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Team Name: Mycos Supplements

University: University of Lethbridge

BIG IndeaBounce 2023 finalist

Concept: Extracts of different mushrooms containing vitamins and metabolites with medicinal value have been combined to create organic, vegan, and GMO-free daily supplements to solve common human illnesses and problems.

Challenge: Currently, hundreds of millions of people suffer from diseases including sleep disorders, depression, brain diseases, heart diseases, and metabolic disease to name a few. While some receive prescribed medications, many problems are unresolved and as a result, an increasing number of people are consuming supplements and natural health products as a remedy to their problems, to prevent diseases, and to improve their overall well-being. Furthermore, many people consume supplements to improvement their physical appearance, including for their skin or hair, or for promoting muscle growth. Although some supplements may be beneficial, many supplements sold have no proven medicinal benefits or the few known effects are exaggerated. In addition, supplements are usually not vegetarian/vegan-friendly, highly processed, and are chemically produced or biosynthesized from genetically modified organisms. Due to ideological beliefs, customers have few options, if any, for supplements that are efficacious. Simultaneously, few mushroom-based supplements are currently produced despite well-documented medicinal effects. Extracts and active compounds found within mushrooms have been proven to improve mental clarity, improve depression, reduce inflammation, regulate glycemic levels, improve sleep quality and circadian rhythms, reduce joint and muscle pain, improve muscle repair post-workout, and delay signs of aging in skin appearance and brain function. However, extraction of active compounds is often required as consumption of whole mushrooms is not efficacious due to indigestible fungal walls prevents absorption of the active components. As a result, few people, if any, benefit from the recognized medicinal benefits of mushroom extracts.

Solution: Mycos Biotech has developed specialized formulations of mushroom extracts to unlock the medicinal potential of mushrooms as supplements. To date, Mycos Biotech has created eight different formulations to target specified niche areas. These areas include anti-aging cosmetics, sleep improvement, heart health, brain function, muscle recovery, anti-depressive and anxiolytics, immune system boost, and anti-hyperglycemia supplements. Our specially designed supplements are organic, non-GMO, vegan-friendly, and contain high concentrations of vitamins, beta-glucans, and other medicinally valuable metabolites, while remaining minimally processed and 100% natural. While some competitors sell a generalized mushroom powder, our specially designed extract formulations maximize the bioavailability and effects of medicinal metabolites and work synergistically to target one specified problem. Furthermore, all supplements we have created our stackable, therefore, more than one supplement can be consumed concurrently if one has multiple ailments. The development of our formulations will unlock the benefits of mushrooms while expanding the supplement industry to customers that are vegan, environmentally conscious, and concerned about non-natural/GMO-produced supplements.

The Market: This past year, the global supplement industry is reported to have 1.42 trillion dollars in revenue. While yearly revenue is 1/9th of the pharmaceutical industry and has consistently grown year-over-year, time, and cost to bring a product to market are also drastically less for dietary supplements than pharmaceuticals. Our supplements will not only cut into this large market but will also expand to new customers as they are designed fully from mushrooms, are 100% natural, minimally processed, organic, and are vegan-friendly. In contrast, most supplements are either chemically synthesized, made from genetically modified organisms, or, sometimes, are highly processed from natural sources.

Competition: As of currently, only a few companies produce and sell single mushroom powders, but they do not create combinations of mushroom extracts or target their products to a specified market by advertising as a solution-based product. Instead, competitors produce a mushroom powder/extract from one species of mushroom and advertise their product to assist in a wide range of areas. As a result, their product and branding does not advertise or emphasize a specific solution, but instead emphasizes the mushroom species. This method results in a consumer base of mushroom fanatics that are well versed in the benefits of consuming that mushroom.

Value Creation: As of currently, only a few companies produce and sell single mushroom powders, but they do not create combinations of mushroom extracts or target their products to a specified market by advertising as a solution-based product. Instead, competitors produce a mushroom powder/extract from one species of mushroom and advertise their product to assist in a wide range of areas. As a result, their product and branding does not advertise or emphasize a specific solution, but instead emphasizes the mushroom species. This method results in a consumer base of mushroom fanatics that are well versed in the benefits of consuming that mushroom.

The Team: Chief Executive Officer: Gregory Robinson completed his Bacherlor’s and Master of Science in Physiology and Pharmacology at Western University. Currently, Gregory is a PhD Candidate at the University of Lethbridge (expected graduation is in 2024) and an MBA Candidate at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (expected graduation is in 2024). During his PhD, Greg realized the medicinal benefits of mushrooms were underutilized and subsequently founded and incorporated Mycos Biotech in February 2022.
Chief Medical Officer: Dr. Marta Gerasymchuk completed her MD and specialized in internal medicine at Ivano-Frankivsk National Medical University in Ukraine. Subsequently, Marta received her PhD in pathophysiology and became an associate professor at Ivano-Frankivsk National Medical University. Marta completed a second PhD at the University of Lethbridge studying formulations of cannabis and other natural health products for anti-aging cosmetics. In 2022, Marta joined Mycos Biotech and aided in developing our formulations.
Vice President of Marketing: Lian Barkema completed her Bachelors of Science and Master of Management at the University of Calgary. During her time at UCalgary, Lian worked with multiple start-ups and consulting agencies before joining Mycos in 2023 to develop the branding and marketing of Mycos supplements.
Mentors / Academic Supervisors: Dr. Igor Kovalchuk and Dr. Olga Kovalchuk are Professors at the University of Lethbridge. Previously, Dr. Kovalchuks received their MD/PhD from Ivano-Frankivsk National Medical University. Dr. Kovalchuks have started multiple successful companies in Canada that have received funding from government sources, private investors, and venture capitalist firms.
Incubator: Agility at the University of Lethbridge.

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