After years of working with tedious and painstaking spreadsheets, Shane Durkee said there's got to be a better way. That's when he left his full-time job for another full-time job, creating Path Forward Formulator—a tool for early-stage R&D work that eschews the traditional spreadsheet in favor of a digital platform. The app is designed to simplify formulation, cost estimation and supplement facts generation with the latest FDA guidelines.
"I've been in the industry a little over 25 years, always in R&D leadership roles, and there was a common theme that I found in those roles at each company," Durkee said. "It didn't matter if it was a small, 35 to 40 million company, mid-size a couple hundred million, or a seven and a half billion multi-conglomerate. All of the early R&D work was done literally on spreadsheets, so you're formulating an iteration, and you're costing and just trying to piece your idea together before you send it for prototyping. And I had thought for quite a while 'there's got to be a better way to do this.'"
"I started talking to a lot of people I knew in the industry that were involved in product development, that were involved in regulatory. My wife's in the industry, she works in regulatory, so I bounced a lot of things off her to find her pain points, for example. And the idea started to form that if I could create an app-based platform that works seamlessly across web and mobile, maybe we have a way to put a tool in the hands of formulators, product developers, innovators, and then make it easy enough that really anybody adjacent to them could use it as well."
Path Forward Formulator simplifies the formulation process by allowing users to select dosage form and ingredients. Users can also get ingredient suggestions based on benefits such as joint health. During the building process, all the calculations are factored in, including items such as potency and standard overages.
Looking ahead, Durkee has his sights set on making the app the standard R&D software platform for the dietary supplement industry. Further down the road, he hopes to have an enterprise software version that is fully customizable for larger organizations.