Provita Pharmaceuticals isn’t your regular biotechnology company. For one, it’s focused on creating a “flying syringe,” a tool using mosquitoes to deliver vaccines to those in need. More surprisingly, no one on its staff is over the age of 18.
Joshua Meier is the CEO of Provtia, even though he’s 16 years old. While most 16-year-old boys are dreaming up ways to snag dates, Meier’s company has given a presentation to the FDA and submitted its grant idea for the flying syringe to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Provita was founded in 2008, before Meier had entered high school. He was part of a group of seven magnet high school’s programs that were focused on subjects from business to medicine. His group, which was science-focused, collaborated with the business-focused students and created a business plan for Provita.
The Bergen County Technical Schools district funds Provita, given the company access to everything from a stem cell lab to a microbiology lab. Its first project was Coagula, which aimed to reduce the amount of injections suffered by hemophilia and von Willebrand patients.
Now, it’s working on the flying syringe. The idea is genetically engineering mosquitoes to produce and deliver a vaccine for the West Nile Virus, similar to plans with malaria.
And the company does it all for educational gain, not a profit in sight.