Week 2 - Jack of All Trades (Well Sort Of...)
Hope everyone had a great week. Before I get into the week, there is some exciting news that I want to share. We will be releasing our redesigned website this coming Monday, January 13th. Special shout out to Cameron for all of his hard work on this undertaking. This has been months in the making and no easy task. Quite a few changes have been made which will hopefully make the website even easier to navigate while providing more background into our process and the devices/products we are developing. We will be including an animation about the process and our NuSpun™ Vascular Graft (special thanks to the Life Science Animation team for their great work). You can also sign up to automatically receive this blog. Check out the new site and let us know what you think.
This week felt like I was all over the place more than usual, leading to the title for this week’s blog. When I last left you, I was trying to get into the lab to run some experiments. It’s something that I do not get to do enough, which I sadly understand is part of the job. However, I am glad to report that I was able to get into the lab at the end of last week and even a little this week, even though it requires me to really extend my day. It is worth it since this is what I enjoy. One set of experiments focused on electrospinning a new polymer and the other focused on testing of a drug that prevents blood from clotting. It is funny because I think you must be thinking that I enjoy going into the lab because what happens in there is mostly successful. Could not be further from the truth. In actuality, a majority of the time it does not work according to plan and it requires you to rethink the experiment. It is frustrating when it does not go right but such is life in the lab. It’s hard to explain but that is what drives me. I like being the “detective” and figuring out how to make it work. For example, I was able to successfully electrospin a new polymer provided by Advansource Biomaterials which was great, but after the electrospinning, the polymer changed properties (going from fibers to film-like). Since our process is specific to us, it is not something I can go research to find out why it occurred. However, this unexpected change could end up being beneficial to us, but I’ll need to further characterize the polymer and understand why it changes. For the anti-clotting drug, these tests did not yield positive results for two reasons; the first being the drug structure was not provided enough time to change and the second was related to equipment issues.
Issues with different pieces of equipment seemed to be more prevalent this week. This happens to everyone at some point in time where it feels like wherever you turn, something else is breaking down. Being a small business, you do not have the funds to go out and purchase new pieces. It forces you to try to fix them yourself before calling someone in or replacing it. Case in point, for the equipment used for test the drug, a spectrophotometer, I was able to get two used units from American Instrument that were not working, merge the working components from all three units and make a “brand new” spectrophotometer. Did not know I could do that so I was pleasantly surprised. At least I know I could change fields if everything at the company goes south (J). For the other faulty equipment, it was great to have our engineering crew take either the lead or help me out with these repairs. Good to have support and happy to report all is back up and running.
This week also saw several business meetings with potential strategic partners for our various technologies, making new contacts in other areas and meeting with our current partner Takeda. There continues to be interest in our technology from several groups which is encouraging. We have a meeting today with another potential partner related to our diagnostic technology, making this the second possible partner we are meeting with about this technology this week. We will see where these meetings lead. We will continue to push as hard as we can to move this technology forward. We also met with our partners at Takeda to review preclinical data from one of the devices we are making for this program, an electrospun chamber that holds cells. The study data looks very promising, and even though it is early, we are excited how the device is performing and look forward to seeing the future data. We are also actively submitting patents related to the technology being co-developed with Takeda. All good stuff.
If only executing a business deal were as “easy” as the performing the science. Unlike science, a business deal relies on so many factors out of our control. As I mentioned, we were fortunate to have all of the right ingredients with our Takeda partnership which is paying off. Who will be next to realize that our technology is worth investing in? They should ask Takeda, the National Institutes of Health or Edwards if there is any doubt about what BioSurfaces brings to the table.
Have a great weekend!