Rod Menchaca 0:01
Okay, perfect. So, thank you everyone for being here. Before starting, I am going to explain to you a personal story. At the beginning of the pandemic, it was March 11 2020, about three or four weeks after that this was declared a global pandemic. I got a phone call from John Hoffman, the CEO of Mobile Congress, saying something like, I want to introduce you, Zina Jarrahi Cinker, who is an expert in frontier materials. She's an astrophysicist. And I was like, okay, I am, I am in the digital world, training surgeons, I am in the business of data, and also education, but no materials. So I was listening to the conversation and thinking and she was speaking about graphene, about silicones, about sensors, etc. So I thought, okay, I need to understand these from a personal perspective before taking action on it. So this is why my first action after that conversation was to acquire a wheel because I am a mountain biker. So this graphene wheel. It’s super light, super strong. But after that, I decided to go one step further. And this is a tire made out of graphene too. Super, super sexy, right? In addition to that, I decided to buy the lubricant for my bike, which is graphene based. And you're thinking, okay, now you're a better cyclist, right? You're a better mountain biker? No, I'm not. But I am a mountain biker from the future. And this is the conversation that we are going to have today with like two guests. And we're going to land the plane. The first session in the meeting during the day was about the visionaries of the future, then we had a more technical session talking about graphene. But now we are going to learn the plane. We're going to talk with an industry representative and an entrepreneur coming out of academia. But I can't explain to you some wonderful things about their PhDs, and how relevant they are in their fields. But we're going to make it fun. Okay. Should we? Okay, let's do it. So please, turn yourself into a material. So select any material and introduce yourselves via a material.
Sandra Acosta 2:49
I think I will choose my organoids. The main reason is because, I have a volume, I'm three dimensional. I'm alive. I'm versatile. And I can respond to my environment. So those things are the organoids.
Rod Menchaca 3:06
Organoids. What an amazing concept. We're going to elaborate more on that. What about you, Pau?
Pau Turon 3:12
Yeah, thank you for your question. Then I prepared something because I was ready for that. Then I have two pieces of material. This is a hybrid system made of the most biocompatible material on the earth, I hope. And, the second one is the most extraordinary polymer that is DNA, the essence of life. And I prepared some slides for that. Then let's go for it. I will introduce hydroxyapatite because this is something that is not new, it's not the next frontier, then why is it here? Then let's say, I want the one day I was inspired. And I thought that I could put hydroxyapatite under prebiotic volcano conditions, 1000 degrees, 500 volts. And let's see what happened. The power of nature is incredible. Then, as you can see, the dirtiest storm acid, the amount of energy that can order the ions in the crystal lattice of hydroxyapatite.
Pau Turon 4:29
And what we obtain, I ask for help from our colleagues in the Polytechnic University of Catalonia to Professor Carlos Alaman. And we obtain a really enhanced material with extremely interesting properties, in terms of catalytic performance. This is what we named polarize hydroxyapatite and we believe that it's part of our future. Because you can ask yourself why B Braun as a company is interested in developing catalysts? Because our mission is to protect the health around the world. And today, human beings need something that we can remove CO2, methane, and use nitrogen that today is for free in the atmosphere. And we use this catalyst to obtain amino acids, something that in the last century, the experiment of Yury and Miller that developed the origin of life research, they tried, and they obtained the same using the sparks, like the volcano, we did it without using these sparks. But the two pieces of puzzle that I use are the hydroxyl light, the combination of hydroxyapatite and DNA. This combination is extremely interesting for the fact that the hydroxyapatite is a transfection vector able to introduce DNA inside of a cell that can be a tumor cell, or just can be a healthy cell, the one that donates their DNA. Just to finish, let me show that we made the simulation, then I'm proud to say that today, one of the colleagues that prepared the simulation, which today is not working with us, was a surprise. Then this is camera image of DNA, put in contact with the ions of Hydroxyapatite that is a calcium phosphate, then calcium and phosphate. Then they go round this particle and create this transfection vector. The problem that we use in our research is where we can find these particles. And I really thought about it. And using the help from my colleagues in the hospital, Tracy Pujol, we detected that this could be in the breast cancer tumors. We went to the OR and finally, we found in collaboration with the expo with the Catalan Photonic Institute, these particles are something that is reported in this paper this year, then after 10 years, we have a material that really synthesizes the spirit of being part of two different areas. And at the end, we can show that when you pursue your ideas, you are able to find the solution, you're able to answer that target.
