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After winning a scholarship to enable him to go to Charterhouse School, Godalming, Hearn went onto to study Classics (Literae Humaniores) at New College, Oxford University where he majored in Hellenistic culture and Ancient Athenian Democracy. He graduated in 2005.
After keeping daily records of inventions, it was in his first year as an undergraduate at Oxford University that he started his first company aged 19[no citations needed here].
In 2002, Alex attracted the attention of the Enterprise Centre at the Said Business School, Oxford where he founded Oxford Entrepreneurs as the first president. After initially being closed down by the university due to contraventions in IP laws, Hearn funded the initial phase through a bank loan of £5000. The organisation officially launched in 2003 with several key note speakers and support from the university. Since that time it has attracted speakers such as Sir James Dyson, Lord Sugar and Dame Anita Roddick.
In 2006, Hearn founded Kind Consumer a consumer healthcare company, which focuses on pioneering inhalation technologies. After filing the initial patents and being joined by co-founder Dr. Sam Bakri in 2007, the team attracted business angel and latterly undisclosed venture capital from industrials Martin Beaumont, Grant Berry, and Sir Peter Davis. Recently the company has also received investment and backing from Sir Terry Leahy.
Hearn's lead invention is a medically authorised[no citations needed here] replacement for the tobacco cigarette dubbed the Voke Inhaler, a non-electronic medicinal nicotine inhaler using the company's proprietary technology which "aims to mimic the intake of nicotine that is delivered when smoking a cigarette."
The company signed a global licensing deal with Nicoventures in December 2010, a subsidiary of BAT, in its first move into pharmaceutical grade nicotine products. The product is currently undergoing full scientific and clinical testing.
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- "British American Tobacco’s new tobacco-free nicotine: Nicoventures | Industry Leaders Magazine". industryleadersmagazine.com. 2011. http://www.industryleadersmagazine.com/british-american-tobacco%E2%80%99s-new-tobacco-free-nicotine-nicoventures/. Retrieved 7 June 2011.