Happy New Year and welcome back! Hope all is going well and that you had a safe and healthy holiday season. It was great to get a little down time. It is also great to get to spend some additional time with family and friends. Tina and I enjoy seeing our team have some time to relax. They work hard all year long so it’s good for them to unplug. It is nice to hear from them that they didn’t think about work. A few of the crew told me this. After they said it, they worried that they would insult me. Couldn’t be further from the truth. It is exactly what they needed. I was also told that they also missed it a little bit too. Even I took a little too much time this year. I must be getting old and soft (for those fans of Puss-n-Boots asking if he has gone soft - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJa_A5cVd-w).
Normally, I usually take a few days around the holidays and then sneak down to get some work in. For me, it is one of the few times of the year that everything is quiet and I can catch up or even get ahead on a few things. That didn’t happen and I’m having a little buyer’s remorse. For those that have reached out this week, I apologize for not getting back to you as fast as I usually do. It has been a while since I had the feeling of not worrying about getting back to work. Almost 20 years ago now when I worked for another company. I was just like our team members. Loved the break and forgot about things for a while. It is funny to think that I really never appreciated that until now. Owning a company changes the way you view the world. It is one of those things that unless you are doing it, it is really hard to understand. While I curse it many times, I am sure some day I will miss that feeling. Even walking in this week, I still get that feeling that I cannot believe that we’ve created this business. It’s more than a business. It is home.
We were excited to see that the publication by investigators from the National Institutes of Health using our Bio-Spun™ scaffold was finally available. I cannot stress how much work went into this publication by that team. The investigators posted an article on LinkedIn talking about this publication. One of the cool things that we saw in the article was this video on how they are making their implant, which is the clip being shown. Within the first 10 seconds, they are 3D bioprinting (for those of you not familiar with it, it is like using an inkjet printer but instead of ink, it is gel that can be filled with cells or active agents) onto a scaffold – our scaffold! It was the first time that we were seeing our Bio-Spun™ scaffold in action for this application. We are so proud to see that our material could one day help people with adult macular degeneration and happy to be a part of their success.
As I mentioned to you before the break, I was worried about everyone resurfacing at the same time. Everyone is back and wants to hit the ground running. Normally, the week after New Year’s Day is busy for everyone. This past week is that normal busyness on steroids. When we first started the company, the company was run on government grants that we applied for and were fortunate enough to be selected to receive. Grants take a lot of work to write and the success rate is fairly low (about 10-20% chance of getting a grant funded). That being said, there is no better way of having your technology validated by your peers. Of course, the US government in their ultimate wisdom makes the due dates for grants at wonderful times, with one of them being January 5th (it used to be December 5th so that was just as bad). We realized that there was a special opportunity to submit a grant for our vascular graft technology for patients requiring hemodialysis. We are looking to advance the technology so we can generate more data such that we can bring on a partner that is looking for this type of technology. You can see where this is going. Getting a late start is never a good thing. We veered away from grants several years ago but every so often we dip our toe into the pool. Unfortunately, this was one of those times. Let’s add to the chaos. That being said, I’m happy to report that the grant was submitted on time. We’ll see how the review goes. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
After submitting the grant, we are beginning to get our head above the water a little. Fortunate for us, we have a great team that continues to move the different programs forward even when we get sidetracked. We were able to get a couple orders out the door, one for our IVRT business and one for our Cell Therapy business. We also have several potential business opportunities that are starting to crank up again. It is exciting and nerve wracking as we look to really grow several of our products. In addition, we are trying to grow our team on several fronts. All of these changes will help us to continue to advance our Bio-Spun™ technology. While we are hitting the ground sprinting, the road ahead is exciting and we look forward to seeing what is around every corner.
Next Friday January 13th will be our #FactualFriday followed by our Monthly Spin on January 19th. We are hoping to bring back our webcast next month to bring you more in-depth information about our products and technology.