Week 15 – Dog Days of Summer
Hope all is going well. It has been a very busy few weeks since our announcement that we are continuing our work with Takeda to further develop our Bio-Spun™ Cell Chamber. For those of you who missed it, here is the link to the announcement. We are excited to continue this work since the studies we have conducted so far have been very promising.
At a high level, our Bio-Spun™ Cell Chamber is a device that would be inserted into the body allowing different types of cells to be enclosed while protecting them from the body’s immune response. Why is this important? Most implantable devices are considered foreign by the body, like a splinter, so the body tries to isolate and remove it. If this happened, then the enclosed cells would also be destroyed. Our electrospun material does not generate this type of response, which allows the cells to use the body’s natural functions to live for a long period of time. This is like having a little “factory” in the body. One application would be to include cells that are genetically-modified in order to continually produce a therapeutic level of drug. We currently have several Bio-Spun™ Cell Chambers that have been implanted in a preclinical model that have been producing drug for well over 6 months. This study is still ongoing. How could this type of device be used? Imagine if you had a rare disease that required you to get injections of a drug every week for the rest of your life. If you could implant a device that would consistently produce this drug and release it into the patient’s body for long periods of time (months to years), it would make their quality of life a little better. Outside of our work with Takeda, cells that could be used to treat diabetes or liver disease could also be enclosed. We are exploring all of these options for our Bio-Spun™ Cell Chamber. We are currently in the process of putting together our benchtop and preclinical data related to drug delivery for publication. More information about this work will be released in the coming months so stay tuned.
I figured the summer season would slow things down a little bit and give me a chance to catch my breath. It’s actually been the opposite. This is probably one of the busiest summers we’ve had since we started the company, both from the device/product development and on the business front. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a little OCD. I have small checklists (usually on a small post-it note as most of my friends know) of things I need to tackle. Normally, I can check off items and shrink the list. This summer, it does not feel like I am making a dent in the list as I seem to add 2 things for every item I complete. This is on top of my normal duties of running the company. That being said, I am not complaining since the opposite of this situation is not very appealing.
We are fortunate to be working with some really good partners on some exciting programs. In addition to these development programs, we are focused on launching our scaffold business. We have distributed our scaffolds that are mounted onto Transwell plates to several companies around the world to acquire outside testing results. This is in addition to our ongoing work with investigators at the National Institutes of Health. It is humbling to think that we’ve gone from initial development of a prototype into the beginnings of having investigators around the world starting to assess our technology for their applications, with more to come. We also continue to internally develop different tissue models for these scaffolds as well as different types of insert configurations. Our business team is focusing on marketing this new product while our manufacturing team is readying this for our quality management system.
I am always proud of how productive our team is. As a small business, you learn how to work efficiently and effectively. We do the work of a team that would be 2 or 3 times larger. I wish we had a larger team in order to lessen the work for each person. We are working on this on the business front to make this wish a reality. This would allow us to dive into some other areas that are interesting to us as well as get us ready for a more advanced product launch. As I mentioned before, we also have other programs that, if successful, will also continue to develop toward a product we would produce. Add to this that we have our own devices we are developing and you can see why I am focused on expanding our capabilities. This opportunity could come in many different forms and we will explore all options. Stay tuned to see how we progress.
On a personal level, we were also excited to welcome this little (and growing) guy named Pretzel in our extended family. We wish our life could be as easy as his.
We’ll see you back here on August 20th.