Dr. Charles W. Hewitt (Chuck)
Epic BioVentures, LLC, Managing Partner
The world’s first limb transplant could not have been accomplished without the research of Dr. Charles Hewitt. Considered the pioneer of composite tissue transplantation, his current research in bone marrow transplantation, his specialty for the last 15 years, is nationally recognized, and the procedure he is perfecting in the laboratory will advance immunology far beyond present-day practices.
In the 1980s, Dr. Hewitt was part of a team that made medical history. He co-headed the experimental team that first transplanted limbs with cyclosporine, a new immunosuppressive drug at the time. Animals survived and were able to walk. The team also made further medical history by being the first to transplant skin grafts on burn patients using cyclosporine. Expected rejection did not occur. This was one of the first clinical demonstrations of adult immune tolerance (lack of rejection), an important concept in the field of immunology. This led to transplantation breakthroughs, wide-spread media attention and aided Sandoz in gaining FDA approval of the first drug of its kind. Dr. Hewitt, thus, laid the foundation for composite tissue transplantation; the transplantation of tissues for reconstruction involving muscle, skin bone and marrow.
Hewitt earned his Master’s degree in biology (specializing in Immunology and Microbiology) from Cal Poly Pomona in 1980 and believes working in Dr. Jill Adler-Moore’s lab while also working for a urologist doing kidney transplants provided his inspiration to work in transplantation. He credits being able to run a lab at UCI without having a Ph.D. to his excellent graduate education at Cal Poly Pomona. In fact, he published more papers than most of his professors had at USC’s Medical School, where he later earned his doctoral degree.
Dr. Hewitt co-founded BioFX Laboratories, a biotechnology company which manufactures novel bioreagents for the in vitro diagnostics, pathology and biomedical research markets. The BioFX brand is still considered the world leader for products offered in its market segment. Dr. Hewitt served as Professor of Surgery and Chief of the Division of Surgical Research for Robert Wood Johnson Medical School-Cooper Hospital, Camden, New Jersey and was responsible for all fiscal, organizational, and administrative management of basic scientific research, clinical trials, FDA reviews and audits for the Department of Surgery, including the Transplantation and Immunology Laboratory, and the 3-D Cell Culture and Tissue Engineering Laboratory. Dr. Hewitt also co-founded Edge 3-D Imaging which developed and manufactured 3-D microscopy and imaging products for diagnostics, pathology, endoscopy and the life science markets. He has been actively involved in technology transfer between academia and industry for more than 20 years and has used his knowledge and skills to act as CEO and CSO of several biotechnology start-up companies. His interest in working with the National Development Council is in developing a technology transfer center at Cal Poly Pomona or in the California State University system.
Epic BioVentures, LLC, is a Venture Capital / Private Equity Firm specializing in Biotechnology, Med-tech, and Healthcare innovation and commercialization. Dr Hewitt’s role there is Managing Partner. EBV is seeking funding and committed to investing in medtech companies with early exit strategies. EBV's chief objective is to identify the highest quality medtech investment opportunities and using their unique approach to achieve a high return for investors and entrepreneurs. The EBV team has a track record of not only successfully commercializing medical products, but in exiting companies with a significant return to investors. Please visit www.epicbv.com to find out more about the firm.
When he is not busy teaching or researching, Hewitt enjoys skiing and basketball.