At Innovative Technology Enterprises at UMSL (University of Missouri – St. Louis), we have created an environment that fosters the growth of a variety of companies, large and small. These companies are more than just their products or services. This series of articles seeks to illuminate some of the people that make our tenant companies great, and answer the question: what is going on inside ITE?
Going into an interview with Dr. Allen Kesselring, the original intent was to do a write up of recent developments at EKG Life Science Solutions. As it turns out, EKG has had quite the success these past several months.
“Over the last three years, we’ve been slowly growing in revenue, equipment, and employees. This last year has really been kind of a break-out year for us.”
After wrapping up 2015 with a successful Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration; the first half of 2016 has provided new employees; conference invitations to present as industry experts; and a recently completed flawless FDA inspection. 2016 has been the biggest year yet for EKG.
First of all: the DEA approval and registration. In December 2015, EKG underwent several days of interview and inspection, conducted by the DEA, in an effort to gain approval to conduct analytical testing involving controlled substances. This is in effect a boon to both Allen, and the group’s capability as a whole. The ability to work with controlled substances expands the group’s already impressive pharmaceutical service offerings and opens up myriad possible business directions and opportunities for testing and research.
Allen was recently invited to speak at the Smithers Rapra Extractables and Leechables 2016 conference. Speaking as an invited industry expert from EKG and their sub-group Vape Testing Labs, Allen discussed the variety of leechables associated with e-cigarettes. In non-technical terms, this affirms and validates the status of EKG as a scientific force in their field in the St. Louis region.
And yet again, just a few weeks ago, another department of the federal government arrived at ITE to check in on EKG. This time, it was the Food and Drug administration. The FDA routinely does comprehensive general inspections. They open cabinets; look at data and logbooks; check equipment; and generally scour the workspace looking for points of potential non-compliance. Typically , an organization getting inspected would expect one or two form “483s”, as small mistakes in documentation and other minor violations are quite common. It is notable that over the course of a three day FDA audit, EKG didn’t receive a single observation or notice of violation.
This all relates to EKG’s ability to grow and hire. When they started, Jennifer Eagan, Allen Kesselring, and Katie Grayson separated from their former workplace. Having each worked together for eight years, they decided to form their own company (named after themselves), EKG. They started with no equipment or external staff, just the expertise and drive necessary to build from scratch in the St. Louis region.
“Because we had no equipment of our own, having access to university equipment was critical, we were routinely talking to professors saying ‘Hey can you test this for us?’ and/or ‘can we utilize your equipment to do this analysis?’ That was how it was for us in 2013.”
In 2015, EKG hired two interns and one full time employee. This trend continued in 2016 with yet another full time employee, and with their recent success they plan on continuing the trend and hiring more in 2017. Put another way, EKG is on a path to triple their footprint at ITE since they began operations.
All of this occurring over just a few months signals big things to come out of EKG in the future. To learn more, check out their website.