As a practicing specialist in developmental pediatrics back in the 1980s and ’90s, Dr. Joan Fallon noticed something peculiar about her patients with autism. Though each child exhibited different symptoms and traits, they seemed to have one thing in common: They all ate extremely high-carbohydrate, low-protein diets. “I wanted to see if that was an accident,” she says, so she tested nine of the kids and found they all had low levels of a specific enzyme that digests protein. From that observation, Dr. Fallon created Curemark, now a $70 million-plus biopharmaceutical company in Rye that holds more than 120 patents. In 2017, Fallon was named the 2017 EY Entrepreneur of the Year in New York.
Fallon says that no one is more surprised than she is about her current stature. “I didn’t ever want to be a biotech company. I say that I went into it kicking and screaming,” she says. “Now I love it because it’s like having a big blank canvas, and I get to paint on it. We can innovate every single day, which is wonderful.”
More wonderful is the ability to help children with disabilities. “Autism is the largest unmet medical need in the pediatric world,” Fallon says. “I went into this because it is hard and trying and rewarding at same time, but for us it is all about the kids. If we can make even a little bit of change for these kids, we have made their world a little better.”