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In an atmosphere as technologically savvy as today, it’s only natural to seek out new advancements and ways to build on existing products to further improve the lives of others. As a serial entrepreneur, John Burd, co-founder and previous CEO of Dexcom, and current CEO of Lysulin and Wonder Spray, is no exception, in that he started his entrepreneurial journey as early as the 70s and is still going strong to this day, with WonderSpray being his newest invention.
Listen in as host, Neal Bloom, chats with John Burd about his extensive entrepreneurial history and the impact his products have had on millions of lives.
3:05 John discusses his journey leading up to co-founding Dexcom, today a $40 billion continuous glucose monitoring device maker. Out of grad school, John worked at a company that developed at-home diabetes products, a market that was growing at the time. He then joined Miles Laboratories, where he worked in a lab and developed clinical chemistry testing products. After that role, John moved west to Indiana to experience startup life at a company that developed a doctor’s office blood allergy testing system, but the startup, unfortunately, proved unsuccessful. At this startup, John was introduced to the business side of medicine. Following this, he moved to sunny San Diego in the mid 80s and joined Quidel, a facility renowned for pregnancy, ovulation, and allergy testing. After about eight years in that role, John left Quidel and founded his first diabetes company, LXN Corporations, which allowed diabetics to check their blood sugar with a single at-home test per week. LXN was eventually sold to a company that was subsequently acquired by Johnson & Johnson. After the acquisition, John joined a local venture capital firm and decided to start a diabetes-focused venture. Soon enough, he found the technology that would become Dexcom.
10:01 After leaving Dexcom in the hands of his successor, Andy Rasdal, John put time into working with chronic kidney diseases; he noted a correlation between those with kidney problems and those with diabetes. Studies conducted in the late 2000s showed that lysine, an amino acid used to make medicine, helped reduce blood sugar levels, but because it was already easily available in stores, it was a commodity they did not want to pursue selling. After doing further research, John learned of two other powerful supplements that helped those same problems. So in 2018, they launched Lysulin, a combination of zinc, vitamin c, and lysine. Lysulin is available for sale on online platforms such as Amazon, Walmart.com and the company’s website.
16:21 John details the process of releasing his product in the market without FDA approval. Because Lysulin is a product designed to be used therapeutically rather than medicinally, the FDA is not required to approve it.
18:00 Neal shares his personal connection to diabetes, as his father has type 1 diabetes and, in the 70s, he had to make long drives multiple times per week just to get blood sugar readings. Since then, technology has allowed diabetics to access these readings within seconds.
21:43 With San Diego slowly growing into becoming one of the nation’s big tech hubs, John discusses whether he could see companies like Tandem, Medtronic, and others make the region a diabetes tech hub. Many doctors at Scripps Clinic have dedicated decades to diabetes research, with several doctors piggybacking off of recent developments. John reminisces, for a moment, on Dexcom’s humble beginnings. The company’s first headquarters was located in a basement below a dentist’s office. John also shares that his current venture, Lysulin, has a small but mighty team.
30:21 When he initially launched Lysulin, John reached out to professionals in the diabetes space to share his solution with them. One of these prospects introduced John to a wound-healing product he had developed, which took the form of a saline-infused gun that sprays onto wounds. John learned the product had potential but it was incredibly expensive. The duo considered working together to create a low-cost version of the product to make it more accessible but that didn’t work out. John later found hypochlorous acid (HOCl), which is non-toxic and 100 times stronger than bleach. John looked into using this for wound-healing. After collaboration with teams from various countries and obstacles along the road, John founded Wonder Spray, a spray-on product meant for treating wounds and any skin problems (bites, itches, burns, etc). John’s primary mission with this product is to help thousands of people with his products while alleviating the total cost required by the consumer. HOCl is also on the EPA list of approved disinfectants for use against COVID-19, which gives Wonder Spray another use.
Anyone who wants a sample of Wonder Spray can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
John’s favorite local tacos:
Connect with John:
Keep up with Lysulin
Keep up with WonderSpray
Keep up with Dexcom
Thanks to our partners at Cox Business for their support in enabling us to grow the San Diego ecosystem.