‘It’s All About the Kids’

Children Inspire the Team at Silvergate Pharmaceuticals

As a pharmacist managing some of the largest consumer pharmacies in the country, Frank Segrave saw a need. The majority of medications on his shelves—most of them in tablet or capsule form—were proportioned for adult dosages. To fill a prescription for a child, Segrave had to do what all pharmacists did: crush up the adult pills and mix them with a liquid to create a drinkable medicine. Creating precise formulas for children ranging in age and size from tiny newborn babies to growing teens can be challenging.

After some research, he found that the need for medications formulated specifically for children was bigger than he thought. “There are hundreds of thousands of kids getting millions of doses prepared manually on a daily basis,” said Segrave.

In 2010, he launched Silvergate Pharmaceuticals, based in Greenwood Village, Colo., the first company of its kind to develop and commercialize medications dosed for children. The company has three FDA-approved drugs on the market, with five more in development. Segrave said the reactions from doctors, pharmacists and parents have been incredibly positive and the company’s success is prompting more startups to enter the market.

CEO Frank Segrave with Silvergate Pharmaceuticals Team Members

“There are other companies getting into the pediatric space, which in my view is terrific because this is an underserved population,” he said.

After living in different parts of the country, Segrave and his wife, Colleen, wanted to launch the business in Colorado. Frank Segrave chose to locate his company in Greenwood Village, a part of the Denver Tech Center in the southeastern corner of the city, because of its proximity to the University of Colorado School of Medicine, the Anschutz Medical Campus and Children’s Hospital Colorado. Once he established a foothold, local business and networking leaders began reaching out to him.

“Whether it was the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network or Colorado BioScience Association or the State of Colorado or our senators and our governor, or the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, or the Mayor of Greenwood Village—all of these people reached out to us. From day one, they said, ‘Welcome to the community. Is there anything we can do to help you?’”

That kind of supportive engagement is likely the result of Denver’s energetic startup community. When Nicole Frederickson, Vice President of Marketing at Silvergate Pharmaceuticals, moved to Denver from Chicago, where she had worked in biotech and healthcare, she immediately noticed a difference.

“It’s very much a startup culture, an early-stage culture, a city of ideas and innovation with new ways of looking at things.”

At Silvergate Pharmaceuticals, the dynamic team numbers 45 and employees wear many different hats. Frank Segrave creates a vibrant workplace, said Frederickson. “He has the ability to be very engaging and to create a fun atmosphere,” she said. “At the same time, execution and accountability couldn’t be more at the forefront of his management style.”

Segrave said he feels fortunate that he was able to find a group of people that had the same passion he did. “If you walk around our office today, you’ll hear people saying, “It’s all about the kids. It’s all about the kids. It’s all about the kids,” he said. “It helps us keep our focus.”

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