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Week 1 – Promise of a New Year

Happy New Year! Hope you and your families had a great holiday too. It is always good to get some down time. This time allows you to clear your head and get refocused on the upcoming next few months. It was nice to get a few days of just spending some time with family. That is the reason Tina and I have provided this time to our crew. I was fortunate that early in my career, my bosses provided me this time off to spend time with the family. I always felt more productive when I returned since I was taking a “fresh” look at my work. We have carried that tradition forward. We appreciate all that the team does all year long and want them to step away to get some needed rest and see their work in a new light after stepping away.

Easier said than done when you own the company. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, the business is an extension of you so it is hard to pull yourself away since there is always something that needs to be done. How I made sure I didn’t go in every day (except Christmas) over the break was to give company a little TLC by getting the floors stripped and waxed and send some important equipment to be calibrated. While it was good at physically keeping me out of the space, I really wanted to get a couple of experiments done. It is the one part of the business I really LOVE so I sort of hurt myself on that move. Sometimes, the best laid plans do not always work as planned. Even with the road blocks I put up for myself, I was able to get some work done (although not as much fun) by getting some reports done, preparing some slide decks and catching up on some emails. Every now and then, I miss the time that I worked for someone else and did not have the responsibility or worries that a business brings.

For us, this will be an important stretch for the company. We have set up meetings early next week with three potential strategic partners. One of these discussions will be focused on our NuSpun™ Vascular Graft. We are looking to work with a partner to commercialize our graft technology. We have previously met with the potential partner about our specific plan to bring this technology forward. The upcoming meeting will expand potential uses of the technology within their product portfolio, which would include the graft. I think that their approach makes total sense. I am surprised that other companies have not had the vision to see that our technology could be used in many areas. The right type of deal structure can bring several product opportunities. We will see where this discussion leads.

The second group of discussions will focus on our plan to apply our technology for applications that are not medical device-related. As we previously discussed, we are working on a contract for the National Institutes of Health to develop a diagnostic tool using our electrospun materials. Developing this product will provide us an opportunity to generate revenue through direct sales. This opportunity is not always available for medical device-based companies, but the ability to apply this technology to different areas gives us flexibility into different spaces. A logical next step for BioSurfaces is to meet with potential companies who are making these types of tools along with other applications in their portfolio such as bioprocessing, filtration, drug delivery, permeable supports and advanced surfaces.

I am hopeful that one of the strategic partners we are chatting with will see the value of our technology and the opportunities it provides. The hardest parts of this approach are the glacial speed that many of these companies operate at and the ability to get a hard-charging champion who will move the technology through their company. These two areas are critical for success. You can have the best technology but will need to have these critical areas covered in order to succeed. We were very fortunate to have that person when we formed our R&D agreement with Takeda, but this is not common. Large companies have large resources in terms of money but are typically limited by their internal processes and small companies have limited resources but have outstanding flexibility to get things done. A blend of these two would be ideal.

Today, I am going to try sneaking in some of the experiments I missed over the break. Hopefully, nothing will get in the way. Wish me luck!

Have a great weekend!


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