Week 10 – On the Outside Looking In
Hope everyone had a great week. Hard to believe we are already 10 weeks into the year. Where does time go? Time moving this fast is always a challenge for any business, especially a small business. We have been working diligently to pursue all avenues to advance our technology with various potential partners and customers from the business front as well as the research and development front. This requires a lot of my focus to be on the business end of things, from developing proposals and creating pitch decks to following up with various potential partners and establishing new leads. This is the hardest part of what I do and the least enjoyable. Even when an experiment goes sideways, there is still some joy in trying to figure out what went wrong and how to correct it. I was glad to get a little bit of time in the lab but it is never enough and there is not enough time in the week to get everything done that I would like to do myself.
I am fortunate that we have such a great team that has really developed such an independence and ability to move each program along with little guidance. I am like a parent who is watching his kids take flight. They come to see me when they are unsure about a specific task or path forward but those times are coming far in few between. Yesterday was one of those days were everyone seemed to have a question about their projects. I was working on one of my three slide decks that I was preparing. Even though I was in some small way helping our team, I could not help but thinking I was on the outside looking in. I sort of equate it to when I was a kid and stayed home from school when I was sick. I would sit and watch the kids outside. I wanted to be doing anything else but being in my house. I was envious of the kids outside who were having fun. The sad part about it was that the kids outside had no clue on how good they had it. At that point, you would have done anything to switch places. That was the exact way I was feeling this week. I would have done anything to switch places. That being said, getting potential business opportunities lined up will keep everything else going so I know it is a necessary part of my job.
Our team continues to make so much progress on many different fronts. I even added a few new possible research programs this week that are extensions of areas we are already working on. My goal is to make sure we are always pushing ourselves so that we are thinking about the future as we are completing present studies. As I mentioned in our last blog, we had several issues that we worked hard to resolve. I am glad to report that these have been taken care of. Not only did we take care of it, we learned a lot from it that we can take forward. These are the little things that I believe make us better in terms of making consistent electrospun materials. This week was a little like opening a cork on a bottle. Everyone sprang into action!
Let’s start with the NIH program. This has been an all hands-on deck program and the progress, from making materials and applying the material onto the 96 well cell culture insert plate to finalizing the plate in preparation for sterilization has been amazing. Watching the process unfold, especially on the process development side, is so cool. We have been a research company for so long and seeing part of the company begin to transform into manufacturing is surreal. This technology has a lot of applications outside of what we are working on for the NIH so that is exciting. We will begin to look at some of these inserts in-house to start developing applications that we can provide to potential customers. We will also be able to look at different types of plate constructs, electrospun materials and tissues. As I mentioned, I think working with a strategic partner in this endeavor in some form may be beneficial to both parties. We also have to enjoy working with the potential partner and have trust between the groups. I can see that with a few of these partners. That being said, we have to be ready to move it forward on our own as well so this planning is also being carried out.
We also continue to plow forward on the Takeda and KidneyX programs. For Takeda, we continue to refine some of the devices we are making (still waiting for the patents to be submitted so I can share more – we are getting close) as we head toward the completion of the program. We are waiting to see if Takeda is interested in moving forward with what we’ve developed. We have been successful in completing the proposed milestones of this program and have an advocate who is working tirelessly to keep this moving forward. It is frustrating that we have to work that hard with all of the positive data we have generated, but that is working within a big company framework. We are also continuing to expand devices that would be complementary to the devices being developed. For the KidneyX program, we continue to refine and assess drug delivery loading from our vascular graft both under stringent wash studies as well as through cell culture studies. These studies will provide us a prototype that will be evaluated in future preclinical studies.
More to come on our work. Hopefully, we’ll have some positive news to share in the upcoming months. Only time will tell.
Have a great weekend!