Amanda Drobnis is leading the way in regenerative therapies—and encouraging women along the way
From the magazine
It all started with a hip injury. Amanda Drobnis, Chief Executive Officer of Hilltop BioSciences, was always a horse person. She grew up riding in the hunters and switched to dressage in college. An animal science and business student at the University of Vermont, she was a member of the well-known UVM Co-op, a program where students bring their horses to school and work at the barn in exchange for most of their board.
After college she had a horse in Arizona for a short period of time, but later began to bounce around barns, riding whatever she could.
It was when she was riding a friend’s horse that the pain started.
“Any no stirrup work or anything in a half seat would hurt my hip,” Drobnis tells The Plaid Horse. “I would take a few days off of riding but time off didn’t ease the pain.”
It wasn’t until she was skiing and got stuck at the top of the mountain due to her hip issue that she decided to look into a solution.
Drobnis’ father was working on an alternative medicine product made from birth tissue that would be injected into the hip. The product was known to have important healing factors that would reduce inflammation and repair the fiber structures in the tissue.
Six months post injection, her hip was completely better and she was back to riding after nearly eight months of pain.
Shortly after, a friend’s horse got injured. Her experience with alternative medicine got her thinking about how she could create something to help animals heal from injuries just like hers.
From there, Hilltop BioSciences was born.
The company was first incorporated in 2018 with the goal of bringing innovative regenerative therapies to market in an effort to improve the lives of animals.
Drobnis’s career background was primarily rooted around animals, including an eight year run at Petsmart, primarily doing marketing for their charities among other roles.
With a strong background in both bioscience and marketing, she was able to get the company off the ground quickly, even garnering attention from veterinarians who were interested in the company’s pipeline.
“From very early on, we started working very closely with the United States Show Jumping Team veterinarians,” says Drobnis. “We really respect the relationships that we have with them. They have been an amazing sounding board for us.”
How Does It Work?
In the simplest terms, the therapies that Hilltop Bio currently has on the market signal healthy cells to come to the spot of injury, inflammation, or need and heal the body. Currently Hilltop Bio’s product line includes solutions for soft tissue injuries, routine joint injections, wounds, corneal ulcers, and summer sores.
Hilltop Bio is working on two studies; one for osteoarthritis in dogs and a blind, randomized controlled study on horses with asthma.
“Everything we do at Hilltop is rooted in science,” says Drobnis. “We put a lot of energy, effort and time into the science. It’s really something that differentiates us. We see our products through on a scientific level.”
The products that Hilltop has available have helped hundreds of horses and dogs, but one particular type of patient stands out to Drobnis.
“I love hearing about a child’s pony getting back out in the ring after an injury,” says Drobnis. “I love hearing that they don’t have to invest a lot of money and can get their pony back in the ring.”
In fact, Hilltop’s regenerative therapies are typically a more economical option for people. One treatment is usually all each animal needs.
Confidence is Key
Outside of the office, Drobnis is a mom to two-year-old Ella, who she occasionally will take to the barn to visit with friends’ horses. She says that ninety percent of her day is spent talking to her team and support staff, who she credits the success of the business to, and are also majority female.
“They are amazing. We try really hard as a team to really focus on our company culture,” says Drobnis. “Everyone has a life outside of work and we all have to be supportive of each other’s hobbies and activities and families.”
The feeling from her team is mutual and Drobnis is recognized by staff for being a great boss and a hard worker.
“At Hilltop we have a really good work/life balance, but for Amanda it’s all day, every day,” says Kiira Lizza, Northeast Sales Representative at Hilltop BioSciences. “She’s an amazing boss to work for. It allows me to do what I love and still have time for everything else.”
As a female entrepreneur, Drobnis encourages other women with an interest in blazing a new trail to go for it.
“You can do it! That’s the number one piece,” says Drobnis. “As women, we have a tendency to undersell ourselves. It’s hard for me to really look at what I’ve accomplished and recognize it. My advice is to start out confident. We all have to have the confidence to say ‘I’m super cool.’”
To learn more about Amanda Drobnis, Hilltop BioScienes, and all of the products in their pipeline, visit hilltopbio.com.