Michael Gareau: A Role Model for Today’s Evolving Workforce in Healthcare

Michael Gareau | Starpax Biopharma A Role Model for Workforce in Healthcare | Mr. Business Magazine

Successful leadership transcends the pursuit of mere financial gains. It encompasses responsible decision-making, adaptability, and a firm commitment to corporate social responsibility. As a business leader, you should cultivate a legacy of positive impact and enduring success rather than focusing solely on short-term profits.

Over the past few years, a noticeable trend has disrupted leadership—being empathetic and adaptable with a profound consideration for individual needs. Those who prioritize effective communication, problem-solving, and tailoring their approach to suit specific situations and the individuals they lead have climbed the ladder of success.

While curating a list of the most successful business leaders of the year, I came across Michael Gareau (CEO/Founding President, Starpax Biopharma), an exceptional leader who possesses all it takes to rank amongst the best in business. From where I stand, Michael Gareau’s journey is nothing short of inspiring. His determination and unwavering focus on his business goals are qualities that all aspiring entrepreneurs can learn from. 

In this story, I, Mr. Business, am bringing you an exclusive insider’s look into Michael Gareau’s leadership acumen, dissecting the strategies and decisions that have made him a standout in the modern business world.

From where it all began

Before joining Starpax, Michael Gareau served as the founding president and managing director of Ipax Capital L.L.P.,  a Private Equity firm. He regularly met with six deal sources from diverse countries, each presenting potential investment opportunities to his firm. This demanding schedule meant reviewing up to 18 deals weekly, amounting to approximately 864 opportunities each year. Throughout his career, Michael meticulously analyzed an estimated 20,000 such deals.

In 2016, Michael Gareau encountered a life-changing moment that left him flabbergasted. He encountered two patents related to Virtual Monopole Magnetic Fields, a technology with remarkable potential. Discoveries of this caliber are exceedingly rare. Prompted by this discovery, Michael made the pivotal decision to acquire these patents, ultimately leading to the development of a groundbreaking technology for cancer treatment. This technology is now safeguarded by 51 patents, with more in the pipeline.

Securing these patents entailed a unique journey. A prestigious Canadian university initially owned them, and their acquisition was contingent upon initiating the project in Canada. To fulfill this condition, Michael Gareau had to sell his European residence and relocate his family to Quebec, with its snowy winter reaching temperatures minus 30 F. 

Michael Gareau’s personal experiences, including the death of his father from cancer on his university graduation day, the loss of two brothers to cancer, another brother’s prostate removal, and his sister’s ongoing battle with three different cancers, have made him deeply aware of how cancer affects people. These experiences inspired him to work on reducing the problems and pain caused by cancer and its treatments.

Recognizing the transformative potential of this technology, Michael Gareau felt a compelling need to participate in the project. He was motivated to make it available to the greater population. At the helm of Starpax Biopharma, Michael spearheads the company at the forefront and constantly motivates the team to achieve the organizational mission– “Bring this technology as quickly as possible to patients.”

Starpax Biopharma: A New Modality for Cancer Treatment

Starpax is a dual Biopharma/Medtech Company that has developed a revolutionary platform for treating cancer. Its innovative approach combines Magnetodrones and PolarTrak technology for precise drug delivery, with promising preclinical results showing 100% remission rates and minimal side effects. This pioneering technology is specifically designed to tackle solid tumors, which make up the majority of cancer cases and related deaths, reducing toxicity and increasing drug concentration. By integrating microbiology, biochemistry, electromagnetism engineering, and artificial intelligence, Starpax aims to overcome the challenge of reaching and eliminating cancer cells within the entire tumor, including those in hypoxic zones where traditional treatments fall short.

Curing cancer is a complex, longstanding challenge that has stumped researchers for over a century. Despite significant efforts, the solutions have been limited. Recent advancements have improved cancer treatments, but a major challenge remains: effectively delivering treatments to all cancer cells within a tumor. Tumors create hypoxic zones, low-oxygen areas where cancer stem cells flourish.

These areas are resistant to conventional treatments like chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy. The Starpax technology is a never-before-seen technology for cancer treatment solving this resistance problem. It is essentially composed of the two elements below, which cannot work without the other:

  • The MagnetodronesTM consists of unique proprietary self-propelled non-pathogenic bacteria (Bn1-S) that are sensitive to very specific magnetic fields and transport an FDA-approved drug attached to their surface. They can swim within interstitial spaces between tumor tissues without the need for blood vessels. MagnetodronesTM is also aerotactic, meaning they naturally accumulate in the “low oxygen” hypoxic zones containing stem cells due to the oxygen level in the hypoxic zones being the same as in their culture medium. They bring an anticancer molecule proven to work in hypoxic areas, where stem cells don’t divide. They are injected directly into the tumor, do not proliferate in the human body, and die within 60 minutes.
  • The Starpax PolarTrak™ is a unique patented device designed to generate a magnetic sphere around the tumor to keep the MagnetodronesTM captive in the tumor. It produces virtual monopole magnetic field vectors that control the trajectory of the MagnetodronesTM in three dimensions with millimetric precision. The PolarTrak™ is controlled by artificial intelligence that defines, from MRI imaging data, the exact shape and volume of the tumor to force the MagnetodronesTM to spread throughout the whole volume of the tumor while releasing the drug along their path. Magnetic fields produced by the PolarTrakTM are safe for humans, as they are 2,000 times less powerful than those of an MRI.

Team of Healthcare Experts and Intellectuals

Assessing his career span of more than 4 decades, Michael Gareau considers the project Starpax as the most rewarding, especially at a personal level, where every employee and shareholder contributed equally to the project’s inception. Although Starpax’s huge target market can potentially make it a great industry player, the idea of saving millions of lives in a few years is rewarding for Micheal. 

