Shaun Bagai: From Lab Rat to CEO of RenovoRx
With aspirations to become a doctor, Shaun Bagai, CEO of RenovoRx, had a transformative experience early on in his career that gave him the courage to decline medical school and set his sights on developing innovative solutions that positively impact people’s lives.
In this Q&A, Shaun and I explore his background, RenovoRx’s potential life-extending technology, and investor Barbara Clarke’s role in his company’s success.
So, let’s get started.
Parna: Tell me a little about your background?
Shaun: I was born in Canada and grew up in California, along with my two younger brothers. My parents are from India. My passion early on in life was to become a physician. However, I took a year off and decided to pursue a one-year internship at a medical technology company. There, I was enamored by the advancements and realized I could make a much larger impact on the healthcare industry building innovative therapies that would reach many more patients vs. becoming a physician and helping one patient at a time.
I transitioned from being a “lab rat”, taking pictures of pig hearts, to managing my first company’s clinical research program, primarily in Europe, and training physicians. Before declining my medical school acceptance, I shadowed several physicians and was convinced I could have more fun, learn more, and contribute more as a health tech professional. So, I opted out of medical school and launched my career in the medical device industry.
Life is serendipitous and we often don’t know what direction we are going. I have always networked well and looked for mentors, including keeping in touch with a former colleague/customer and the founder of RenovoRx. I met Dr. Ramtin Agah 17 years ago, and after following my career journey, he invited me to be their CEO seven years ago.
Parna: What is unique about RenovoRx’s solution and what are the implications for patients?
Shaun: We developed a new platform to treat cancer by localizing chemotherapy and forcing it into the tissue where systemic chemotherapy cannot reach. We developed and patented a catheter-based procedure called Trans-Arterial Micro-Perfusion (TAMP). We have an orphan drug designation for two tumors, pancreatic cancer and bile duct cancer, and could also apply this to lung and bladder cancers. We skipped the early development of a new drug by utilizing an existing drug that has excellent anti-cancer and anti-DNA replication activity, making it much more effective.