Who doesn’t love the marriage of entrepreneurship and science? With companies like Virgin Galactic developing the space tourism industry and Local Motors 3D-printing cars, it’s hard not to admire the human spirit in action.
Not to be outdone, BioViva USA—a company specializing in regenerative medicine—is out to revolutionize healthcare through gene and cell therapy. The company even claims to have successfully rejuvenated a human being through an experimental procedure meant to protect against age-related loss of muscle mass and stem-cell depletion.
The fact that the human being in question is BioViva USA’s own CEO Elizabeth Parrish may cast a bit of skepticism over the company’s boast.
At least according to Steven Salzberg, a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, whose column yesterday in Forbes questioned the veracity of BioViva’s findings, albeit diplomatically. Rather less diplomatic was this assessment by Mic.com science and technology writer Max Plenke. Oh snap, one might say.
I’m no science expert, but I feel it’s my responsibility to add that this scenario is frighteningly similar to the plot of the 1959 horror film The Wasp Woman, in which the CEO of a cosmetics company injects herself with a rejuvenating serum, only to discover too late that it turns her into a murderous wasp monster. You’ve been warned, world!
As I said, I’m no science expert, but I do know a bit about leadership and how companies function. So if you’re a CEO and your response to this story is, “Hmmm, if this gene therapy thing is true, I can keep running this company forever! To heck with those Millennials! Muhahaha!” you may be setting yourself and your company up for trouble.
Good old succession planning is still the way to go when ensuring your organization is staged for long-term success. In fact, if you’re looking for good science to help your cause, you’re living in the golden age. With scientifically validated personality assessments like the Caliper Profile, Individual Development Plans (IDPs), and Caliper Analytics ™ at your fingertips—as well as human-to-human options like Executive Coaching and Action Learning—you already have what you need to develop your high-potential talent for the future and identify your current organizational leadership gaps.
Perhaps the goals of innovation-driven companies like BioViva USA sound pie-in-the-sky right now, and maybe their claims require a fair bit of scrutiny. But if their efforts and that of others can one day enable us to feel younger and stronger and, more importantly, help rid the world of disease, perhaps we should show a little patience. Who knows? By the time you’re ready to retire, gene therapy might just be able to add the muscle mass and youthful vigor you need for that moon trip aboard Virgin Galactic. Don’t forget to 3D print a moon buggy when you get there.