Former Biotech CEO Richard Hollis Unveils Web Startup Holonis

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trial to conserve the company’s remaining cash. In opposing the shutdown, however, Hollis said he sided with Hollis-Eden’s scientists. They noted that a sub-group of patients had improved with the treatment, and argued the clinical trial should be allowed to run its course as originally planned.

In the 10-K filing, the company notes that a retrospective analysis of unaudited data showed that 10 patients who were representative of “the inflamed, obese, insulin-resistant, diabetic population” were found to “show improvements in clinical parameters.”

So there is some support for Hollis’ explanation in the company’s regulatory filing. The company also noted in its filing that it made no changes in its internal financial controls after Hollis left. But the company never disclosed if such a dispute was, in fact, the reason Hollis was fired—or if there were additional grounds for his dismissal.

“I only owned 18 percent of that company by 2009,” Hollis told me. “I didn’t have the voting control to carry out the vision I had for almost two decades.”

Meanwhile, Hollis-Eden changed its name to Harbor BioSciences almost a year after Hollis was ousted. The company fell out of compliance with listing requirements for public companies in 2010, and the Nasdaq exchange delisted the company’s stock that September. The company changed its name again in 2012 to Harbor Diversified.

Hollis called his experience with Hollis-Eden devastating. “When I lost Hollis-Eden, it was like losing a child, and I had to recuperate,” he said. “I had to dust myself off and reinvent myself, and come back at it in full fervor.”

Otherwise, Hollis said that making the transition from the life sciences to a Web startup has been relatively easy. “I became very confident [about working] in digital code, and what I could create and translate, and I wanted to retain control,” he said.

He said retaining control is one reason why he has self-funded Holonis, which currently has 16 employees in San Diego, including a chief technology officer and director of engineering, and 15 coders in India.

In two weeks, he added, Holonis will be making its debut at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, TX. “To me, there are brighter days ahead,” Hollis said.

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Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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2 responses to “Former Biotech CEO Richard Hollis Unveils Web Startup Holonis”

  1. Mark King says:

    Richard Hollis is back at it! I can’t wait to see what he releases. He is a big thinker and I am sure Holonis.com is gonna be something special if he had anything to do with it.