Team:The Webb Schools/Entrepreneurship


Business Plan of the Lighthouse
Executive Summary
    Depression is a common and severe mental health disorder that negatively affects people’s thoughts and actions (DSM-5). Depression impacts about 264 million people worldwide nowadays, and nearly 15% of them committed suicide (WHO). Symptoms of depression may include sadness, aches and pains, self-harm, loss of interest in everyday activities, and avoidance of social interaction.
    The current market for antidepressants and other solutions to treat depression lacks effective methods for treating light to moderate depression. The current medication comes with adverse health effects and produces less significant results for patients with mild depression. Other solutions for treating light to moderate depression, like therapy, produce much less significant results and take even longer to see the treatment results.
    We decided to invent Elummy that could alleviate the harms of oxidations from high levels of ROS that occur in patients with depression and fill in the market gap.
Current solutions:
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) is a common type of antidepressant that is widely used today. SSRIs interact with serotonin, a type of neurotransmitter that regulates emotions (Ferguson et al.). During synapses, neurotransmitters will be absorbed back into the presynaptic terminal (Ferguson et al.). SSRIs help make more serotonin available by blocking the reuptake process. This allows serotonin to build up between neurons in the synaptic cleft to send signals correctly (Ferguson et al.). Unfortunately, SSRIs' side effects include sexual dysfunction and weight gain (Demyttenaere and Jaspers). Research also shows that SSRI barely has any effect in mild depression compared to placebo (Fournier et al.).
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that applies to multiple different mental diseases (American Psychological Association, 2017).
CBT modifies the patients' thoughts pattern to change their moods or behaviors (Dobson, 2018). CBT is a combination of both cognitive and behavioral therapy, targeting challenging, stressful situations. Cognitive therapy focuses on mood and thoughts adjustment, and the other focuses on actions and practices. It gives the patients an idea of which negative actions or feelings result from current distorted beliefs or thoughts instead of inheriting from the past (Dobson, 2018).
However, due to the structured nature of CBT, it might not work for people with complicated mental conditions. Since CBT involves confronting patients' emotions and anxieties, patients may experience an initial period when they are even more depressed and emotionally uncomfortable. Some therapists might even hammer away at the patients' negative thoughts, while paying little attention to the reason behind them might be complex (Windermere).
5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is an amino acid that the body uses to produce serotonin. Depression and many other mental health problems are associated with low serotonin levels (Vashadze). Taking 5-HTP seems to improve symptoms of depression by increasing serotonin levels (Albert). Some clinical research suggests that 5-HTP works better when combined with other substances or antidepressant medications (Kious).
Taking 5-HTP can cause the eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome, a severe condition involving extreme muscle tenderness and blood abnormalities (Gleich). Other potential side effects of 5-HTP include heartburn, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, sexual problems, and muscle problems (Gleich).
St. John Wort
St. John's wort is yellow, star-shaped flowers. There is some strong scientific evidence that it is effective for mild to moderate depression and used for symptoms of menopause.
St John's wort works in a similar way to standard antidepressant medication. Research suggests that it increases the activity of brain chemicals such as serotonin and noradrenaline that are thought to play an important part in regulating our mood (Apaydin et al.). Combining St. John's wort with certain antidepressants can lead to a potentially life-threatening increase of serotonin, a brain chemical targeted by antidepressants, leading to banning the product. Symptoms occur within minutes to hours and may include agitation, diarrhea, fast heartbeat, high blood pressure, hallucinations, increased body temperature, and more (Nicolussi et al. ). However, it doesn't treat mild or severe depression. (University of Rochester)
SWOT Analysis
Compared with the current methods, we have made SWOT analysis for our product.
Unique Value
The Elummy is a new form of product in the existing market for depression treatment. It takes on an entirely new form of delivery from traditional pills or injections. We offer Elummy in the form of candy.
There is a lack of treatment methods for diagnosed patients with only medium to light depression. They are often not prescribed any medication because their effects will not be impressive. The only ways to treat their condition are through therapy, practicing mindfulness, and sports prescriptions like jogging. We provide a third alternative to relieve the symptoms of depression that provides effective results and has no side effects.
Existing products in the market all have different degrees of side effects on the patient, including obesity and increased self-harm or suicide. On the other hand, Elummy creates little to no side effects psychologically or physically to the human body.
Additionally, existing medicine has the same effects on both severe and mild cases. This means that there is no better treatment for patients who are experiencing mild depression to lessen their symptoms. Our product focuses on reducing oxidative stress in patients, and this provides a better alternative for those who have a less severe case.
Lastly, Elummy is offered at a relatively lower price than existing products, making it more accessible for those already burdened with heavy bills for antidepressant treatment and more appealing for potential customers.
Business Model
How is the product presented?
We asked our participants to pick their favorite supplement form in Survey 2, and 61% of them voted for gummies. The gummies will be packed in bags, as it is easy to transport and use.
Our products will be available both online and offline, offered at pharmacies and CVS’ as well as our official website. In addition, our marketing channels will also cover both online and offline channels, including social media platforms, and during community events to raise awareness of depression.
Target Customers
Due to its unique ability to relieve and prevent mild depression, Elummy mainly targets people who suffer from mild depression and people experiencing certain levels of stress. We hope that Elummy could fill the vacancy among the treatments for mild depression and give a new option for the patients. Elummy is an excellent choice for people in healthy conditions to use as a supplement with minimum side effects.
