We're always looking to improve the process, to increase the speed with which we're able to iterate, and increase the quality of our results. For example, we created our own bioprinters - we developed them completely from scratch because the market didn't have what we needed at the time.
TeVido BioDevices is developing cutting edge 3D bioprinting techniques for living human cells for use in reconstructive and cosmetic surgery for patients with vitiligo, and nipple areola reconstruction for breast cancer survivors. TeVido’s techniques in biofabrication and 3D bioprinting support deposition of cells and biomaterials in precise locations, layer by layer, which will result in a highly customizable product, improving outcomes and changing lives.
What are your R&D objectives?
"There are two key focuses for our R&D. One is nipple areola reconstruction to rebuild the nipple after mastectomy. The other is replacing the pigment of skin after it's lost due to conditions like vitiligo and scarring trauma. We want to bring these therapies to patients in a clinical setting as soon as we can.
"One of the differences between doing this kind of research in an academic setting versus doing it here at TeVido is that we are trying to get to these clearly defined goals. We're iterating the technology and science towards our objectives. A lot of it is about keeping track of where we are, re-evaluating along the way based on new technology, new research, brainstorming, and ultimately upon the findings in the lab."
What are the biggest challenges you’re facing?
"The biggest challenges really come from the regulatory landscape. You have to fully complete your product design before starting clinical trials. Clinical trials cost millions of dollars and can take years – so you have to make sure you have it right early, and we’re doing everything we can now to accelerate development, and reduce risks around regulatory approval."
Are there any R&D improvements that you're working on?
"We're always looking to improve the process, to increase the speed with which we're able to iterate, and increase the quality of our results. For example, we created our own bioprinters - we developed them completely from scratch because the market didn't have what we needed at the time.
"So we created it and that allowed us to iterate faster. Then by building the new functionality and increased resolution we were able to move faster with both the research and the quality of our results.
"Now we’re starting to see more options, more bioprinters coming online, but if we had waited for the market to deliver that technology we would be several years behind where we are now.
"It’s important to note that the printer itself is just part of the equation. The other part is the bio ink, the formulations that we use and the quality of the resulting tissue construct."
How does PatSnap fit into your work?
"We look at our R&D from two directions. One is “where is the technology taking us?”, the other is “where is the market driving to?”. Then we have to consider how to fit the two together. We have to answer the first two questions by ourselves, but PatSnap helps us to understand where the IP is, and by extension, where the market may go.
"Before PatSnap, we were using Google Patents. It certainly worked for finding a few patents and downloading them. That would give me an idea if a certain idea or process already exists, but it wouldn’t give a sense of the breadth of the IP in that technology area or space. That’s what PatSnap helps with – getting an overview of the landscape and then organizing it in such a way that you can interrogate the data and hopefully find answers to your questions. It also alerts us to new developments in our technology area."
What was the main reason that you decided to use PatSnap?
"It was primarily about saving time. I would say that the average search is about twice as fast – so if I can reclaim time in my day, that means I can spend more time working on improving our technology."
For you personally are there drivers behind what you’re doing?
"Success is getting an application out to patients – that’s obviously a very important driver, along with success of the company, and delivering for investors and employees.
"And then there’s success for the industry. I'd say one of the biggest things that personally drives me is what we're doing with nipple areola reconstruction. We’re working on adding a vascular component to tissue grafts. Right now a fundamental limiting factor of tissue engineering is growing tissues beyond one millimeter of thickness - grafts beyond that typically will not survive once implanted, particularly when you're dealing with soft tissues, and we are working continuously on adding structured vascular and pre-vascular components to these thick tissue grafts and we are having relatively good success with this.
"The components of the vascularization that we are doing would be positioned as a root technology used for pretty much any tissue and organ engineering beyond a few millimeters of thickness.
"My goal when I entered the doctoral program many years ago was to develop an artificial heart, and I understand more of the complexities of doing this now. And that's led to a lot of what I’ve done ever since. We've made amazing progress here. And I hope to take these new therapies to the clinic, and then allow other researchers to utilize it for broader application, including tissue and organ engineering. It would then hopefully help rise the tide for all tissue and organ engineering projects out there."