This presents opportunities for cross-pollination and partnerships to form among residents of the relatively small town of Boulder.
Max Stock, CEO and president of biotech company Signum Biosciences, met Adam Hyp, an entrepreneur and marketing consultant as well as personal trainer and mixed martial arts practitioner, on the mats at Easton Training Center, where they attended the academy’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) classes.
Through a shared love for the art and sport, they became friends, and Max invited Adam on board his company, which specializes in developing therapies for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders and skin conditions.
Max, who co-founded the company with his father Jeffry B. Stock in 2003, first experienced Boulder as a student at CU where he graduated with a degree in molecular biology. The two founded the company based on research that Jeffry, a professor at Princeton University, had done on compounds that could influence cellular imbalances around skin health and aging.
After running the company for some years out of New Jersey where its research labs operate, Max decided that Boulder, with its roots in wellness and tech, held the perfect opportunity for the company to grow. Max moved back to Boulder and opened up the company’s corporate office at 4999 Pearl East Circle in 2015.
Signum + Cells
Focusing on deep cellular health, Signum seeks to improve overall health by improving signaling pathways inside of cells. The company does this through developing drugs for diseases like rosacea, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and developing cosmetic formulations for irritations, redness, and anti-aging.
It licenses its compounds and patents to other companies including Elizabeth Arden, Neora, and several Japanese companies. Particularly in Japan, Max has found that cosmetic companies tend to appreciate the science behind Signum’s products more than companies that rely on marketing.
While initially focusing on the cellular health of skin and topical cosmetics to improve and maintain it, the company has expanded its research to uncover micronutrients that promote brain health as well.
Signum, though having built its reputation as a research and formulation-based middleman in the development between the labs and cosmetic companies, has recently announced a direct-to-consumer skincare line based on two main ingredients: a botanical chia seed extract that rebuilds the skin and a fatty acid called Hyvia, both patented by the Stock family.
Startup + collab mentality
Boulder’s huge pool of motivated people, and their willingness to help each other out, as well as its robust marketing companies and innovative businesses, makes the city a vibrant entrepreneurial community.
“It’s a very open atmosphere here,” says Max. “Even though we aren’t a startup, I have a startup mentality. And I find that to be true in all of our interactions — from going on bike rides to doing BJJ to cross fit, you run into so many different people who are willing to share their experiences and knowledge.”
Boulderites know the city offers big opportunities, but without the extreme hustle of New York or the cutthroat environments of Silicon Valley and San Francisco. Entrepreneurs and industry experts choose Boulder often to get involved in a much bigger picture, opting for community over competition.
“That isn’t necessarily the case around the entire country,” adds Adam, who came to Boulder from Philadelphia. “Things can be very closed off. Like, ‘my secrets are my secrets, you figure it out on your own.’ In Colorado, it’s like ‘let’s share what we have and we’ll grow as a group.’”
As Signum Biosciences plans to launch its skincare line around the third quarter of this year, it also looks to expand and set up formulation labs in Boulder.
Header Image: Signum’s lab in Princeton which develops formulations for its Boulder HQ. Image: Signum Biosciences.