Sofia Sigal-Passeck has been developing Uniphage for two years.
She is a young entrepreneur who recently graduated from Yale University. In this blog, learn how Sofia founded Uniphage and any advice she might have for those who are aspiring startup entrepreneurs.
What is Uniphage working on?
Uniphage aims to create safe and efficient biological bacterial and fungal sites that prevent bacterial diseases. Uniphage is specifically targeting plant agriculture due to bacteria fungal sites that are already being used. According to Sofia, these fungal sites actually do more harm than good. They are toxic and frequently ineffective for humans and for the environment. This is why it’s Uniphage’s mission to develop new and effective sites that are safe for humans and for the environment.
What about Sofia’s work with Uniphage makes her passionate?
Uniphage’s work is focused on addressing or decreasing dangerous pesticides that go in and out of our bodies. These pesticides enter our bodies after they’re poured out into the environment to control diseases in crops. Statistically, 1 in 3 crops is lost to bacterial diseases. Because of this practice, 9 in 10 people have these dangerous pesticides inside of them. Ultimately, these pesticides are not really effective for crops in the first place and can cause birth defects, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other serious diseases. Sofia said, “When I wake up in the morning and think to myself, ‘Do I really have to go to the lab again today?’, I do have motivation because I want to use this opportunity to end this vicious cycle. Fundamentally, I care about this problem to be sustainable means to not have to use those dangerous compounds.” Sofia’s goal for Uniphage is to create safe and efficient microbial bacteria pesticides so we can replace dangerous chemicals in our foods and also help control infestations in agriculture.
Sofia’s tips for aspiring biotech entrepreneurs
In our interview with Sofia, she states that the first step you have to take is deciding if you want to do this work in the long run. She states “This is a long time commitment and you have to decide for yourself if you’re really passionate about the problem and if you believe your solution is truly the right one to solve it.” In other words, if you’re considering founding your own startup, be sure that you have the passion to follow it through. Another tip Sofia gave is to consider commercialization as opposed to just the thought of conducting cool research. It’s important to consider weather of not you can sell and build a business from the work you’re doing.
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