Quinton Oswald

Always be fundraising. If it’s not raising the actual cash, it’s enrolling new potential partners for the next raise.


Quinton Oswald was the the CEO of Notal Vision, a cloud based telemedicine company driven by AI tools before retiring in December 2018. Most recently, he served as CEO of Neurotech and prior to that, CEO of SARcode Bioscience, where he was instrumental in the clinical development of lifitegrast ophthalmic solution 5% (Xiidra™) for the treatment of dry eye disease, and its subsequent sale to Shire, PLC. Previously, he was Vice President & Business Unit Head for Genentech’s Tissue Growth and Repair Business. During his tenure at Genentech, Mr. Oswald oversaw the highly successful commercial launch of Lucentis® (ranibizumab) for the treatment of wet AMD. Prior to Genentech, Mr. Oswald led the North American Ophthalmology business for Novartis, which, in conjunction with QLT, Inc., pioneered Visudyne® (verteporfin), the first drug treatment for wet AMD.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

After 30 years of big Pharma and Biotech experience, I joined my first start-up in 2009. Each start-up had been established by a scientific founder and it was my job to take these early programs into late -stage development and then either sell the company or commercialize the product.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My role is to provide leadership to the senior team and to establish strategic and tactical direction on a daily basis. In the spirit of “great ideas degenerate into hard work” my ongoing role is to ensure execution of the agreed strategy. So, coaching and counselling become my key daily activities.

How do you bring ideas to life?

The key to bringing ideas to life is to ensure all options are considered before the strategic direction is agreed by the senior team. We have an annual ideation session where all ideas are examined and the best adopted for the following year strategy, It then becomes my job to enroll and excite the organization through frequent communication and appropriately times town hall meetings. Once the strategy has been agreed then each senior team leader is assigned monthly Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) which are reviewed at monthly meetings. These KPI’s are also cascaded down the organization so that each person knows exactly what they need to deliver. Six monthly performance reviews are done with each staff member to ensure we are on track to meet our goals.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I am most excited about the move to home-based healthcare where patients are monitored for their disease remotely. Using Artificial Intelligence (AI), their remote monitoring devices monitor their condition and contact the doctor if treatment is required. Thus, it becomes the cornerstone of personalized medicine for the future.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

It is more of an attitude-I believe in ongoing “intellectual curiosity” whatever your age. Some people are 30 going on 60 and others are 70 going on 30-it’s a state of mind.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Spend more time studying and keeping one’s mind open to the ideas of others. Nobody has a monopoly on good ideas.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

I am a humble person.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Always be fundraising. If it’s not raising the actual cash, it’s enrolling new potential partners for the next raise.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Building influence networks. When one enters a new market it critical that one understands who drives influence in that market-particularly healthcare.

This happened when I joined SARcode-I did not know any of the ‘front of the eye” ophthalmologists who create opinion in the therapeutic area “Dry Eye”. Working with a market research consultancy, we created an opinion leader ”map” of national and regional leaders in this specific disease. My team and I worked systematically to engage and enroll as many of these as we could. In 12 months, we moved from a “nobody” to an acknowledged future player.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

In my second start-up, Neurotech, the lead program failed so I had to downsize the company (including myself) and pivot to a smaller program to sustain the enterprise.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Marry a remote monitoring healthcare device in your area of clinical expertise with the greatest unmet need and couple it with an AI capability. Then create a small efficient organization that can interface with patients remotely.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Buying two books by Yuval Harari called Sapiens and Homo Deus which both create perspective on our history and future.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Microsoft Office.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Sapiens and Homo Deus.

What is your favorite quote?

“Everyone has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouth”-Mike Tyson in the preface to a book called “Strategy-a history”

Key Learnings:

  • Learning is lifelong
  • Never lose one’s zest or curiosity for/about life
  • When you think you at the top of life’s curve, a new challenge is always presented
  • Develop a healthy respect for others
  • Rediscover God-he can be your best friend and advisor.