Hope everyone is doing well and is safe and healthy. Have you ever felt like you are just shuffling along? Even though you are making progress, it never seems like you will ever get to the end. Like walking through deep sand on the beach or watching the opening credits before a movie starts. I love this clip from the Family Guy that Cam showed me some time ago. This really nails home the point that sometimes you have to wait for good things.
Over the past few months, we have continued to move forward on several business fronts, but nothing is ever as fast as you want it to happen. Over the past several weeks, I have been letting you know that some announcements from BioSurfaces were coming “soon.”
“Soon” is finally arriving this coming Wednesday, August 12th. An important announcement will be released that we are excited to finally share with you. It has taken a while to get here but we hope you feel it was worth the wait. Make sure to check back into the website. The following Wednesday, August 19th, we will be releasing our second webcast entitled “Perianal Fistulas – Simplest Complicated Problem.” We are in the final editing stages now and cannot wait to show you what we are working on with our partners at Takeda. We plan on more webcasts over the coming months. We are also thinking about hosting a Facebook Live session to allow our viewers to ask any question about the business, the technology, the team, etc. This would allow you to directly interact with us. I think this would be a fun way to get to know our audience.
This is not the only progress made this week. After a lot of hard work and persistence over the past several months, we are excited to announce that our team has completed the contract that we secured from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The contract focused on developing manufacturing processes and test procedures to produce cell culture insert plates. This work ranged from electrospinning membranes and securing these membranes to establishing test equipment and implementation of quality test procedures. Our summer interns were able to contribute by developing various test procedures that we will use for this process going forward. The students continue to get smarter each year. I am truly impressed by what they bring into the company. We are proud of the fact that all of the contract deliverables were completed earlier than we projected. We are now beginning to manufacture these insert plates and to investigate several other iterations for this diagnostic tool (e.g. different electrospun membranes, plates with different well numbers). More information will be provided over the next few weeks on our website. We are already seeing initial interest from other investigators at the NIH as well as from other companies. We’ll see how things progress, but it seems promising.
We continue to speak with our collaborators at Takeda about next steps for our technology. Last week, I outlined one of the applications we developed over the three-year research and development program: an electrospun perianal fistula plug (our next webcast). We have two other devices that we will discuss in future blogs: targeted drug delivery wraps and cell culture chambers to produce a target drug within the body. The results of these studies have been presented to other groups within Takeda. These groups are now beginning to see how our technology could have application in their respective areas. That always makes me feel great that people can envision applying our technology to solve a problem they are facing. These discussions are all at different stages, but similar to the movie credits analogy, we would like some of these discussions to progress toward completion. We are getting close and hopefully we will be applying our technology to other areas to treat various diseases.
As I was walking through the lab today, I couldn’t help but be proud seeing all of the great research and development going on at the company, from cell culture to electrospinning to developing manufacturing processes. Sometimes, it is hard to believe that Tina and I are responsible for creating this company. We get so tied up with the daily grind that it is easy to not appreciate what we have. You want to pinch yourself to make sure it is not a dream. While it can be extremely challenging and frustrating, it is an unbelievable feeling of pride and excitement that our technology could possibly make a difference. We don’t know what the future holds, but we are hopeful for the future.
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. We have seen a slight increase in cases in Massachusetts, likely due to what we’ve seen with people letting their guard down. It is too easy to go backwards if we do not all pull together. Getting back to some sort of real normal depends on it. The evidence is overwhelming that masks have a positive effect on controlling the virus. Keep supporting your local businesses as they continue to work through these challenging times. Many will have to undergo significant changes over the next year to keep afloat so our help will be needed over the long haul.