Industry: Bioscience & Medical
Products: Nutraceuticals and contract formulation and testing services
Founder and CEO Dr. Christopher Shade produces a host of nutraceutical health products, while also licensing his company's technology to outside companies.
According to Quicksilver Scientific promotional material, "You pay for what you absorb."
Through internal lab analysis -- and, yes, the company maintains its own internal lab to run blood samples -- the company affirms that its delivery system can lead to a quicker onset of effects and more than five times the bioavailability for some products when compared with other brands' products. "We're a bioavailability company," declares Dr. Shade.
The catalog includes a wide variety of nutraceuticals. According to Quicksilver literature, Keto Before 6 allows a person to follow a keto diet earlier in the day, yet still "enjoy carbohydrates with dinner" after 6 p.m. Its energy supplements "support excellent cognitive function" and "support healthy mood and memory." Acting as an enthusiastic pitchman in a YouTube infomercial for his Dr. Shade's Liver Sauce, Shade calls the product "the greatest liver detoxifier ever known." The company also makes several formulations with CBD -- a cannabinoid which Shade lauds for its ability to improve people's sleep.
Shade's products enter the body by being sprayed into the oral cavity. The active ingredients are in either a liposomal or a nanoemulsified form -- which are both created by coating a liquid- or oil-soluble ingredient with a membrane. The particles are then reduced in size using a homogenizer, making them easier to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Although other companies market nanoemulsified and liposomal products, as well, Quicksilver boasts stabler formulations and smaller nanometer particle sizes, which allow easier uptake by the body.
Quicksilver Scientific isn't the only company benefiting from its ability to formulate products. Currently, the company licenses its technology to cannabis businesses Wana Brands in Colorado and Sunderstorm in California. And there's also a joint venture deal between Molson Coors and Hexo, of which Shade says, "We're providing the emulsion technology for them to release [in Canada] a whole line of CBD, THC, and herbal beverages -- all those combined [acting in synergistic fashion]."
Shade, now 50, received his PhD in environmental chemistry from the University of Illinois, studying the absorption of mercury into the bodies of animals. That led him to testing his own body for heavy metals -- and having grown up in the steel town of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Shade says he had large enough amounts to concern him. Eventually, he formulated ways to detoxify people like himself from them.
Originally, Quicksilver entered the health market by providing testing for heavy metals, but then pivoted in 2009 by launching a line of wellness products. As examples, those now include liposomal formulations of melatonin and glutathione (which Shade says can help remove mercury from the body), and nanoemulsified cat's claw and COQ10. The products are sold online and at the offices of naturopaths, chiropractors, and MDs.
In 2012, the company began to market hemp CBD extracts. Shade calls CBD "the most important ingredient to come into functional medicine in the last 30 years, because of how much it does for the body." He says it has a calming effect on the overexcited nervous systems of people diagnosed with, for instance, autism and Lyme disease, who experience over-dominant cycles of fight or flight, rather than repair and regenerate. The company purchases hemp CBD oil -- extracted using ethanol or carbon dioxide, before being cleaned up through a process like distillation -- which it then uses within in its own nanoemulsified products.
For 2019, the company ranked #652 on the Inc. 5000 list of privately-owned companies. Between 2015 and 2018, Shade says Quicksilver enjoyed "100 percent growth" per year. "That was really meteoric growth -- and a challenge to grow around that," says Shade. "Now, we're sort of shifting into developing our next markets and our next partners."
At its certified CGMP headquarters in Lafayette, the company does its R&D work, its Clinical Testing Services, and its product manufacturing. It employs HPLC technology (for measuring the potencies of its base ingredients and its products going out) and LC-MS technology (used for testing blood samples for contaminants). There's a DLS machine that measures the sizes of the particles it's created in nanometers -- as well as those of competitors. And there are pharmaceutical vessels for making final products. Its water-purifying and deionization system was designed by an investor, a onetime defense worker who went on to invent the spot-free car wash, according to Shade.
Shade says the most fulfilling part of his job is "[h]elping heal people, without a doubt." He cites his encounters with parents who administer Quicksilver products to their children diagnosed with autism, and witness positive changes in them; and other people, once bedridden, who are now functioning again. "You get a lot of those stories of really profound changes," he says. "That easily keeps driving you."
Challenges: Explaining to people the economics behind what they're buying, and why their purchase might be more cost-effective -- even though it costs more. Shade says, "[It costs] two times as much, but you can [get] five times more in your body. [Customers] have to be ready for this new technology."
Opportunities: Word of mouth via "early adopters" of the products, says Shade. He says there are opportunities within Silicon Valley and Hollywood "to get with enough of these high functioning players, and show them how it can really change their life, and have them sort of be the pioneering users there."
Needs: A more educated market when it comes to liposomal products, says Shade. "To get the right voice into the market about the importance of this kind of technology."