Biotech Pioneer Hopes To Heal With Honey

Honey and Honeycomb slice

Show Kayla Rodriguez a jar of honey, and she will tell you its medicine.

Against the odds is one way to describe the young,Latina entrepreneur in the predominantly white, male-dominated, global biotech industry. Kayla Rodriguez, a 28-year old of Puerto Rican descent, co-founded SweetBio, a start-up biotech company that uses honey to heal the body.

Rodriguez started the Memphis-based company with her brother Isaac, 31, who holds a Ph.D. and is CEO and chief scientific officer. Marsalas Whitaker, 25, also a co-founder, is chief marketing officer. Together, they are pioneers in adapting an ancient remedy into an oral-medicine treatment.

Honey has been used for thousands of years because of its wound-healing and antibacterial properties.

Medical patients already enjoy the benefits of manuka honey. Hospitals use it to treat burns, cuts and ulcers. Manuka honey even may be effective against MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus),an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection that sometimes plagues hospitalsand kills patients.

SweetBio, which launched in 2015, is the first company to introduce honey into the practice of dental surgery.The epiphany came to Isaac who knew that skin cells are similar to gum cells and if honey can work on skin, why not on the mouth?SweetBio soon was born.