Week 29 – Where Has Summer Gone?
Hope everyone is doing well and is safe and healthy. It is hard to believe that we are already nearing the end of July. Where has the summer gone? I know that I always feel this way at about the same time each year. I guess in many ways we would really like 2020 to end as fast as possible. As I was looking forward in my calendar, I cannot believe that our interns only have about 2 weeks remaining. I feel like they just got here yesterday and were starting to learn what we do. As our team was explaining to them what we are working on, there is that overwhelmed look you see in their eyes (and with wearing masks, it is very apparent). Fast forward to now and they have really gained an understanding of what we do and are asking targeted questions. Their growth and progress on their specific projects has been excellent and long after they return to their respective institutions, their work will continue to impact what we do at BioSurfaces.
While the summer has been moving fast and I wish it would slow down a little, there are areas that I wish would speed up a little. Unfortunately, being a small business, you tend to wait for our partners in large companies to make decisions. I should be used to it by now but since we move quickly, it is not something that I easily accept. I end up spending a lot of time pushing the rock up the hill. I guess why it gets frustrating is that there are some really exciting potential opportunities that would be great to begin, but you are stuck in neutral. I am always amazed when folks say to me how fast we operate. I really consider that normal speed. Not having bureaucracy in the way of decisions or the work that comes after those decisions does make a huge difference. I guess I need to learn to control what I can. Just hard to teach an old dog new tricks! We will hopefully get there and if all goes well, it will be an exciting time at the company (key words being “hopefully” and “if”). I never look to sugar coat or over-hype something.
This week we shot our second webcast related to perianal fistulas. If you do not know what a perianal fistula is, why you would get one and how they are treated, I would suggest viewing our webcast which will be released in mid-August (I will announce the exact date in a future blog). It is always humbling to speak with a group of experts in the space and hear their thoughts about a topic. We try to provide a combination of a high-level description of a specific topic along with sprinkling in some details. Our first webcast had good viewership so we are excited about publishing more of these in the near future. We are also thinking about having a Facebook Live forum to allow people the chance to ask questions about BioSurfaces. We will have to gauge a good day and time to hold this forum (likely in the fall). These ways of providing information about the company are not areas that I was thinking about before but after listening to suggestions, we decided to pursue some of these areas. I stand corrected. I guess you can teach an old dog some tricks.
We continue to make significant progress on several programs, established ones as well as new ones that are just getting underway. The week saw the lab buzzing with activity, from making electrospun materials on our R&D unit as well as our new GMP manufacturing unit and developing new equipment for use in the manufacturing process to evaluate different
materials for drug release and how cells interact with our electrospun materials. I must say I was a little envious of all of the lab work going on while I was working on some business-related activities like pitch deck development, ordering and business follow-up. I can’t complain though. I am fortunate to still have an opportunity to get in the lab and do what I love. The areas that I worked on this week are important to the company operations so it was time well spent. We are closing in on completing our development contract for the National Institutes of Health and getting ready to ramp up cell culture insert plate production. We have a lot of applications that we want to pursue to help future customers with different cell culture applications. We will be altering our website in the upcoming weeks for potential customers to receive a free plate to evaluate for their specific application. Next week, I will discuss one of the R&D programs that we worked on with Takeda; making a cell chamber that serves as a “biofactory” to provide sustained drug delivery.
Continue to stay vigilant and keep social distancing, wear a mask where social distancing is not possible to protect yourself and those around you and frequently wash your hands. While it may feel that we can relax now that it is summer, please understand that the coronavirus is not taking a vacation due to the heat (see the states to the south and west). Tina and I noticed in our travels last weekend to one South Shore town in Massachusetts in particular (that I will not identify) that had a lot of people without masks and not observing social distancing. Very disappointing as we love to visit this town! We all have to think about protecting each other and the more we do that, the faster we get back to a better sense of normal. This should not be a political or personal freedoms argument as you hear some say. This is about saving lives and sparing people the long-term effects that this infection can bring. This is no hoax or is it something to ignore. Massachusetts in general has done an outstanding job of lowering infections, hospitalizations and deaths (a huge thanks to our state and local officials for leading). We do not want to go backwards! We will all suffer personally and business-wise if that occurs. Keep supporting your local businesses as they continue to work through these challenging times.