Week 32 – The First “Cat is Finally Out of the Bag!”
Hope everyone is doing well and is safe and healthy. This week has flown by. We spent some time getting ready to release this past Wednesday’s news announcement. In case you missed the big news, here is the link. This agreement has been in the works for some time. Unlike BioSurfaces, which is small and nimble, larger companies have more processes that have to be conducted. The initial discussions with Corning actually started last November with Jacki and Allyson (District and Local Account Representatives, respectively) to introduce them to our technology that we were working on for investigators at the National Institutes of Health. This quickly led to a meeting with Lynsey (Segment Director), who was instrumental in championing the potential of the technology within Corning. Having a great champion when you are looking to execute a deal is essential and we are appreciative of the work Lynsey put in to get us to this point. Lynsey introduced us to Kim, who is a Director of Global Business Operations to get further approval for the technology. We were then introduced to John, who is the Global Strategic Sourcing Manager, to establish the agreement terms. This does not include all the members of our team that were involved in the process.
The reason I am giving you this information is not to just drop names or provide you an overview of the process, but to show how much work and time goes into these types of agreements. There are many places where things can go sideways in a hurry. Thinking about what we went through to get this done, it does give you a sense of accomplishment. I am sure this is one of many deals Corning executes so they may not have the appreciation that we do since we were tackling not just this agreement, but continuing to develop the manufacturing process and implement quality control test procedures. We are excited to
report that we are beginning to ramp up production of 96-well Transwell cell culture insert plates containing Bio-Spun™ electrospun PDGLA membranes (either 0.6 or 1.0 I.V. polymers; see picture). What this means is that we can make different biodegradable materials that will break down at different rates. We have also begun to make these plates containing our Bio-Spun™ electrospun polyester or polyurethane membranes and are investigating different plate configurations (for example, 24-well plates). Initially, we will provide customers who reach out to us via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or through our website (which should be online next week) one plate to evaluate free of charge to see if this technology works for their respective application.
As you can guess from title of the blog, we are hoping that this is the first of many “cats” (announcements) coming over the next several weeks to months. There are many possible things that can happen that could make these discussions go sideways or fall through even though we are working with some excellent champions. In addition to these discussions, we will be releasing our second webcast next week “Perianal Fistulas – Simplest Complicated Problem.” This will provide some great insight to an area that we have been working on with Takeda. We are thinking about providing more insight as to how these cell culture insert plates mentioned above are important tools for 3D-tissue biofabrication.
We also continue to produce our face masks that contain our Bio-Spun™ polyester materials with nanosilver. I believe that we may be needing these devices for the long-term. Tina and I are currently using these masks in areas in which social distancing cannot be consistently maintained. These masks have performed well in terms of wearability and durability. We were able to make some changes to the ear pieces to improve comfort as well as streamlines the process. We are currently exploring the possibility of testing these bioactive materials for anti-viral activity. We are also looking at incorporating a face shield into a portion of these masks for people who will be in close contact with unmasked people (e.g. servers at restaurants). Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you need this type of mask. As before, we are providing these free of charge.
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. 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 of these businesses are nowhere near out of the woods yet and won’t be for a while.