Stephen Hamm has long been driven by a mission of helping patients. But having worked in the pharmaceutical industry, both within clinical research and marketing, he recognized that the traditional route of developing a drug and getting it approved could take years.
He wanted to do something that could help patients right now. That’s why he’s founded Crest Digital Therapeutics.
The RTP-headquartered startup was something Hamm had been thinking about for a long time, but he officially incorporated the company in 2021.
Its software solution serves psychiatrists and bipolar patients. The practice management tool intends to offer real-time monitoring of how patients are engaged with their treatment plans and will also be able to give early warnings of potential crisis events.
As Hamm talked to more psychiatrists in the field, he became even more certain that patients would benefit from the tool’s encouragement to stay on their meds in between seeing their doctors.
“It just gave me more confidence, the more I learned, that this is a valuable opportunity,” Hamm said.
With a pharmaceutical reimbursement business model, Crest Digital Therapeutics is targeting to build its MVP by next year. Having just completed NC State’s National Science Foundation I-Corps program, Hamm said the customer discovery the team has engaged in gives them even more belief in the product moving forward.
“It’s really validated that there is an unmet need here,” Hamm said. “This is a pain point for these physicians. And so it really has strengthened our idea even more that we really have something here.”
Hamm encourages other entrepreneurs to do as much research, learning and networking as they can when pursuing any sort of entrepreneurial endeavor.
“It’s about perseverance,” Hamm said. “It’s about staying the course. It’s about not getting too distracted.”
And luckily, the Triangle is a great place to do all of that. With programs like NC State’s NSF I-Corps and now the 12-week CED Gro Incubator program that Crest Digital Therapeutics is a part of, Hamm said his startup is refining its business plan while benefiting from the network they’ve created here.
“You can reach out to founders of other companies, and they’re more than willing to pay it forward,” Hamm said. “It’s a really easy environment to start a company.”
But their entire entrepreneurial journey so far—with its networking, customer discovery and business plans—all leads up to one vision, and it’s the same one Hamm has had throughout his career. After all, Hamm said he went into the pharmaceutical industry because of one thing: he wanted to help patients.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about the patient,” Hamm said. “What can we do to help them manage what they’re dealing with on a day-to-day basis? That’s what drives us every day.”