Founder, President, and CEO, Oculus Innovative Sciences
SECRET TO HIS SUCCESS: Conviction
FAVE MOVIE: Gladiator—"It shows the importance of the greater good"
Hoji Alimi, whose father was a general in the Iranian army, was exiled as a teen when the Shah was desposed. "Life wasn't handed to me on a silver platter," he says. He became a microbiologist, honing his skills at AVE (bought by Medtronic) as a biologist and toxicologist. While pursuing his master's degree, he found a promising cancer compound—but his professor refused the data, which contradicted other findings. Alimi used it to found Micromet Labs.
"My wife and I wanted to buy a house," he says. "I told her, we could buy it and that would be our life—or we could take this opportunity. She said to go for it or I'd regret it for the rest of my life."
Another compound soon caught Alimi's attention. An investor sent him a liquid shown to induce rapid wound healing. "For four years, I worked by day at Micromet and then would stay up trying to reformulate the product to be stable. People asked when I was going to give up."
But Alimi didn't give up, and has since shown Microcyn, as trademarked, to be more effective than levofloxicin at helping burn patients leave the hospital, and is effective against drug-resistant bacteria. Now this wound care solution is marketed around the world—and just completed Phase II trials in the US.