Jacqueline Iversen – Wisdom from a Wellness Innovator 

Empowering Future Pharmacists and Entrepreneurs

Jacqueline Iversen discusses Sen-Jam Pharmaceutical’s innovative approach to pain management, emphasizing proactive solutions, accessibility, and the importance of creativity and perseverance in healthcare.

When it comes to innovation in pain management and wellness, few names resonate as strongly as Jacqueline Iversen. As the Co-Founder and Chief Clinical Officer of Sen-Jam Pharmaceutical, Jackie has dedicated her career to rethinking the traditional paradigms of the pharmaceutical industry. Her extensive background in pharmacokinetics and pain management, combined with her unwavering commitment to improving patient outcomes, has positioned her as a visionary in the field. With over two decades of scientific contributions, including more than 20 published papers, Jackie is not only a leader in clinical research but also a passionate advocate for proactive and preventive healthcare solutions.

Jackie’s journey began with a vision during her research fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering, where she recognized the need for a shift from reactive to proactive pain management strategies. Her expertise as a hospital pharmacist, coupled with her deep understanding of the challenges faced by patients, inspired her to co-found Sen-Jam Pharmaceutical alongside her husband, Jim, a logistics and efficiency expert. Together, they have cultivated a unique approach to drug development, focusing on low-cost, repurposed therapeutics that aim to reduce healthcare expenditures while expanding access to underserved populations.

In this exclusive interview for Entrepreneur Prime Magazine, Jackie shares her insights on the inspiration behind Sen-Jam Pharmaceutical, the personal experiences that fuel her determination to address inflammation, pain, and addiction, and the innovative strategies her company employs to navigate the complexities of the pharmaceutical industry. She also provides valuable advice for aspiring pharmacists and entrepreneurs, emphasizing the importance of creativity, perseverance, and data-driven decision-making in driving meaningful change.

Join us as we delve into the mind of a true wellness innovator and explore the future of pain management and global health through the eyes of Jacqueline Iversen.

How did you and your husband Jim come up with the idea to start Sen-Jam Pharmaceutical?

I founded Sen-Jam Pharmaceu­tical because I had a vision around improving our current standard of pain management which stemmed from my research fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City. It was during that time, decades ago, that I first became fascinated by how the medical community treated pain well after the fact or reactively instead of considering means of preventing or mitigating it proactively.  I am a hospital pharmacist who loves science and sees thousands of people yearly who continue to struggle with ailments, despite the plethora of medications currently available.  I have always wanted to improve outcomes with evidence based ideas that challenge the status quo.  As for my husband; he’s a brilliant business mind rooted deeply in logistics and efficiency.  Bringing that sharp solutions-orientation to the infamously old-school pharma industry has been a true competitive advantage to our success.  Rethinking the industry paradigm, with Jim at the helm as  CEO and I as Chief Clinical Officer, we believed it would result in new, more innovative products reaching patients in need.  And we both wanted that challenge. 

What personal experiences have shaped your determination to create solutions for inflammation, pain, and addiction?

As a pharmacist, but more so, as a human, seeing the devastation and suffering brought onto individuals and their families, plaguing our society and the world by unethical pharmaceutical business practices, utilizing addictive drugs, makes me so angry, that I have felt a personal duty to use my knowledge to help out where I can.  I realized, had alternative pharmaceutical products been developed just before Oxycontin, we could have reduced the risk and devastation of widespread opioid addiction and dependence. I believe that drug development has the potential to change prescribing and drug policy, by educating everyone, and I wanted to share my knowledge this way.  An idea that could be distributed to many.  That’s where my research began, treating pain with a non-opioid agent that also reduces the harmful effects of opioids.  And along the way, I’ve additionally discovered new treatments to reduce inflammation, and safely modulate the immune system, which coincidentally, is intimately tied to pain and addiction.

What challenges have you faced in developing low-cost therapeutics for underserved populations, and how have you overcome them?

The majority of drugs, over 50% each year that obtain FDA approval, are repurposed, low-cost therapeutics that could reduce healthcare expenditure – particularly in the United States, but elsewhere as well – and expand access to all populations.  And the majority of companies develop drugs in that repurposed space; which makes it very crowded.  Yet, the larger investors focus on what we would consider “designer drugs’’ which are where larger pharma companies reside. That risk to reward benefit is extremely high.  This designer investment model makes the length of time to develop a drug longer, for both the pharmaceutical company and the patient.  Which is where Sen-Jam sees the opportunity of rapidly and at low cost, developing innovative products that can challenge the larger pharmaceutical company inventions by targeting the same unique mechanism of action, but with an already available, known to be safe, drug.  So being nimble, is our secret sauce, as we leverage new technology (i.e. artificial intelligence, digital clinical trials, companion diagnostics, collaborative partnerships, etc.) to achieve our goals of bringing new and superior solutions to patients as fast as possible.

How do you envision the future of Sen-Jam Pharmaceutical in terms of its impact on global health?

Sen-Jam is on a mission to extend healthy aging by safely modulating our immune system.  The immune system is just now, being understood and mapped, into a vast web of differentiated cells and mediators that influence our health for a lifetime.  Sen-Jam’s mission is to support an individual’s immune system, by first ensuring propering monitoring, and measuring of the immune system’s role in health and disease. And secondly, or more deliberately, treating inflammation further upstream proactively (meaning before tissue damage and disease have taken root) than current therapeutics do. It’s currently believed that with overuse, our immune system can become fragile, and slow, leading to diseases that require very potent, immunosuppressive treatments (i.e. costly “designer drugs” for Inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, cancer, etc).  By targeting inflammation using a broad-spectrum anti-inflammatory without damaging the immune system more, Sen-Jam is able to proactively change the course of inflammation for more than half the world.  And inflammation comes in several forms: acute, chronic, autoimmune, and low grade chronic inflammation.  We believe we can protect the immune system by preventing and reducing the initial cascade of inflammation that occurs, whether from our environment (diet, stress, allergies, substances of abuse, etc) or from disease (cardiometabolic, autoimmune or cancer).

What advice would you give to aspiring pharmacists and entrepreneurs looking to make a difference in the pharmaceutical industry?

I believe that history repeats itself, and all the large pharmaceutical companies were initially started by a pharmacist, with an idea.  And entrepreneurs are filled with new ideas infused with creativity.  I believe that is where it begins, and then you start walking that path and learning how to do it your unique way.  The industry is massive, and there are a lot of opportunities with some hard work.  So your passion has to be your calling.  Don’t be afraid to bring a fresh mind to these large entrenched problems.  In fact, we believe Einstein had it right when he said “you cannot solve a problem with the same consciousness that created it.”  Trust your instincts when something seems off to you and follow the data fiercely.  The industry needs creative problem solvers like you so go out there and explore what’s possible.  Expect to face adversity, especially where money is holding the power in the room, but have conviction in your beliefs (and your data!) and always do your best.

Can you provide more details about Sen-Jam Pharmaceutical’s recent partnership with a pharmaceutical manufacturer, Manufacturing & Controls (CMC), of your anti-inflammatory injectable, and how this collaboration will impact your product development and distribution?

Our partnership with KVK-Tech is a massive accelerant to our drug development activities.  By working closely and early with our incredibly capable colleagues at this world-class manufacturing and controls organization, we are able to produce the highest quality product in the most efficient means possible. KVK and Sen-Jam forged an initial partnership around our oral mast cell modulator and recently entered a third drug development project together with the plans of developing the first mast cell modulating injectable for hospital use. We believe this product offers a much needed tool for physicians to transform care in that setting.