Week 4 – A New First – 17 Years in the Making!
Hope everyone is doing well and is safe and healthy. It has been a pretty busy couple of weeks. I guess every week is busy but this is a little more ratcheted up. Last week, we released our second webcast that focused on our Transwell permeable support plate technology that contains our Bio-Spun™ scaffolds. We always enjoy providing our audience an inside view into what we are working on at the company. This program is in its early stages. It is hard to believe that this started as a small order several years ago with a request to make some of our Bio-Spun™ materials for investigators at the National Institutes of Health to use in their research. We are now at the doorstep of producing this product for use by other investigators around the United States and potentially around the world. We will look at
different platforms to use this technology, from placement into the wells of existing tissue culture plates to forming individual insert wells. We will also examine different types of plastic plate formats to secure our membrane onto. We are putting the final touches on our quality management system so that all products can be traced right back to the raw materials they are made from. We will be a full-service provider for this type of technology, working with customers to help them move their research forward. As scientists, we completely understand how important good tools are to conducting successful research.
While we were finishing the webcast, we were also diligently working on revamping our website to support this new business opportunity. This revamp was also done to make navigating the site a little easier, cleaner and more user-friendly. It is always nice to see the team’s ideas come to fruition. We will continue to tweak the site over time (we’re sure some bugs will appear), but we were happy when the final product was published on Monday. For the first time in our over 17-year history, we have two products that we will be selling soon: 1) our Bio-Spun™ scaffold for various tissue culture applications and 2) a cell chamber that will holds cells that can produce target drugs or biologics. There likely will be more products to come. This relaunch has been very successful, with the number of visitors this week alone exceeding our expectations. We also generated some business leads due to the relaunch, which is exactly what we were looking to accomplish. We welcome any feedback you may have (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you asked me when we first started the company, I would have never guessed that these would be the first two products that the company would be making. We were, and still are, focused on developing various medical devices like our vascular graft, sutures, perianal fistula plug, etc. to help people. While it has been a struggle (and the struggle is real), we have not lost our passion for moving these technologies forward. We are working with a new business consultant to help us land more discussions with strategic partners. He is a great guy who brings such passion and drive. Nothing worth fighting for ever comes easy so we are going to continue the good fight until we cannot fight anymore. Every time I see data from other groups evaluating our technology that looks good, I cannot help get more frustrated as to why we don’t have many groups knocking at our door. I see technology that has not had the results we have had getting these crazy deals. I remember one conversation I had with a CEO from a medical device company that has raised hundreds of millions of dollars who said to me “I am blown away by how much your company has accomplished with so little.” While I was happy with his compliment, it was also frustrating that we could accomplish more with the kind of money they had access to. Tina and I are so proud of how productive our team is, which we believe is directly related to their belief in what we do. We couldn’t do it without them.
Over the past few weeks, we began to make progress on two new research programs. In one program, we are developing new materials for a consumer product (sorry – cannot reveal what company this is). It is a challenging research endeavor that will likely have more failure than success. If we are successful, it could result in a revolutionary product. Only time will tell if we can get there. Our other program, which is with Takeda, is moving along nicely. We had our first data presentation this week. It is always fun when two groups get together to talk science (I know that sounds nerdy but I don’t care). Learning is still fun and what keeps me in the field. It’s great to see our Bio-Spun™ material performing well. We have a way to go, but it is a promising start. We are also developing a new electrospinning unit that will be used for R&D. It is taking time to get everything right (it never goes as fast as you want), but it will be worth it in the end. We may be able to use this unit software for our manufacturing units, a huge plus. We have several other potential R&D programs in the works but we understand that these take time. Just what every small business has, time (NOT).
We still need to be vigilant in terms of continuing to wear masks, social distance and wash hands to keep driving the number of cases down until a majority of people get vaccinated. This means even if you are vaccinated right now, you still need to wear a mask until more than 80% of people get vaccinated. The reason for this is that you can still spread virus to non-vaccinate people even if you don’t get sick from it. If we all do our part, this should significantly diminish the virus and allow us to return to some sense of normalcy. Masks, if used correctly by everyone, do make a difference. They are still the best option we have until everyone is vaccinated. Please keep supporting your local businesses as they continue to work through these challenging times. Many other businesses are nowhere near out of the woods yet and won’t be for a long time. More businesses are beginning to rely on curbside take-out. If you can, grab some take-out. Don’t forget to take care of the employees too. Please also consider donating to your local food pantry or to other nonprofit groups that are helping people who need it. So many people are hurting. Even something small does make a difference!
See you on March 12th!