diseases, effective January 1, 2022, by the World Health Organization. The US Department of Health and Human Services will follow through and recognize alcohol hangovers with a diagnostic code by 2025, allowing insurance to cover doctor and prescription reimbursement. This will also allow for the start of tracking disease progression, i.e. correlation between alcohol hangovers and later-stage alcohol-related diseases, like stomach cancer and liver disease. This is a very important differentiator, as our product will be the only FDA-approved product for the prevention of alcohol hangovers. 

Yasmin Sharbaf

How do you intend to use the money you raise this round to scale the business?

Jim Iversen

Money raised will be used to fund the phase two clinical trial for our oral COVID-19 therapeutic and to advance our two other lead products through the FDA regulatory process.

Yasmin Sharbaf

What do you want potential investors to know about you and/or your company?

Jim Iversen

I’m passionate about improving the lives of others by developing evidence-based, FDA-approved therapeutics for large, unmet needs. Project execution has been my key to success. I’ve led $80 million in exits of previous companies as CEO.

Yasmin Sharbaf

As you think about the business 5-10 years down the road, what do you see exit opportunities looking like? Have you set any future goals for the company?

Jim Iversen

Our goal is to sell or license all of our assets by 2025. Given the current state of COVID-19, we see the potential of selling or licensing our oral COVID-19 therapeutic in 12 to 18 months as we complete our phase two clinical trial, formulation, and chemistry, manufacturing, and control work.

We look forward to seeing where Jim and his team take the company. Sen-Jam Pharmaceutical is currently raising on Wefunder.

29
About: Yasmin Sharbaf

Yasmin is passionate about the intersection of business, art, and science. Prior to KingsCrowd, Yasmin worked on a cryptocurrency investing research project for Wellesley College Investment Office where she assessed the risks and rewards for university endowment investment into cryptocurrency. She has also previously worked in a neuroscience lab studying language and memory of songbirds. Yasmin’s dream is to make investing and financial education accessible to everyone. In her free time, Yasmin enjoys going on adventures, learning new languages, and exploring different cultures. Yasmin studied Neuroscience and Studio Art at Wellesley College.

View Yasmin Sharbaf's founders