Vail Valley author on funding life-saving medication program |

Vail Valley author on funding life-saving medication program

Tom Washing, local author and venture capitalist.
Special to the Daily

Diarrhea is no laughing matter — it’s uncomfortable, messy and, of course, smelly. However, in the developing world, it’s much more than that.

Pediatric diarrhea is the number two killer of children in the world, just behind pneumonia.

Tom Washing, a local venture capitalist helped to fund a small start up called PanTheryx, and has now written a book on it. The company, founded in 2007 by Tim and Bimla Starzl, focuses on creating an inexpensive food-based therapeutic medication to fight deaths caused by the disease — the most common in the world.

‘There was no solution’

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“It was just so intriguing. It was such a big deal that we had to take a chance.”Tom WashingLocal author

“I had never encountered (a startup) where they were out to solve a worldwide health problem,” said Washing. “There was no solution for the problem since it developed in the ’60s.”

While Washing considers it a successful investment — the drug now being sold in 3,000 stores across the country and boasting partnerships with pharmaceutical distributors around the world — the investment was “extremely risky” at first.

According to Washing, in preparation for his investment, he called several experts — doctors, scientists and professors — to discuss whether it’s likely that they’ll create a successful drug. They all baulked at him, recommending he save his money.

“It was just so intriguing,” said Washing on ignoring their advice. “It was such a big deal that we had to take a chance.”

Better yet, the company has grown so greatly that they will likely go public or be acquired within the next few years, according to Washing.

Washing’s book “An Unlikely Intervention: A Startup Company’s Quest to Conquer the World’s Second Leading Killer of Children” details the story of the inventors, the building of the company and can be purchased now at The Bookworm of Edwards.

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