In establishing the company, Michael’s primary goal was to assemble a team driven by his passion for the project. Recognizing the unique challenges startups face, he sought individuals who possessed versatility and saw these challenges as opportunities. Michael Gareau invested significant effort in maintaining the team’s unwavering passion by providing support, fostering open communication, and acting as a coach.

Michael fostered a familial atmosphere within this close-knit early team, organizing theme lunches where employees from diverse cultural backgrounds could come together, share experiences, and bond outside work.

His strategic approach centered on recruiting seasoned professionals who arrived at Starpax prepared to hit the ground running. Michael Gareau’s role involved setting clear objectives, cultivating an environment conducive to multidisciplinary collaboration, and providing the necessary resources for the team to achieve their goals.

Led by Michael Gareau at the helm, the team at Starpax doesn’t resemble a typical startup group, with three recently retired presidents from prominent pharmaceutical companies, namely Johnson & Johnson France, Pfizer, and Eli Lilly Canada, on the board of directors. In addition, Starpax has on its board, the former Managing Director and COO of JP Morgan EMEA Investment Bank, London, UK which is the largest bank in the world and Dr Jacques Jolivet MD who has 35 years of experiene in cancer  clinical trials. Doctor Jolivet is the recipient of  the King George V Silver Jubilee award in oncology.

Michael’s partners include Thierry Page, the COO, who brings over 25 years of success as an entrepreneur  in the chemical industry, working with clients such as Glaxo Smith Kline, Merck, and Johnson & Johnson. His second partner is Jean François Pruneau, the CFO, boasting 27 years of experience, including recognition as the ‘Best CFO of a Large Corporation in Canada’ with the Ace of Finance award. Additionally, Dr. Martel, the Vice President and Chief of Technology is the inventor of Virtual Monopole Magnetic Fields and was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his research.

Each department at Starpax is directed by individuals with a minimum of 15 to 20 years of experience in the industry, all of whom hold Ph.D. qualifications.

An Insight into Michael Gareau’s Leadership Philosophy

The following conversation offers a vivid insight into Micheal’s leadership ideologies and philosophies, including his perception of the healthcare industry, making him one of my top picks for business leadership. 

As a seasoned business leader, how would you describe your leadership philosophy or principles?

Humans are different from each other. I cannot talk about a homogeneous leadership philosophy across the company. It’s like in a family; you don’t use the same leadership approach with all your children. In a company, I would say there are 2 to 3 different types of leadership that could be applied depending on who you are addressing.

For those with a lot of experience who know how everything should be done, pep talk, consideration, and rewards are good leadership elements. For some who want to succeed but lack experience or knowledge, the better way to help them is to show them how things can be done, support them, encourage their progress, and always follow them. However, this should not be done as if you’re policing their every move but rather as a coach. This means that when you tell them something is not done properly, it’s not a reproach but an opportunity to make them aware of what could be done better. This should be done discreetly in private; you don’t do this in front of others.

Finally, there is a type of person I have seen very often in high-tech companies. They are usually excellent employees, and we usually have nothing negative to say about their performance. But at times, their effectiveness deteriorates, often due to personal problems. It’s crucial to observe and detect this before it worsens. Addressing this requires a lot of delicacy. Then, you should listen, show empathy, and help the employee find a solution to their problem. When people have problems, they often close in on themselves and focus on the problem’s consequences rather than solutions.

The best way to manage such an employee is to have someone from your human resources department engage in a discussion with the employee. Also watch the possible burnout of these people before it is too late. The owner, CEO, or COO should consider this in startups without an HR department because it often involves highly intelligent and valuable employees. Furthermore, it’s important to make all managers understand that bringing everyone in the same direction is not a one-size-fits-all path. 

How do you perceive the future of the healthcare industry? Are there noticeable trends that are potentially influential?

The healthcare industry, concerning new products for cancer treatments, is a little lethargic. The patents for novelties discovered over the past decades are about to expire. Big pharma doesn’t have many replacement solutions that will significantly improve compared to what they invented in the last decades. This is the main reason why we see them buying young pharma that have new cancer products already in an advanced development status. These novelties’ results certainly show some progress but not big improvements. 

The healthcare industry should switch to science-driven, multidisciplinary therapeutic solutions. As more analysts worldwide have noticed, single drugs or therapies such as chemical medicines and biologics are becoming antiquated. Their progress is limited. Future healthcare companies will look more like today’s tech giants than today’s large pharma companies. Starpax’s multidisciplinary technology is opening a new era in cancer treatment.

Pearls of Wisdom by Michael Gareau 

My advice would be more directed to the leaders in my industry, comprising pharma or biotech companies. For those who have not yet realized it, we are entering a new era of therapeutic solutions. Many still believe that chemical medicines and biologics are the ultimate solutions for creating new drugs that will solve problems they haven’t addressed for decades or centuries. The reality is that this approach is becoming outdated. The new idea is to develop drugs and solutions requiring multiple disciplines.

For example, at Starpax, our approach to addressing cancer has been developed from four different scientific disciplines: biochemistry, microbiology, electromagnetism engineering, and artificial intelligence, all working together as a solution. The new generation of leaders will need to learn and adapt to multidisciplinary solutions and become familiar with different scientific environments to integrate them seamlessly into a single product. This new vision of the future will apply to many industries, and the leaders who embrace multidisciplinarity will be the ones to thrive.

What I learned from Michael Gareau’s Story?

I believe that all entrepreneurs can take a page from Michael’s book by focusing on strategic partnerships, a lesson that can drive your business to new heights.

Starpax is on the verge of launching human clinical trials in 2024 and is in the process of concluding its fundraising efforts to meet the associated costs. Learn more by visiting investinstarpax.com.

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