3 Innovators Leading the Next Breakthroughs in Technology

Up and coming companies must have aspiring leaders to expand the market for new innovations. These leaders take the common phrase “thinking outside the box” to a whole new dimension. They have the vision to dream of new avenues expanding to new markets and the discipline to make it happen.

Three company leaders that are shaking up their market space are Mary Spio, CEO and Founder of Next Galaxy (NXGA); Felicia Hess, CEO and Director of Drone Aviation (DRNE); and Christopher Missling, Chief Executive Officer of Anavex Life Sciences (AVXL). Each of these leaders has gained an edge over the competition through innovative ideas, bringing on strong talent and building strategic relationships that are hallmarks of growing a successful business.

Next Galaxy Corp. (NXGA) & Richline, a Subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway: Taking Virtual Reality in a Unique Direction

While working at Boeing (BA), Mary Spio headed development of technology that led the way for digital distribution of major motion pictures. Partnering with Lucas Films and 20th Century Fox, she patented technology that has become main stream in the film industry. She now holds four patents for her innovations.

Her most recent project is Next Galaxy Corp., as both founder and President, building content for virtual reality technology. Much like her prior endeavors, Spio has quickly ascended to the head of the field by not chasing others today, but seeing where things are going to be in the future and charting her course there. She has strategic partnerships with Eon Reality, Miami Children’s Hospital and Richline, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B). These partnerships are promising to take virtual reality to a whole new level. Currently the space is mostly dedicated to gaming, yet Spio’s vision is to create software that incorporates VR technology for education, marketing, social media communities and much more beyond gaming. The company has also addressed audio for virtual reality environments with “Ceekars,” a 4D audio headphone and controller set.

Her partnership with Miami Children’s Hospital will deliver educational training to both staff and patients, beginning with CPR and other lifesaving skills through a VR interface. The Richline agreement taps into the eCommerce space, with Next Galaxy creating a virtual reality experience to showcase Richline’s wearable jewelry collection at the JCK Show in Las Vegas. Spio and Next Galaxy have also partnered with elite sports figures and the entertainment industry to create content that will transport VR users to the owner’s box of sports arenas and the front row at concerts.

Strategic Partnerships to Expand Drone Use (Drone Aviation Holding Corp: DRNE)

Felicia Hess, CEO and Director of Drone Aviation, has built partnerships giving this new company a major edge in this expanding market. Most recently, she completed a partnership with CNN, in conjunction with Federal Aviation Administration Pathfinder program, for drone usage on CNN’s news vans. This will enable the company to gain aerial 360 views of events and news as it is happening. As this video shows, the tethered drone has the ability to fly indefinitely, creating an opportunity to deliver footage for current news and even natural disasters in a never-seen-before fashion. Drone Aviation has centered their focus on tethered drones which is currently is within the FAA guidelines. This speeds the ability to produce new products for the military, law enforcement and corporations.

In addition to landing the CNN partnership she has also captured the attention of billionaire Dr. Phillip Frost. He is one of the lead investors in the company and is serving as Chairman of the Strategic Advisory Board. He has a long history of innovation as Chairman and CEO of OPKO Health (OPKO), Chairman of TEVA Pharmaceuticals (TEVA), former director at Northrop Grumman (NOC) and many more. Dr. Frost bringing his expertise to the table at Drone Aviation is a big vote of confidence for investors and helping to expand the company.

New Approach to Alzheimer’s Disease: (Anavex Life Sciences: AVXL)

Dr. Christopher Missling is the CEO and President of Anavex. The biotech company is developing interesting and novel compounds to treat Alzheimer’s disease, CNS diseases and conditions that are of significant unmet medical need. Two decades of health care experience, a MS and PhD from the University of Munich in Chemistry and an MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management underscore Dr. Missling’s science and business acumen.

Missling has amassed a rich pipeline at Anavex, advancing two drug candidates to mid-stage trials. The company is hoping to reduce development risk with its lead drug candidate, Anavex Plus, for Alzheimer’s because it combines Anavex 2-73 with donepezil. Anavex Plus is unique in targeting multiple AD pathways simultaneously at different levels of the disease stage. The company believes Anavex Plus could have commercial appeal due to donepezil, the world’s best selling Alzheimer’s drug marketed by Japan’s Eisai (ESALY) and Pfizer (PFE) as Aricept®, losing patent protection in 2010. Dr. Missling’s resume includes serving as CFO of Curis (CRIS) and CFO at Immunogen (IMGN). He also was in charge of financial planning on all aspects of financial strategy and M&A during his time at Aventis, which eventually became part of what is now Sanofi (SNY) subsequent to a $64 billion merger in 2004.

Durable Alzheimer’s treatments have eluded drug makers for years. The value of an effective therapy was evidenced in the massive initial public offering last week of Axovant Sciences Ltd (AXON), a company with no marketed products, but a heralded Alzheimer’s drug ready to enter a Phase 3 trial.


In today’s environment, successful companies must be able to quickly adapt to changing markets and new technology. These industry leaders have been able to create promising businesses that are capitalizing on new technology, positioning their companies as forerunners in their perspective markets. This should lead to exponential growth, making them companies to watch.