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This 37-Year-Old Entrepreneur Is Untangling Autistic Minds With Modern Innovation Derek Ivany's Pilz Bioscience is seeking to change how medical doctors diagnose and treat autism

By Saurabh Kumar

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Derek Ivany
Derek Ivany

Sometimes being an entrepreneur means pursuing what the average person would think is a crazy idea or tapping into a space generally unknown to the average Joe. Derek Ivany is the type of entrepreneur who takes crazy ideas, in unique sectors, and makes those ideas a profitable reality. His businesses around the world are wildly diverse, ranging from real estate projects in Colombia to racehorses across North America, to a gut health cereal brand that was once featured on the popular television show, Dragon's Den, to an alternative medicine company which he took from a $1.5 million valuation to $200 million at its peak. Ivany has now found what he believes could be one of the biggest developments of the coming decade, that will not only change how medical doctors treat mental health but could also potentially help to treat autism.

When the modern plant science space started to erupt, led by companies such as Compass Pathways which took the subject mainstream, Ivany took notice and looked to pursue his own deal. By chance, when discussing equine therapeutics with a seasoned doctor, the topic of applying advanced plant-based medicines came up. Coincidentally, Ivany was speaking with the very doctor who, 10 years prior, held the nickname "Dr. Mushroom' in Portland. The man behind the name was Dr. Marvin Hausman, an accomplished medical scientist with years of experience taking pharmaceuticals from concept to successful completion in FDA trials. The two discussed ideas and came up with a plan to medically diagnose, and treat autism. Only months later, Pilz Bioscience was born, and the company oversubscribed its financing in 24 hours.

CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) state that approximately 1 in 54 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.

A Canadian public policy study estimated the lifetime cost of supporting an individual with ASD at a range of between CAD $1.2 million to $4.7 million depending on the level of symptom severity and disability.

A 2015 report forecasted the economic burden of ASD including annual direct medical, direct non-medical and productivity costs to be USD $461 billion by 2025.

Ontario Autism Coalition

Recently, Nova Mentis, a public company on the CSE, acquired Ivany's Pilz, betting that Ivany with the help of Hausman could replicate or surpass their past successes. Research on autism has begun in Italy, and the company has also secured a very difficult to obtain manufacturing contract in the US. The ambitious plan is to medically diagnose ASD, for the first time in history, with quantifiable biomarkers and thereby develop effective ASD treatments.

So, what's the secret to Ivany's success. He credits persistence, putting the right team together to implement a shared vision, and perhaps most importantly, tapping into an extensive network with various specialties around the world. Ivany's past success has given his investment backers confidence that his future projects have high probabilities for significant investment returns.

Ivany's latest business venture, Pilz Bioscience is seeking to change how medical doctors diagnose and treat autism, thereby helping the millions of families that have an autistic family member like his brother around the world.

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