In the beginning | Annis spent three years in an orphanage before an aunt helped him when he turned 18. He entered Xavier on probationary status.
Past professions | He began his career at the Ford Motor Co., helping develop the auto giant’s computer system. Eighteen years later, he founded his own computer company, SupplyTech Inc. He retired in 1998.
Short retirement | That ended two years later after he met Dr. James R. Baker Jr., a research scientist from the University of Michigan, which had a contract with the Department of Defense to develop defense agents against biological warfare. Baker developed a nanoemulsion that could be used as a decontamination material. Annis envisioned it doing more.
Second beginnings | “Because the stuff is nontoxic and kills all these nasty germs and spores, it lends itself to a great variety of commercial uses. Baker needed someone to build a company for it. This seemed like a stunning opportunity.” Annis formed NanoBio Corp. in 2000.
What is this stuff? | Nano means a billionth of a part. Baker discovered how to apply nanotechnology to medical needs. The nanoemulsion—a mixture of water, soybean oil, detergent and organic solvents—kills microbes such as bacteria, viruses, spores and fungus by creating nano-droplets that attach themselves to the membranes of pathogenic cells. The tension pulls the membranes apart, killing the cells.
The goal | Because the mixture kills germs but not most healthy cells, Annis envisions dozens of uses for the technology: An injured soldier on the battlefield can have his wound treated without surgery or infection. It also appears effective on viruses like HIV and herpes, bacteria including salmonella and spores such as anthrax. Other possible uses: mouthwash, skin cleanser, food or beverage preservative, dandruff shampoo.
The plan | Armed with a patent for the technology, the company will license its use to others for production. Annis plans to take the company public in about two years.
Oh, yeah | Annis’ foundation (www.tedannisfoundation.org) supports poor families in Peru, matching benefactors with projects.