Rod Menchaca 7:17
Fantastic. That's amazing. So clearly, what we're seeing here is the classic interaction between an entertainer and a consolidated Firm. You saw it in the introductions, right? So how strong and how powerful, you know, powerful and strongness are huge departments of innovation and development. A good and amazing ideas, that's going to be the next thing, the next big thing called organoids. But we are here because of a reason, right? There is a reason why you're here because you're not here, because of chance. We selected you to be part of this first PUZZLE X experience. Why do you think you're here? Sandra?
Sandra Acosta 8:06
I think because we are proposing our technology, it's only known for academics. It hasn't made the big jump into the market. But thanks to the COVID that that organoids became known. And actually all of us working with organoids, we started diverging our lines of research and made it for use for society. We’re testing drugs in these versatile three dimensional structures that are the organoids. So we provided a new tool that wasn't still in the arena yet.
Rod Menchaca 8:44
So are you saying that we can test drugs before touching you?
Sandra Acosta 8:49
Yes, that's what we're doing. We're doing patients' avatars have the different organs of each patient to test the drugs before they test any toxicity, before it makes a harmful effect on the patient. That it is.
Rod Menchaca 9:07
Well that sounds like the future, but actually, it's the present. And it's happening here. And you're like you're in (Spanish town).. And you are in (Spanish town), like 14 kilometers away. Why are you here?
Pau Turon 9:25
Yeah, I think that I'm here to share with you that in this spirit of protecting health around the world, that it's our mission as a company, we recognize that we don't have the best ideas. This means that we want to share expertise and to cooperate with anyone that has a good idea. We recognize that networking is really what would make it happen. This is something that it's not prepared when they have an idea, let's go ahead. You need this solid infrastructure of people who really knows what's the future, and this interconnection really makes sense for us.
Rod Menchaca 10:00
If that makes sense. And also I know that there are several biomedical engineering students here, and also some other players, I don't know, I saw some skeletons from Anibal, and some other friends here in the room. But all of us in medicine and healthcare, we're talking about precision and personalized medicine. Personalized medicine is something that's all over the place. But what are the challenges and what do you have, or you want to say, from the organoids, and from your project, OrganAID? What's your challenge facing this personalization?
Sandra Acosta 10:38
I think I want to start from how we made the organoid a few years ago. So that started with an idea when I was 10, that I wanted to make vaccines and provide drugs that could reach people and cure diseases. Of course, it was a troublesome decision for me because my family didn't want me to study biology, which they thought wasn't a very wise decision when I was 18. But indeed, I took my lead and I did it. And I started working with these technologies, and finally became a developmental biologist. And then I started to learn how each individual person's become unique. So it's during our developmental stage. And one of the ways we learn that is through the modeling of these avatars that are the organoids that you can see now, here, this is an organoid of the brain. And those whie things that you see is the neural network that the brain cells of that particular patient that we are modeling are connected. So these give us the opportunity to really mimic the brain of that person. And if this person has a disease, a brain disease, we can actually model and tackle the things and we can test drugs, as you know, brain disorders are the ones that have the lowest rate of efficacy in terms of drugs. So the idea came up. I do have a tool to study how the brain works, but maybe I can use this tool to treat why the brain doesn't work properly.
Rod Menchaca 12:27
What's the size, the actual size of an organoid?
Sandra Acosta 12:30
That's around two to 500 microns, which will be around 100 times smaller than a ping pong ball.
Rod Menchaca 12:39
Wow. Oh, that's amazing. That's tiny, tiny, right? Sure. It's like a microorgan. So Pau, I have a question for you. We are in the era of co creation and what we learned from COVID was something very powerful, which is we need to collaborate closer, different industries, different players, big players, new rookies in the town. So from your perspective, from a super highly consolidated firm, how do you see this collaboration and cooperation?
Pau Turon 13:14
Yeah, this nice question. The future, in my opinion, is based on the future of talents, how can we generate this new generation of talented people, because I remember when I was young, people was telling you, you need to study something, you need to make a PhD, if it's the case, you need to be an expert. And at the end, everybody is an expert in something, and we miss the bridge, we have some gaps to be filled. And if you look at the mega trends in the medical device sector, we see sensors, we see materials, we see medicine, we see even human resources, how we manage our skills, then we need a new generation of people that can talk the same language, even when this is done. And we include in the equation, a lawyer, someone from the business perspective, and everybody is in the same room at the same table. We need to use the same words we need to understand each other, just to create this innovation if not, it does not happen. Even some people coming from business they say, pkay, what's this? I cannot understand what you're saying from science, so we need to be able to communicate with each other. And this should be done from the beginning. We need to have experts to develop experts. But at the same time, someone should cross the bridge and say, okay, let's go together, let's understand each other, and let's create something together for the future.
Rod Menchaca 14:38
But is this an open invitation to everyone? So how can I with my idea with Sandra, for example, can the approach be round?
