The Challenges of Dreaming Big with ResQ Pharma CEO, Paul Burton

From growing up on the west side of Chicago to working in investment banking following law school, Paul Burton created waves in multiple industries before he was CEO of ResQ Pharma.

During his undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Paul began working as a lab assistant in the pharmacology department and studied the tolerance of morphine. It was during this program that Paul excelled in his research and was exposed to all that is associated with a life science researcher. During this time he was also a cadet in the US Army, which would lead him to active duty during the Gulf War.

Upon returning to Chicago, he finished his second bachelor's degree in english and then applied and was accepted to the University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign College of Law. One year into his program, Paul was recruited to the MBA program. Through these programs, Paul joined multiple organizations, including the Black Law School Association.

I was thinking that this venture would be a
difficult and long process because of the industry it was in...
— Paul Burton

"I grew up in a modest household and had a view of the African American law students of being privileged and that we were not giving back to the community," he said. It was this observance that prompted Paul to organize several community service events in the inner cities of Chicago and promote interaction between other law students in different geographies.

Some of the students in the organization were involved in investment banking and this is where Paul's fascination with investment strategy began. This interest in the industry led him to be recruited by investment banks in New York where he joined Salomon Brothers as a Summer Investment Banking Associate.

From 1998 - 2006, Paul worked in investment banking in New York City and he began venturing into other industries including real estate. It was the dream of owning his own business that brought him back to Chicago. In 2006 Paul acquired a business serving the real estate market in the Chicago area. However, the trajectory of that business was hit with the real estate crisis and the business was forced to close. As Paul was back working in financial advisory on a small scale, he met a trauma surgeon through a friend at church that had a business venture he wanted to share.

"The product was an oxygen carrying resuscitation fluid. I was thinking that this venture would be a difficult and long process because of the industry it was in, but when I was told that the product would help with septic shock, I was interested in learning more," Paul said.

As you live your dream the only regret you will
have is that you didn’t dream big enough.
— Paul Burton

The survival rate of Septic shock is very low and the condition presents a substantial unmet medical need. The surgeon’s potential product offered a substantial improvement over the current products used to treat this condition.  This led to further discussion and Paul challenged the surgeon to get his work published in a peer-reviewed journal and attain five letters of support from experts in the field. If the surgeon could do this Paul promised he would present the opportunity to his investment banking network as a potential investment.

Ten months later the surgeon came back with letters  of support which included one from the University of Maryland School of Medicine head of Trauma. The two partnered together and raised an initial $1 million in capital for the surgeon’s product.  During this process, Paul was introduced to Dr. Guy Weinberg of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine and was invited to become CEO of ResQ Pharma.  

At ResQ Pharma "We have raised a total of $1,050,000 of seed capital and are looking to have market entry of Lipid Rescue Therapy, our lead product, in the first quarter of 2018," Paul stated. With so many accomplishments and exciting things to come, Paul states this when giving advice to young founders, "Ensure that your idea/dream is large enough. As you live your dream the only regret you will have is that you didn't dream big enough."

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