One of the target groups is people with negative emotions and a stressful life but are uncertain about having psychological intervention. The health care product can prevent this group from accumulating negative emotion and developing into a mild depression.
The target group might include people from every age group, including middle school students, college students, young people, middle-aged people, elders, etc. In 2020, 24.6% of the teenagers in China were experiencing some level of depression, and 7.4% of the teenagers suffered severe depression; those are not small numbers for mental disease. Moreover, as the competition becomes stiff, the students often experience huge social pressure from parents, teachers, and friends, leading to mental disorders or breakdowns. Furthermore, the students are not yet equipped with strong mental adjustment abilities, making them vulnerable to depression.
Elummy is also suitable for adults. Having experienced great social pressures, grown-up people could use the help of Elummy to relieve their mental stress, and in the meantime, improve their health and delay their aging process.
Customer relations
We intend to maintain close and sustainable relations with our partners and customers to obtain qualitative and quantitative data and suggestions from people from all age groups.
Customers can contact us through our email. We will respond within two workdays and inform customers if any adjustments are made according to selling policies or the product itself. We will also take full responsibility for any issues that come up during the shipping process. We will do our best to assist the customer with any other inquiries.
We have also set up multiple commercial platforms to contact our customers as much as possible. Such as Wechat public account, bilibili video platform, and an Instagram charity account. By analyzing the questionnaires we sent out to the public, our potential customers spread worldwide, covering all age groups (except infants and young children under 8) and gender groups. This phenomenon had given a positive reply to the commercial promotions that we engaged throughout the months.
By targeting the cellular process of oxidative stress, Elummy provides people suffering from depression and people who are experiencing mental pressure a method that causes lesser harm to the human body than existing antidepressants. Having Elummy as a safer, healthier solution could fill the medical gap that targets mild depression or sub mental health conditions. Elummy could also give alternatives to parts of the existing antidepressants which usually have strong side effects. However, what we created is not a medicine or drug according to the traditional belief. On the other hand, just like our logo, we hope Elummy can become a product that could provide humanistic care and warmth to people who struggle with mental stress, a lighthouse glowing in the dark, lighting up the path towards hope. Through our effort, the patients will not have to be ashamed of their condition, or quit their treatment because of their rejection to the antidepressants. Instead, Elummy relieves mental stress and at the same time, enhances multiple aspects of their body condition.
As people become more educated and knowledgeable about depression, more are seeking help. In addition, more customers are eager to pay for such treatment with few side effects, while being convenient to take and sell at an affordable price. By meeting those customer expectations, our product could inject fresh energy into the depression treatment markets.
Through the innovation in biological effectiveness, humanistic care, and commercial strategies, Elummy could become an epoch-making innovation in depression treatments and prevention.
Revenue and Cost Structure / Financials
Our costs are separated into three categories: product production costs, merchandise production costs, and marketing costs. Within these, our production costs also includes pre-production research and development costs as well as material costs. Our merchandise production costs simply include a negotiated set fee for each item. Our marketing costs cover expenses for on-site visits, stands at flea markets, as well as social media promotion on various platforms.We generate revenue through sales of Elummy and merchandise. The price of our product will be set after reviewing our actual cost.
The current market for antidepressants and other solutions to treat depression lacks effective methods for treating light to moderate depression. We believe that with our technology, the invention of Elummy could alleviate the harms of oxidations from high levels of ROS that occur in patients with depression and fill in the market gap.
Work Cited
Albert, P. R., & Benkelfat, C. (2013, February 25). The neurobiology of depression--revisiting the serotonin hypothesis. II. Genetic, epigenetic and clinical studies. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences.
Apaydin.E.A.,Maher.A.R.,Shanman.R.,Booth.M.S.,Miles.J.N.V.,Sorbero.M.E.,Hempel.S., “A Systematic Review of St. John’s Wort for Major Depressive Disorder.” Systematic Reviews, vol. 5, no. 1, 2 Sept. 2016, DOI:10.1186/s13643-016-0325-2.
American Psychological Association. (2017). What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? Retrieved from
Dobson, D., & Dobson, K. S. (2017). Evidence Based practice of cognitive-behavioral therapy[ebook edition]. The Guilford Press.
Eosinophilia-Myalgia Syndrome. Gerald J. Gleich (2017, June 26).
Jay C Fournier 1, Robert J DeRubeis, Steven D Hollon, Sona Dimidjian, Jay D Amsterdam, Richard C Shelton, Jan Fawcett, DOI: 10.1001/jama.2009.1943
James M. Ferguson, DOI: 10.4088/pcc.v03n0105
K Demyttenaere, L Jaspers, DOI: 10.1177/0269881107083798
Kious BM, Sabic H, Sung YH, Kondo DG, Renshaw P. An Open-Label Pilot Study of Combined Augmentation With Creatine Monohydrate and 5-Hydroxytryptophan for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor- or Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor-Resistant Depression in Adult Women. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2017 Oct;37(5):578-583.DOI: 10.1097/JCP.0000000000000754. PMID: 28787372; PMCID: PMC5578880.
Nicolussi.S., Drewe.J.,Butterweck.V.,Meyer zu Schwabedissen.H.E.. “Clinical Relevance of St. John’s Wort Drug Interactions Revisited.” British Journal of Pharmacology, 19 Nov. 2019, DOI: 10.1111/bph.14936.
University of Rochester Medical Center, (n.d.). St.John's wort. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org
Vashadze ShV. [Insomnia, serotonin and depression]. Georgian Med News. 2007 Sep;(150):22-4. Russian. PMID: 17984558.