After working his way from staff pharmacist to Rite Aid pharmacy district manager, Vinnie Dam, PharmD ’07, MS Regulatory Science ’07, applied his love for animals and compounding medications to an entrepreneurial path. In 2017, he co-founded Mixlab, a customer-driven veterinary compounding pharmacy, and serves as the company’s chief pharmacy officer. With locations in New York City and Los Angeles, Mixlab customizes medication ingredients, strengths, forms and flavors specifically for each pet. Here, Dam shares what motivated him to launch Mixlab, how the School of Pharmacy helped shape his career and what the Trojan Family means to him.
Why did you decide to pursue the entrepreneurial path?
Entrepreneurship allows for freedom and flexibility in creating and shaping a company. While entrepreneurs face operational challenges on a daily basis, it’s what makes me excited to come to work. I always liked puzzles growing up, and I feel that being an entrepreneur requires constant utilization of one’s critical thinking skills. If you don’t mind hard work and long hours, and if you’re an innovative thinker who is up for the challenges of the unknown, I highly recommend becoming an entrepreneur.
What distinguishes Mixlab?
Mixlab is a tech-enabled veterinary pharmacy that makes the lives of veterinarians and pet parents easier. The company is focused on efficiency, quality and exceptional customer service. We’ve developed technology to minimize the time it takes for veterinarians to communicate with the pharmacy, which in turn gives them more time to focus on their patients. The best part is that the turnaround time is incredibly quick and delivery is free. Clients living close to our New York City or Los Angeles locations typically receive medications the same day the prescription is received by the pharmacy. Clients farther away or located in other states in which we are licensed receive medications the next day. Our Mixlab team is dedicated to providing an amazing customer service experience that is evidenced by our five-star reviews across every review platform.
What attracted you to veterinary pharmacy?
While working in community pharmacies, I noticed a disparity between pharmacy services for human and veterinary patients. Often, the wait times were well beyond the same-day service that we’d expect for human medications. Sometimes key acute care medications had to be ordered before compounding, which would lead to delays in initiation of therapy. As more and more people consider their pets as family members, it just made sense that we should expect the same level of service and turnaround time for our fur babies.
Tell us about your own fur babies.
I am a proud pet parent to Sophie, a brainy Klee Kai, and Cooper and Dexter, two frisky Abyssinians.
How did the USC School of Pharmacy prepare you for your career?
USC faculty members have always inspired me to be more. Whether in class or in life, I’ve always felt a duty to make my alma mater proud. I still recall moments in class where I was awestruck and proud to be taught by such accomplished individuals.
What advice do you have for those interested in a path similar to yours?
Have faith in your PharmD and have faith in yourself. Never stop learning and continue to work on improving in all aspects of your life. I approach every job as an opportunity to learn, develop, and improve my skills as a pharmacist and leader.
What does the Trojan Family mean to you?
Being part of the Trojan Family has opened so many doors for me that I’ve lost track. Whether it’s because it brings prestige to my résumé or inspires a long conversation about football with a stranger, I am proud to be a part of the Trojan Family.