Week 31 – That’s a Wrap!
It’s hard to believe that 2019 is coming to an end. It has truly flown by which proves the old saying that “time flies when you are having fun.” Even though I can rant at times (thanks for putting up with them), I still love what I do and would not want to be anywhere else. When I see that we are on our 31st blog, I realize that we have covered a lot of topics this year, from talking about what electrospinning is and providing background about different applications to raising funds and landing our NIH contract. We have covered so much and more is yet to come.
The holiday season always seems to bring an overall good vibe to the business. Maybe it is because this is my favorite time of the year, but there does seem to be a positive buzz around the place. While the team continues to work hard on their respective programs, there is a sense that a well-needed break is coming next week. As December progresses, the outside business communications have slowed down as people head out on vacation or company celebrations commence. This has provided me the opportunity to head into the lab to do some research, help members of the team as needed and get a jump on different aspects on the business side (i.e. arrange meetings with potential strategic partners, formulate long-term financial projections, evaluate potential opportunities). I always look forward to this time and try to make the most of it.
This week continues to bring good news on several fronts. We continue to see positive data from several ongoing preclinical studies. Our NuSpun Vascular Graft has 5 grafts with blood flow at 90 days (“open”) and 2 grafts with blood flow at 180 days. One of the NuSpun Vascular Grafts that was open was made on our manufacturing unit. One of the control Teflon grafts failed to have blood flowing during this test period. We are also in the final stages of fully characterizing our manufacturing and integral water permeation equipment. We have a lot of data to analyze over the upcoming months with more data to come. We also have several more grafts to implant in January that will be used to evaluate puncture properties of the graft, which will be important for patients undergoing hemodialysis.
On the Takeda front, we had additional positive data from a preclinical study that shows superior healing of our electrospun perianal fistula plugs as compared to clinically-used perianal fistula plugs. We are also evaluating drug delivery from our electrospun materials that could be used to treat intestinal disease right at the area of the problem. On the benchtop, we’ve shown that a drug that is incorporated into our materials is not affected by the electrospinning process. We also continue to see initial positive signs in preclinical assessment from our electrospun device used to house cells that can produce different factors like drugs. These cells also have a genetic sequence that allows us to detect their presence by using a chemical that fireflies use as see in the photo. Special thanks to Sachiko and Robbie at Takeda for the image.
We are also making progress on work for the KidneyX program. We have been able to incorporate drug into a targeted area within the graft and show that the drug releases slowly from our material over time. We are initiating benchtop studies with specific cells from the body to see if we can show that these cells are affected by the released drug. Work on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) contract progresses. We are acquiring a robotic unit that will be used to quickly and accurately dispense adhesive onto the plates. We will then be able to attach our electrospun material that will be used to “print” cells onto. The overall goal is to be able to mass produce these diagnostic tools for NIH investigators as well as other scientists. We will have more on this program in the upcoming blogs.
Lastly, we are preparing to relaunch our website in mid-January 2020. There has been a lot of work going on to bring a new look to the website, from developing an animation used to explain electrospinning and the NuSpun Vascular Graft to better defining our product pipeline and making access to news and this blog even easier. These are just a few of the changes that you can expect. We will announce the formal launch date in our first blog in 2020.
In the new year, I plan on continuing to give you an inside look of our business, update you on how the various research programs are progressing and provide you an insight into our next steps. I would welcome your thoughts on topics that you would like to see me cover in the blog. Also, if you have any questions that you would like me to address, let me know. You can directly reach out to me through the website or through our social media outlets. I value the time you put aside each week to see what we are up and consider this YOUR blog too so please do not hesitate to reach out.
Tina and I want to wish you and your family a happy and safe holiday season! Looking forward to seeing what 2020 brings for BioSurfaces. You will be right there with us and we would not want it any other way.