Each quarter Michael will reflect on the quarters progress. This reflection is intended to be an open and honest discussion of the successes and challenges that we experienced over the last three months. We would like to share these stories with our community so you can get to see what goes on inside of Visikol Inc.
At the end of February, we launched Visikol Inc. and Nick, Tom and myself jumped full-time into the company and realizing our vision for the company. The three of us had officially transformed our dream of launching our own biotech startup into a reality and we got right to work to build the company and have quickly hit many of our milestones.
Upon receiving funding from the Foundation Venture Capital Group (FVCG), we spun out of Rutgers University and into the commercialization center for Innovative Technologies in North Brunswick, NJ. The facility is the perfect space for a startup biotech company like Visikol and we spent much of March getting moved in and setup in the lab space. We have made great use of this space so far and have optimized our developmental and reproductive toxicology (DART) platform which will start to be used in DART studies in the next few months. We have also conducted substantial development on our 3D histology platform and look forward to a late Q4 launch of some 3D histology kits.
As a startup company we always need to balance the rate of these development and commercialization efforts with funding. While we raised funding from FVCG, we always want to further extend our runway and accelerate our growth. To this end, we submit for almost every grant we are eligible for and recently were awarded a $225,000 Phase I NSF SBIR grant to improve our DART platform. There are many folks in the biotech startup space who say not to submit for these grants as they are a waste of time and distract you from developing and selling your product. However, I would strongly disagree with these folks as cash is the life-blood of a startup and $225,000 in non-dilutive “free” money is A LOT of money. Our team is very good at writing grants and the ROI on a hundred hours of our time writing these is well worth it in my opinion. We are really excited to receive these funds from the NSF this month and will put them to work to accelerate our growth and to bring on employee #4 to help with product development.
Overall, our first quarter working on Visikol full-time has been amazing and I am really proud of the work that our team has done to develop our Visikol-based technology platforms. As we look towards the second half of the year we are going to focus heavily upon commercializing our DART platform and further developing our 3D histology platform. As we develop these platforms we will continue to look for complementary technologies like our Optical CT scanner and pursue outside-the-box ideas. We strongly believe in having a fresh perspective at our company and will be bringing on four college students and two high school students for the summer/fall. These students have very diverse skillsets and we are looking forward to providing them with significant responsibility and autonomy on a wide range of projects. In describing these students, I refrain from using the word “intern” because I feel it would diminish the work that they will do as their projects will be core to our company’s direction and success.
As we continue on our journey and seek to transform the field of bio-imaging we just want to thank all of the folks who have supported us and have collaborated with us on projects. We look forward to continuing to work with our original plant biology customers and to develop our Visikol technology into high-impacting animal bio-imaging platforms.