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Week 37 – Story of Daruma

Hope everyone is doing well and is safe and healthy. Before I get started, I would ask that you please don’t check out the video clip just yet. Besides wanting to keep you in suspense about the title of the blog, I would like to give you a quick update on our week. There is a definitely a feel of fall in the air. Hard to believe fall officially starts next week. I always enjoy this time of the year and would miss the changes of the seasons if we ever left. That cool air is refreshing and just seems to rejuvenate me. Maybe in a few years, I won’t feel that way so I’m going to enjoy it while I can.

We started the week with an all-hands meeting. I am always amazed at the production of our small team, even though I know all of the work that it is going on. These types of meetings provide the team all that is going on in each area. While some companies try to keep each group isolated (called silos), I believe we are more productive when the group understands the entire business. One of our main programs over the past several months has been developing cell culture insert plates. It has been a team effort to bring this program to its current state. While we are still investigating different types of application, we have made such great strides to be able to make 96 well cell culture inserts with our Bio-Spun™ materials. We are now in the early stages of putting this technology into the hands of researchers that are looking to move beyond the current technology, which uses a flat plastic surface that does not really reflect the environment that cells are normally exposed to. We will keep you informed of how this new business is evolving.

We continued to focus on our medical device side of the business by submitting several proposals to potential strategic partners as well as to the Department of Defense for devices that would be used to treat patients (or soldiers) with vascular disease/injury and heart disease. We also revised some project proposals focused on rare disease treatment. In addition, the team did a great job of making progress on research related to several of these areas while also expanding exploratory work into other areas. More to come in future blogs on this research.

And now on to the title of the blog (please feel free to click on the video). The story of Daruma started over 3 years ago. We executed our three-year R&D contract with Takeda in June 2017. We decided to have a celebratory dinner to introduce the two teams and mark the start of the collaboration. During this dinner, Tetsuo Hoshino and Vincent Ling presented BioSurfaces with a Daruma. Tetsuo, a soft-spoken, kind leader at Takeda who is now retired, provided us a

background into why he was presenting us with a Daruma. What is a Daruma you might be thinking? A Daruma is a Japanese toy that is typically given to a child to inspire them to complete a goal. The child would color in one eye at the start and when the goal was accomplished, the other eye would then be colored in. Tetsuo believed that it would be a good tradition to carry over to our collaboration and presented us a Daruma. It was a great gesture that we never forgot. Over the past three years, Vincent and I have looked at the Daruma sitting on my cabinet along with the team photo as we progressed our research program. After we completed all of the objectives in the study this year, Vincent reminded me that we needed to show that we had finished our work by coloring the final eye of the Daruma. This led to the video that Cameron from our team produced to highlight our relationship. He did a great job putting it together. It has been a great relationship and we have always appreciated the belief in us by Tetsuo and Vincent. We achieved a lot during this period and I hope that we can continue this relationship.

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. Getting back to some sort of real normal depends on it. The scientific evidence is overwhelming that masks and social distancing have a positive effect on controlling the virus. As the head of the CDC Dr. Redfield stated “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine, because the immunogenicity (protection) may be 70%. And if I don't get an immune response, the vaccine is not going to protect me.” He is not saying a vaccine will not work. He is saying that similar to the flu vaccine, it likely will not be 100% effective but the mask if used right along with other measures, your risk for getting it may be less with a mask, a physical barrier to prevention. Keep supporting your local businesses as they continue to work through these challenging times. We continue to see many businesses closing which really hits home. Several years ago, we were on the brink of having to call it a day and it was sad to think of a day without our business. My heart really feels for these folks. Many of other businesses are nowhere near out of the woods yet and won’t be for a while.



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