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 Altair Ioffe appeared on the CBC show Dragons’ Den in October.
Altair Ioffe
Full-Time MBA

Ioffe Biotechnologies Inc.

My company, Ioffe Biotechnologies, was created to optimize human health and performance. Our first product to market is an over-the-counter pill called Indezone, which has been approved by Health Canada with the health claim, “Helps to enhance cognitive performance”. For boosting brain function, it's more effective than coffee and energy drinks, but safer than prescription stimulants.

Why I started the company: During my undergraduate studies in genetics, I had some ideas for a new technology to treat disease in humans — one that didn't involve drugs or vaccines. I incorporated Ioffe Biotechnologies as a means to gain access to rentable lab space to develop a new treatment for an auto-immune disease. At that time, I was also diagnosed with narcolepsy, excessive daytime sleepiness. It was not my original intention to bring Indezone to market. I was looking for a way to boost my own performance while juggling my undergrad and a biotech startup. But the product fell in line with my overall vision and strategy for the company of optimizing human performance. It made sense to commercialize Indezone.

What business problem does your company solve? Up to 29 per cent of students have turned to prescription stimulants, like Ritalin or Adderall, to keep up with their academics. Evidently, coffee and energy drinks aren't enough for today's fast-paced lifestyle. Indezone offers a new way to improve brain function; one that's more effective than coffee or energy drinks, but still regulated and accessible without a prescription. (Indezone’s ingredients include L-Tyrosine, a naturally occurring amino acid, caffeine and vitamin B6.)

The most fun I’ve had so far was when I had the opportunity to pitch Indezone on the CBC show Dragons’ Den. I wasn’t able to strike a deal,
but the media exposure and professional advice I received was extremely valuable.

A Smith School of Business connection: I integrated this company into my MBA curriculum for the Independent Project and have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by mentors and experts from Smith and Queen's. Sharan Raghubir, EMBAA’13, was my appointed advisor for the Independent Project and did a great job with guidance and mentorship throughout the program. JP Shearer has been a big help with extracurricular opportunities. All of the faculty and my classmates at Smith have been supportive.

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