Pau Turon 14:49
Yeah, again, good question. We have many channels to communicate to be around, for instance, through LinkedIn through the website, even if you want to do it I am ready to do it. And the point is that it's really welcome any idea coming from around the world. We are in contact with students, with surgeons, with nurses, and everybody seems to think that the idea is the right one.
Rod Menchaca 15:14
But the bottom line message is that you are in Barcelona. This is not happening in Palo Alto, this is not happening in Asia. This is right here in our backyard.
Pau Turon 15:23
Yeah, sure. This is happening in Ruby. But today, we have the option, the opportunity to be interconnected, we are really lucky to have within 50 kilometers of diameter a really high concentration of university, technological centers, university hospitals, and the knowledge related to the pharma- and to the medical device industry is there, then we have this opportunity. And as you probably remember, B.Braun was awarded for the cooperation of public and private 15 years ago. And it's a kind of acknowledgement of our willingness to receive partnership, and just to give ideas, our motto is sharing expertise, and we are open for any collaboration, of course, we cannot do everything, but we are ready to listen to you. Because as I had mentioned, the good ideas are not always in our sight, then probably it's in your sight. And we should be smart enough to have to listen to you and to understand what you mean. And try to include this in our company and in our future.
Rod Menchaca 16:26
I want to be really mad here, so I'm going to need your collaboration. Please disappear for a second. Okay. Be transparent about the new frontier materials we are having right now. And you're going to be watching us. We're having a meeting between someone with a great idea. And someone with the power of making that idea happens. So let's do a like, like a pitch. This is my invitation, I know that that is risky, but let's have fun. Now we are all assisting to this meeting between a consolidated player and an entrepreneur with an amazing idea with an amazing future. But I want you to be aggressive with your questions. So I want you Pau to ask a key question to Sandra. And I want you Sandra, to ask a key question to Pau. I don't know if you need time. But Sandra, should we start with you?
Sandra Acosta 17:38
Should I? Yeah. So I was wondering, and for many years, why we decided to go with these technologies, seeing the rates of the difficulties that the big companies have to put new pharma products into the market. What can we do for you, how can we help you to develop this process?
Pau Turon 18:03
Yeah. Good question. The point is that, when you have a big brand behind you, and you receive an approach from an idea or a good idea, our DNA says, OK, be careful, we cannot fail. We are dealing with people who are ill, then we need to be sure we need to make a respectful approach, which is what we usually do, and even our customers, surgeons or nurses, they are extremely prudent than any innovation should go through a visibility and feasibility study, and later go through the regulatory process that is becoming much, much more complex, even if we think that it really makes sense. But at the same time, we have a difficulty to identify what can we do internally and externally, then if we try to do everything internally, we cannot do it, then it's much better that startups or just a research group at the university, you can collaborate with us saying, okay, this is the basic knowledge, let's try to make mature the idea. Let's fund some projects that at the end, we can reach to the right conclusion that if we develop this, we are not going to fail because our commitment is to heal people. But at the same time, we have the risk of harming people. And this is our recent paradox, that we want to be innovative, Wwe want to look for the future and at the same time, everybody is really being cautious for this reason. And I'm sure that in this role, the universities and the research group can help us in trying to identify the right knowledge for the future and save a lot of time or money saying okay, this is good or this is the right one, you should go that way. We really appreciate that.
Rod Menchaca 19:51
Pau, I love the concept, the right knowledge for the future. I think that's a super powerful concept to capture and to take to the future with us.
Pau Turon 20:06
I would say, what could be your expectations when you would like to cooperate with a pharma developMent? What's your motivation for that project? Because at the end, you usually have your own field of research, you have specific funding, and sometimes the cooperation is not so easy for many reasons, for IP rights, or whatever it is, and what do you think that it's the key topics that a company should do or should not do to make it happen to make it work?
Sandra Acosta 20:37
Yeah, that's an excellent question that we face every day. So I think the main limit that we'll face constantly is to reach the patients. Actually, patients come to us. I constantly get emails from patient associations that want to tackle their particular diseases with our technology. But we cannot do that we don't have we are a group of 5 or 10 people, we collaborate with other institutions, we are very versatile, we are very multidisciplinary, but we don't have the power, nor the manpower, nor the economic power to reach to those patients and give them what they need. And very often they want their own specific treatment. And of course, that's what we cannot do. We are not an industry, we are generators of knowledge, we are transmitters of these technologies, but what we need is someone to implement them and to reach this need that the society, or in our case the patients, have. In terms of general treatments, but especially reaching these particular needs that a unique patient has, so the personalized medicine gets settled in the society, that will be my dream, actually.
