Local student leads the way in startup launch

Rochelle graduate becomes consultant in promoting new vision loss treatment


ROCHELLE – Therome Innovation Partners, an ocular drug-delivery startup company, has partnered with the Experiential Learning Center (ELC) student team in the College of Business at Northern Illinois University to evaluate the current market and develop a strategy to propel the business forward. 

The Experiential Learning Center is a division of Northern Illinois University’s College of Business that provides undergraduate and graduate students with real-world projects with businesses from Fortune 500 to nonprofits. Some of these companies include McDonald’s Corporation, Caterpillar Inc. and The YMCA.  

For almost 20 years, over 2,000 students have been trusted by businesses to work in an Experiential Learning Center team on projects that would be implemented into their companies. Edgar Lopez, a former RTHS student and recent NIU business graduate, is very thankful for his experience and the skills that he learned throughout the process. 

“As an aspiring entrepreneur myself, the ability to consult another start-up business was incredible,” said Lopez. “I am just thankful for the opportunity to get this hands-on learning experience.” 


Therome is a startup company based in DeKalb that offers a more effective way of administering drugs that help reduce vision loss linked to degenerative diseases, such as wet age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy that effect many senior Americans in this country.  On April 29, the team of student consultants presented their research and business proposal to the owners of Therome and they were very impressed. 

“The owners were really surprised and proud of the work we were able to accomplish,” said Lopez. “The two founding doctors were present and they were so proud of the work we did, they were speechless.”

The former Rochelle Hub serves as a consultant to Therome and has developed a business plan for the company. Lopez and the team of consultants worked on ways for Therome to attract partners and investors. Lopez and the rest of the team used what they had learned in their classes and built on their skills during this exceptional experience, all while doing it for a good cause.

The team was comprised of students with a variety of majors and minors, such as accounting, business analytics, finance, marketing, management, and operations management information systems. Lopez plans to return to Northern Illinois University in the fall to attend graduate school and pursue his master’s degree in business administration. Lopez’s one piece of advice for anybody taking college classes is to apply for a hands-on experiential learning class.

“In these experiences, you learn skills that you can apply both in the classroom and outside now and in the future,” Lopez said.