Goethe said; “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it.”
Robert Kennedy said: “Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.”
Last June, we organized a series of meetings in Austin that focused on companies and product concepts in the Life Sciences field. The scientists and companies that participated introduced their concepts to an out of town Venture Capital investment team that was focused on concepts and products in life sciences.
One of the companies that presented to our out of town guests has developed a diagnostic test to quickly determine the existence of Tuberculosis – quickly, as in 30 minutes. Building upon the science developed at Texas A&M, Global BioDiagnostics Corp., has a global license on a technique to rapidly and easily identify the existence of an enzyme produced by many different pathogenic bacteria. Tuberculosis is their first focus.
The results of the original research done at Texas A&M and Stanford University has enabled ongoing funding of the research from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Despite this success, the Texas angel community has completely ignored Global BioDiagnostics, even though the Company has been gaining traction with investment groups internationally.
How could this be?
We’ve linked this post to the World Health Organization page on Tuberculosis. TB remains a highly communicable and common worldwide problem, but is most prevalent in third world countries. TB mixed with HIV is common in those countries, and is a sure-fire killer. The ability to detect TB easily, quickly, and earlier in the infection cycle means that healthcare practitioners all over the world can realistically see the possibility of curing the disease before the patient becomes contagious and infects co-workers, family members, and friends. Suffice it to say, that an easy to use test that can rapidly diagnose TB is a billion dollar opportunity.
It will change the world.
We followed up with them last week.
Global BioDiagnostics has the worldwide license on their particular technique which covers many other diseases besides Tuberculosis. Their technique has the potential to positively identify TB within 30 minutes, versus the current standard of 30 days. Moreover, their diagnostic test will utilize a small and inexpensive battery operated device (about the size of a netbook) that can be used in the most remote parts of any third world country. A recent announcement by a prospective competitor was made for a $60,000 system that can be used in a lab. That system takes a few days to generate a response.
As a doctor in the field, which one do you think you can use?
The key scientists at Texas A&M and Stanford published a paper describing their technique and key findings in a National Academy of Sciences paper in June 2010. (One has to be a world known scientist to be a member of NAS and publish in that journal).
However, despite the progress, Global BioDiagnostics is still looking for funding.
One friend recently suggested that in Los Angeles or New York, a waiter is likely to be an aspiring actor. In Austin, your waiter is likely to be an aspiring entrepreneur. However, the aspiring entrepreneurs in Austin seem to be focused on the current social media bubble, writing some code, and hopefully, making a million dollars when they sell their idea to Google or Facebook. We think a “few” others in Silicon Valley, Boston, NYC, and a dozen other cities in the USA have the same idea.
We will suggest that the real social progress in this century will be the result of scientific discoveries in the Life Sciences fields, not in developing a new game for Facebook, or developing some method to spam a smartphone with advertising to track my purchasing behavior.
Here is the real crime. The USA may soon lose any future opportunity to own the applied research if it moves offshore.
Doing things that others don’t is a great way to show leadership. If an investor wants to truly make a difference on this planet with their wealth, find a Life Sciences company to fund.
We know of a great one.
By Richard Piotrowski CFA is a former #1 ranked securities analyst, and the Managing Partner of Outram Research LLC, which focuses on assisting startups and prospective turnaround companies define an executable product strategy, competitive strategy, and an exit strategy. You can follow Richard on Twitter: @Angelpitchdoc. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at his blog: angelpitchdoc.wordpress.com. Also check out our website: www.outramresearch.com