Give Your Employees The Tools To Be Successful And Then Get Out Of Their Way
I had the pleasure of interviewing Robert Davidson who is the CURE’s CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors. Prior to his role at CURE Pharmaceutical, Davidson served as President and Chief Executive Officer of InnoZen Inc., Chief Executive Officer of Gel Tech LLC, Chief Executive Officer of Bio Delivery Technologies Inc., and has served on multiple corporate boards. Mr. Davidson was responsible for the development of several drug delivery technologies and commercial brand extensions. He has a Masters Certificate in Applied Project Management from Villanova University, Masters of Public Health from American Military University, Virginia and a Masters in Health and Wellness from Liberty University, Virginia. Davidson also completed his Post Graduate Studies at the University of Cambridge with a letter of commendation.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with us the story of what first introduced you into this business or helped you get interested in the business?
I have always been passionate about healthcare and patient access to the best treatment’s regimens possible. A good friend of mine in 2010 piqued my interest in the potential of cannabis and the endocannabinoid system. His dad was suffering from stage four colon cancer, and traditional treatments were wreaking havoc on his body. My friend started researching the use of cannabis as complementary medicine with the traditional chemotherapy approach. He decided he had nothing to lose and started giving his dad cannabis oil under the tongue. To his surprise, his dad during his second round of chemo gained all of his weight back and responded positively to the chemotherapy. By the end of the second treatment, his dad went into full remission. I started hearing similar stories from nurses and doctors from several different hospitals in California. Needless to say, my interest was piqued.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
CURE is a fully integrated FDA, and DEA registered manufacturing facility. When CURE first announced its entry into the cannabinoid space through research that we were conducting on certain types of cancer with Technion Institute in Israel, we had a plethora of individuals reaching out to us asking for samples. It was such a visceral experience to hear from so many people desperate for a better way to treat cancer. It was difficult to have to tell them that we did not have a product yet as we are still in early-stage research.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I think as much as we try to mitigate mistakes during the start of a business they are inevitable. In fact, I think mistakes are what help startups propel themselves to success if (and big if here) they can learn from them. One day I was giving a tour of the CURE facility to a group that was interested in learning about some of our pharmaceutical applications and the potential positive social impact it would have on the target patient populations. As we were touring the facility, I stopped and picked up some samples from the packaging line, and it just happened to be Sildenafil a generic form of Viagra. One of the members of the tour smiled and asked what positive impact would that have on patients? I struggled to answer his question, but a few seconds later I smiled back and said we are keeping couples together. The lesson — make sure you know what you are showing before you show it and know the audience you are showing it to.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
Yes, we have several great products and research we are working on. We have a partnership with Canopy Growth, a leading international cannabis company. We are the exclusive OTF delivery technology and are developing dosage forms for their proprietary extracts. We just received schedule 1 DEA approval for manufacturing and research of Cannabinoid molecules. This license will allow us to duplicate research that we are doing in Canada and Israel right here at our facility in Oxnard, CA USA.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I don’t think there is one person that helps you achieve success. I think we interact with so many people in our lives that all have an impact on us one way or another. I’m thankful for everyone that I have met over the years whether it was for a few seconds or a few years. Each one of them has had some influence, either consciously or subconsciously, on my thought process and approach to life.
This industry is young dynamic and creative. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?
Since we are a federally regulated pharmaceutical company, we are still early-stage in our product development. So, we don’t do a lot of marketing. At this point, we are more focused on trying to bring understanding and clarity to the industry through earned media opportunities, speaking engagements and writing bylines, guest op-eds and articles that help demystify the cannabinoid research and oral thin films industry. The medical cannabis industry still faces many barriers and challenges due to the stigma surrounding it. We’re working to change that.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?
I believe that treatments based on the endocannabinoid system are the new frontier of medicine. The opening up of regulations for researching cannabis molecules on the cannabinoid system is extremely exciting to us. I think that the cannabis movement is responsible for a push towards personalized medicine instead of one size fits all. At CURE, we agree that personalized medicine is the way of the future. My concerns are directly related to companies that are selling formulations with no real research to support the efficacy of the different indications. The potential for oils tainted with pesticides and microbes due to the lack of regulations in certain states and non-precise dosing is concerning and has the potential to damage the reputation of the entire industry.
Aside from your particular vertical, which other cannabis ancillary industries do you think have very strong potential in the next few years? Can you explain why?
I think that drug delivery, testing and supply chain management are areas that will have strong growth in the next few years. These are the three areas that have the largest unmet needs.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Don’t take them for granted. Without employees, you don’t have a company. It’s that simple. You followed a dream to get to where you are at, let your employees dream with you. Don’t micromanage. Instead, let them feel a part of the process. Give them the tools they need to be successful and get out of the way. At CURE, every employee owns shares. Listen to their ideas and comments; often their suggestions make a big difference.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I think if everyone could consciously do one good deed a day (it’s contagious) then the world would be a better place. If all companies had the goal toward positive social impact, we would be doing business for the right reason and not just for financial gain. I think companies would be surprised how much more financially beneficial it would be if the fiscal gain wasn’t their primary goal.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
· @Cure_Pharma_: https://twitter.com/cure_pharma_
· @RobDavidson20: https://twitter.com/RobDavidson20
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Jilea Hemmings is the CEO & Co-Founder of Leaf Tyme. She is running a series on Leaders In The Cannabis Industry.