My big project

For the first project I started here I wanted to go big: combining unique science driven by federal/nonprofit grants and designing an application based on this science while working with industry.  This project has been my baby (I wonder if it will get jealous of the new baby?), and it’s been on my mind constantly for years.  It was the first idea I had when deciding to make the academic switch.  We presented it in a big conference my first year then publishing a few manuscripts based on the work afterward.  The journal wasn’t great, but I was still developing a name.  After the first manuscript, I shared it with a collaborating company I used to work with and proposed an idea for an application.  I hadn’t submitted a patent yet, as I was willing to let them slap their names on this once we did initial work together (IP law…gotta love it).  They liked it and I was able to recruit one post-doc and an undergrad to do the work.  A couple of years later we implanted in vivo and got useful data.  Shortly after, we officially transferred the design to the company for them to run with it.  This was a huge milestone.  It allowed me to fulfill a deal I had with myself that I would find ways to successfully turn my academic research from manuscript to product.  I checked up recently, since I have another idea and the product is preparing for human studies since physicians want to try it in Europe, however, I’ve already been told that it probably won’t be marketed unless they find a different regulatory strategy for their largest market: the US (the FDA….gotta love it).  So I was a little bummed, but I was pretty pumped to see this happen.  When I was in industry, I launched multiple therapies that are curing people every day, but this just feels so damn satisfying.  I have other projects with potential, and I’ve been looking at the start-up route once/if I get tenure.  I grew to hate the business stuff right now, it’s nice to not hate it again.

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