Provita Pharmaceuticals: The Only Student-Run Pharmaceutical Company in the Nation

Eesha Oza


Provita Pharmaceuticals is a pharmaceutical company which prides itself in being the only student-run pharmaceutical company in the nation, and it is located right here at the Bergen County Academies! Through the research, development, and distribution of new technologies, Provita aims to integrate business principles with medical innovations to improve the efficacy of medical treatments around the world. 

Provita Pharmaceuticals was founded in 2008 at the Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, New Jersey, in the school’s Stem Cell Research Lab. Provita has worked on several projects since its inception. 

Initiated shortly after the company was founded, “Coagula” was a product which aimed to decrease the amount of injections hemophiliacs have to suffer. A more recent project, “MeshCare,” is a drug that prevents adhesions on the wrong side of the body for implementations in surgery recovery. Other projects include “Replivax,” a novel vaccine intended to treat the West Nile Virus, “VitaClick,” an injector system for myocardial infarctions, and “PatchAid,” a transdermal patch for hypertrophic scarring.

Students who wish to be a part of Provita Pharmaceuticals must participate in an extremely selective application process. This school year, out of the over 50 sophomores who applied, only eight students were selected for the business and legal sector, and eleven were selected for research. 

In order to be part of Provita, students must complete a written application which details their research or business experience, interest, and qualifications. From this stage, many applicants are rejected, after which the remaining students proceed forward to the interview stage. 

Interview candidates undergo a selective interview conducted by the Chief Executive Officer (Reia Lee), Chief Scientific Officer (Anna Akerele), or Chief Financial Officer (Drea Chakravorty), after which they are either accepted or rejected to the company shortly after. 

Provita is a Wednesday Project open to sophomores and juniors; the business and research students meet with their respective teammates for two periods each Wednesday. The current projects in the 2022-2023 school year are MeshCare, RepliVax, Scaffold Aid, and Patch Aid, however the PatchAid team is developing a new project to replace an ongoing project that previous years had been working on. 

“We’re now looking at diabetic neuropathy and finding potential therapeutic compounds,” said Vidhi Bansal, a sophomore in the Academy for Medical Science Technology and a student researcher working on PatchAid. “Trying to design a product with therapeutic value completely from scratch is a very new experience for me and I love working with my group.” 

While the research sector is busy developing research plans outlining their experiments, business teams are creating competitive analyses of their products and researching their target markets as well as existing products. 

“We’re using research as a basis for different types of documents that analyze not only Provita as a whole, but each product’s development,” said Ananaya Jain, a sophomore in the Academy for Business and Finance and a member of the business team working on MeshCare. “We’re also slowly developing our final report for a variety of presentations, such as our annual FDA presentation, and preparation for grants and competitions.”

The Academy Chronicle recently had the opportunity to speak with the CEO of Provita Pharmaceuticals, Reia Lee, a junior in the Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology. When asked about what she has learned from her time involved with Provita, Reia said that her experience has been extremely positive and memorable. 

“I have learned a lot about cell biology research and other aspects of research that I would not have been exposed to otherwise,” said Reia, CEO of Provita and former PatchAid Student Researcher. “After becoming CEO, managing Provita has taught me leadership and organizational skills. Last year, I was able to present our work to someone from the FDA, which was also a really cool experience.”

The productivity and team-dynamic of Provita Pharmaceuticals is certainly enhanced due to the motivation of the involved students, who are enthusiastic about furthering their ideas and are curious about exploring the way the research and business worlds can intersect. 

According to Ananaya, “Provita is still developing, but as we move forward we need more research-based focus so as to allow the business sector to actually begin full-fledged operations with products. Asides from additional aid in research, raising awareness about our company is necessary as we try to expand and push our products out.” For this reason, Provita Pharmaceuticals’ researchers meet with their respective business teams frequently, in order to exchange ideas and establish a clear line of communication between the two sectors. 

Reia Lee, when prompted to share advice for young students with a passion and interest in pursuing research, said, “Start doing things early! It might be harder for younger kids to really start research, but there are increasing opportunities now and more resources available online.” 

Provita Pharmaceuticals cannot wait to see what the future entails for the medical technology industry, as business and research students continue to collaborate and innovate unique medical treatments which will change the world and inspire future generations to do so as well.