Cameron Stewart, PhD and CEO of Mesosil, started the company as a research project but quickly turned it into a real-world product when he realized its potential beyond the academic realm. Stewart recalls, “Instead of letting the work sit as scientific papers, [I was driven into IP protection] at the University of Toronto (UofT), and also its start-up community, where there were numerous other young researchers who felt the same way [about transform their ideas into products]. It showed me that the most fulfilling way to translate my research into clinical use was to do it myself.”
While pursuing a PhD in Biomedical Engineering (BME) at UofT, Stewart co-invented Mesosil’s first product, an antimicrobial additive for dental materials alongside the university’s Faculty of Dentistry, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering.
Stewart joined H2i and worked with our mentors to propel his dream of scaling-up Mesosil’s product into reality. “The support network has been invaluable to get advice, perspective, help, and direct contacts with others in the Toronto bio-tech ecosystem. These connections directly led to 100% of the financing we’ve received, and helped us position Mesosil to take these resources and make the most use of them when the time came.”
However, the success of Mesosil did not come without challenges. As a solo founder, Stewart thinks back to the initial challenge of securing pre-seed funding, and hitting all of the benchmarks to make it happen. “In a space like dentistry, where most investors don’t have experience, a lot of work went into bringing on potential customers, and getting them to speak up about our potential. This was the final key, along with a solid plan and a great technology, that got us the support we needed to grow.”
It takes effort to get things done and you really need to have a champion mindset. An appreciation for the technology and strong belief that it is the best solution out there to a lot of problems seen clinically kept the drive to work on it in place.Cameron Stewart, CEO of Mesosil
Though it experienced a rapid growth within six months of its launch, Mesosil stayed a solo project for a long time. Stewart noted that there wasn’t a strong team of multiple entrepreneurs looking to make a company, but he used his time to build strong connections. Since then, Mesosil has grown to include a wide range of employees.
“It takes a team effort to get things done and you really need to have a champion mindset. An appreciation for the technology and strong belief that it is the best solution out there to a lot of problems seen clinically kept the drive to work on it in place. When the time came to grow the company, we were able to pull in a wide range of employees, consultants and advisors and get our name out there. Now this same drive that existed before is what pushes us forward and has let us grow so quickly.”
Stewart works alongside an additional four team members; Brandon Lines, MBA, who brings chemical industry skills to Mesosil to lead sales and business development activities; Neda Aslankoohi, PhD, who has extensive nano-materials synthesis experience, and uses that knowledge to scale-up Mesosil’s processes and generate new IP and tailors product to customer needs; Azar Fattahi, MSc., who leads Mesosil’s FDA evaluation and quality control systems, and helps customers integrate Mesosil in their regulatory applications; and Qin Ji, a current UofT BME student and nonmaterial expert, who scales up synthesis and manages the Mesosil lab with Aslankoohi, designing new reactors and analyzing experimental results.
Looking forward, Mesosil has big plans coming up. Stewart says, “Right now, our biggest goals are to lock in an MVP with a customer and bring our first product to market. This is a pretty big next step and there’s a lot of small things that need to happen along the way, but we’re excited by what lays in front of us over the next year!”
If you are interested in learning more about Mesosil, please visit their website.