Week 30 – Full of Hope, Full of Promise, Ignorant of Reality

This expression is one on my favorites and really sums up what I feel an entrepreneur has to live by. This saying comes from the movie Valentine’s Day (for all 10 of you who may have seen it – it wasn’t a blockbuster). A TV reporter is reporting a story about young love (a la Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner playing the couple) and the couple begins to express their affection for each other. The reporter turns to the camera without missing a beat and delivers this great line. As I was thinking about what to talk about this week, this saying came right to my mind. It is a way of life that most entrepreneurs unintentionally live by because their business is one of their main “loves.” You tend to look at the business with rose colored glasses. Even when many aspects of the business are going well, the reality is that you need to look at the business in its totality to make sure that no unexpected outcomes occur. The idea of being ignorant of reality is not intentional, but occurs more often than you expect. You read about this from so many entrepreneurs that have come and gone before you. You hope that you can avoid being “blinded by love.”

When Tina and I first started the company, I had the idea of Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams (a lot of movie references today) that “if you build it, they will come.” Sadly, the scientist who is eternally optimistic and loves what he does was very ignorant of the reality that building something really good is not good enough. You have to look at all aspects of how to make a business successful and even if you know all that needs to be accomplished, you may not be able to execute the vision. We have been generating some really positive results, lining up or continuing discussions with potential strategic partners and receiving new inquiries about the technology. All good stuff. I know that all of this can end without raising money. You may be saying that I’ve been reporting a lot of good progress so how is it possible that companies, people or investors are not jumping all over our work. It is a good question and one that frustrates me because it is not a simple answer and most are out of my control. Some of the things I’ve heard are: the markets are not big enough (a.k.a. – we can make millions but it is not billions if it is successful), we have not brought a product forward so what do we know, you are not from MIT or Harvard so you are not a thought leader, or you are a small company that is not focused. I am convinced that if we are going to be successful in the end, we will need someone that believes as much as we do in our technology, believes that we have the passion and vision to succeed, courage/willingness to take a chance and a little luck being able to find this “angel.” I am still optimistic but not ignorant of reality. While it may require us to pivot if necessary, we have put in place a good business strategy plan that will hopefully accommodate for any hiccups along the way.

As I mentioned, we continue to make excellent progress on our development programs. This continues to fuel me as we make the push to move the technology forward. We received more good news about the NuSpun Vascular Graft. A second graft that was implanted for 180 days had blood flowing through the device. More grafts will be evaluated over the next several weeks but the initial data looks promising. We evaluated a new electrospun suture (Bio-Spun™ Suture) that could be used for various applications. For this initial analysis, we evaluated how the device would handle and close skin. As you can see from the image, the Bio-Spun™ Suture did a great job of closing the wound. Very early stages for this device, but the initial tests were positive. We continue to make progress on our work with Takeda. The devices we are developing to treat complications related to gastrointestinal disease are undergoing extended preclinical studies. Lastly, we continue to make progress on developing our material technology for our recent contract received from the National Institutes of Health. The resulting cell culture insert plates, which serve as a diagnostic tool, will have specific cells such as eye cells “printed” onto them in order to evaluate drug interactions at the benchtop. So many promising results!

As I mentioned, we will need a little luck in meeting the right partner. We can also try to make our own luck. You can be part of this by spreading the word. Share this blog. Tell your friends. You never know who in your network could be the one that could help us make our dream of bringing this technology to help people a reality.

Have a great weekend!

Matt

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