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Week 47 - Herding Cats

Hope everyone is doing well and is safe and healthy. We hope that you also had a great Thanksgiving, even though this year was a lot different for most. Even with all of the changes and challenges that COVID-19 has brought, there is still so much for me to be thankful for. It was nice to have a day to recharge the batteries and have some good food. We have a very small immediate family so we were fortunate to see them using the guidance that has been provided. I feel bad for those families that are large or those that typically celebrate with a lot of friends and family. Hopefully by this time next year, we will have some sense of normalcy back in our lives and for those people, they will be able to celebrate like no other time before. We all will. We have more to get through to get to the other side, but we are closer to the end than to the beginning. We have been fortunate with our business to keep making progress on several fronts including some possible new tools that could be used for COVID research, all while keeping everyone employed and as safe as possible during this time. We are so appreciative that we’ve been able to have that opportunity. Too many good businesses have not been as fortunate which is so sad (was thinking of a few other more harsh adjectives there).

Normally, I would take the day after Thanksgiving off and enjoy the weekend after a long stretch but science/deadlines wait for no one. We had several things that we had to send out this week that needed attention on top of the usual business (I’ll talk about herding cats in a moment). Nothing says the holiday is over than diving into writing and

reviewing. In partnership with professors at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, we submitted a grant to the Department of Defense for a new type of wound dressing in which our electrospinning technology would be a component. We submitted a pre-proposal to the NFL (yes as in National Football League) using our electrospinning technology to treat hamstring muscle injuries. Finally, we submitted two abstracts for review by different scientific organizations related to our work on our cell culture insert plates and our drug-loaded vascular graft for hemodialysis access. Time will tell how each of these are received from their respective areas.

Now onto herding cats. For those of you who are not familiar with this saying, the gist of it is since cats aren’t known to listen well getting a group of them to do anything together is a challenge. As I’ve mentioned in a few of my past blogs, we have several promising discussions that have continued to progress. That being said, many of these require various key people to be part of the final decision. Getting everyone on the same page to finalize these discussions feels a lot like herding cats. When you think you have everyone focused in the same direction, suddenly the “cats” are going off in a different direction. While this is a fairly painful and time-consuming process, it is a necessary evil to move the company forward. I cannot wait to provide you some information about these ongoing activities if/when we have something in place, hopefully soon. Until then, I’ll keep herding them up.

Please 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. Sadly, the number of people now dying from this virus EVERY DAY equals the same total of the people who perished on 9/11. This number is mind-blowing to me. Doing the simple things gets us back to some sense of normal. The scientific evidence is overwhelming that masks and social distancing have a positive effect on controlling the virus. We will need this simple protection at least into spring/summer of next year (I hope my projection is on the high side but would rather plan on the high side). There has been outstanding progress on the vaccine front. As one of our team members Pat mentioned to me, you don’t want to be the last one to get COVID-19 right as the vaccine is ready for distribution to you. Even though the vaccine like masks before them has become a political talking point, the studies that the FDA is overseeing are being run with safety in mind. They made sure that at least 60 days had been reached for half the study patients since most adverse effects happen between 30-45 days. A couple of studies were even temporarily stopped to check on an adverse event, which is a key control to making sure that things are being done correctly. The adverse event likely was in the non-vaccine group (which the study groups would not know right away) but they are taking the appropriate precautions. When it is available for distribution, I will be right there ready to take it.

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. As we head to winter in Massachusetts and the cases are significantly going up, more businesses are going 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. Every little bit helps and does make a difference!



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