Pau Turon 21:59
It really fits in our vision of the world. Because at the end, we want to deliver products to heal the patients, we cannot think that every patient is similar to the right to the next one. That's why personalized medicine really makes sense for us because every patient has a pathway. And we want to be the partner for that pathway, then understanding the diagnosis phase and the treatment phase that really could help to achieve the right targets for the future.
Rod Menchaca 22:26
And great. So it's interesting because your answer Pau was related to the regulatory framework, the complexity of the establishment in a big pharma, right. Your answer was pointing to the patient, right? I know that both of you are at your end, the end of the road is the patient. But your roles are different. You're different pieces of this puzzle. And thi is why this is called PUZZLE X. So my last question, and is more like what's your vision? It's not, it's not just a question. What's your vision in the creation of this half, selecting Barcelona as the center to create the first half in the world around frontier materials?
Pau Turon 23:19
Well, yeah, I am convinced that this is the only future. 10 years ago, B.Braun decided to decentralize the center of excellence of clothes with technologies, to close a surgical wound, my commitment was, let's create a network here around us and not to abandon the our network internationally, then we can create this common sense confidently, start working in small projects. Let's see, let's interact, let's see, how do you work, what's your vision, your attitude in front of the research, and then we can go for really bigger projects, then this really makes sense. I know that I have a call, basically a call or WhatsApp saying, okay, what do you think about it, let's talk and it's really fast and really quick. And this is the future. And this morning, someone was talking about how we have a lot of papers, scientific papers, but we missed the innovation. We miss innovation, because we need to be interconnected. That's the point. As soon as we are interconnected, we will develop the patterns and we will deliver the products to the market.
Rod Menchaca 24:20
Wow, we miss the innovation. That's also another powerful concept. Sandra, what's your vision?
Sandra Acosta 24:27
Yeah, I think you say the big word. So the interrelationship between the different key players in the field. I think it's one of the main reasons that I actually came back to Barcelona specifically, after traveling the world as a scientist. Here, in health care, I think we have a very good arena to develop these connections. I mean, we have from the perspective of the clinical part. We have excellent hospitals both in private and public systems. Both have advantages and disadvantages. And we have another point very, and I think it's crucial in how the health system or the health industries working in Barcelona is that we have many clinics, we are one of the main cities doing clinical trials, especially in southern Europe, but specifically in Europe. And compared to the rest of the world, we are very well positioned, and being in a small city, that it’s determinant for the connection of individuals, like scientists and industry, and clinical. So I'm a professor at the Medical School, so I have a hospital right next to my door. I constantly talk to clinicians, I get in touch with patients. But then we have the industries right across the road. And we have excellent research centers that provide the technology. At the edge of those technologies we've seen the materials, like graphene, we're working with people to install graphene in our organoids, we're working with the Photonic Institute to get the most beautiful images that we can get. And not because they are beautiful, it's because having a beautiful image is giving lots of information about the status of this life instruction that are the organoids. And so all this is helping, like in our case, creating an avatar that can mimic the patient's disease. So we can try the drugs. We have everything that we need to go and implement it to the patient, the soonest that we will be able to do anywhere in the world is probably here, beyond a few other places in the world that probably goes to Harvard or San Francisco, very limited places have this potential as Barcelona. So I think we're set for the right road.
Rod Menchaca 27:00
Great. So okay, let's come back. We're ending the meeting, we have clear next steps or what’s clear North. So let's come back to the audience. So what happens here is the classic conversation between someone with a very good idea, and a powerful project, and a player who is consolidated. And the limitations and notes that I was taking were the right knowledge for the future, we’re missing innovation, personalized medicine, your avatar and the possibility of testing drugs before touching the patient, the ability of doing it together, but the one that inspired me the most, is the right place to be, we’re in the right place. So one minute each, what’s the invitation for the audience, from the stage to be engaged with this initiative, PUZZLE X?
Sandra Acosta 28:01
We want the patients to be treated with the treatment that they deserve, we want to be perfectly treated. So that's why we need all the expertise together.
Pau Turon 28:10
Yeah, I will come back again to the hydroxyapatite. We need to merge the old and the new, the inorganic, and the organic, the catalytic, and the cancer research, and anything else like organoids. Then this really merges our skills, our knowledge, our strength, and this is the future. The only way that we can succeed creating a better world is that we really put all together our efforts to create something better. And we cannot do it only from the private sector. We need the public sector and we need any player, any stakeholder that is ready to create this better world for the future.
Rod Menchaca 28:47
Okay, nothing more to say thank you for the opportunity of listening to your project and the theater, the consolidation and the invitation to the rest to be part of this amazing revolution to make a better world. Thank you very much!