Link To Guest Website: https://arrowdx.com/
Title: “Combining Nano-Technology & Machine Learning For Powerful Diagnostics”
Guest: Edward Olano of ArrowDx
Interviewer: Jeffrey Davis – MAGE LLC
Click here to read the transcript
Hello, everybody. Welcome back to Radio Entrepreneurs again, as I’ve always said, my name is Jeffrey Davis. I’m host of Radio Entrepreneurs, also a co-founder of the family business association over my left shoulder or whatever, and a to the bottom as my consulting for Mage LLC, since 1985, working with leaders and entrepreneurs to help them achieve their strategic goals and visions. And our next guest is Edward Olano, the co-founder and CEO of Arrow Diagnostics.
Welcome, welcome. Hey, good morning, Jeffrey. Good morning everybody. Thank you.
First of all, Edward, can you tell us about Aero diagnostics so we know what we’re talking?
Yeah, so we are a startup company that combines nanotechnology and machine learning to develop an inexpensive non-invasive diagnostic for fatty liver disease. I think what makes us very special Jeffrey is that although we’re focused on fatty liver disease, the goal is to create a diagnostic to catches disease early. We have a very versatile platform, so we can easily look at other diseases such as cancer, even viruses as well as non-biological applications though, we, for a time when we first started the company, we were focused on environmental diagnostics, but right now our main goal working with the doctors in Boston is to create a noninvasive diagnostic for this disease.
Jeffrey (1m 25s):
Oh, it sounds pretty exciting. Can you give us the process of, you know, how the, all of this evolved into what you know, what it is today?
Edward (1m 33s):
Sure, sure. So, you know, I’m a, I’m a chemist by training grew up in San Diego, California. I went to UC San Diego for my chemistry degree, then went for grad school, university of Texas at Austin. So after UT Austin, I worked in industry, worked in Latin. America, worked at academia, was also a program manager at UCLA for many years. And I always wanted to jump into business now. Whereas when I was a grad student, I took a few business classes, but never really enrolled in an MBA program about four and a half years ago. I got together with some friends, Jared Jacob, my co-founder. I met through a common contact in Los Angeles at the time. And we got together and we decided to do, to do what we had not done in grad school was started business.
Edward (2m 14s):
We were crazy. I had no idea how to do it. Fast forward. I met some great people, the American chemical society. They had an accelerator back in 20 18, 20 19. I participated in the accelerator. I was flying out to do the DC area every other month. And that’s how I met all my connections on the east coast to fast forward, mid some great doctors at Boston medical center at NYU. We asked them Jared and I asked him what is a crucial problem to solve? And we got involved in fatty liver disease. You know, it’s one of those diseases that about a third of the American population has. And it’s very challenging to the techno, just because you have elevated liver, enzymes does not mean you have the disease and the problem with the diseases that once the symptoms are very obvious, you’re no longer early stage.
Edward (3m 2s):
You’re most likely a candidate for liver transplant. So make a long story short. I moved to Boston, started working with collaboratives at BMC. Also NYU met a lot of my business contacts, some of my business advisers also from Boston and Pittsburgh. And we decided to start the company. You know, it’s been a challenge and we’ve never done this before, but we’ve, we’ve made some progress in the last two or three years. Well,
Jeffrey (3m 28s):
Yes, I’m sure it’s very hard to go from concept to public use. How, how long is the technology expected to be before it’s in public use?
Edward (3m 39s):
I’d say another year or two, you know, we are right now, we’re working to close our seed round and we hope to close it this summer. We have two angel groups from the area that are ha have a commitment in the round. And then we have to follow in five, 10 K FDA applications. So I’d say cautiously optimistic two more years, but you know, yeah. Two more years.
Jeffrey (4m 0s):
So we’re not going to be fast tracking it, like, like the COVID.
Edward (4m 5s):
Well, I mean, I, I wish we could, but any time we work with government agencies always takes longer than you expect. Right.
Jeffrey (4m 13s):
And I, you know, I, in my reading up about you, I found out that there are other verticals that there is applications for what you’re doing. Could
Edward (4m 20s):
You talk to her? Sure. So, so when Jared and I first started the company, we were focused on water diagnostics specifically coming up with a quick way to test frack water. And so we were working in Pittsburgh, you know, talking to a lot of companies, their console energy, trying to sell our product to people in the Pittsburgh area. So we have water. Diagnostics is one vertical. Another vertical is other diseases. As I mentioned, we’ve been approached by a lot of people during this pandemic to look at viruses. And so that’s something we may do later on another vertical we’ve been working on or have been approached by is to help develop an antivenom for dog, for snake bites fit specifically when snakes bite dogs, there are different types of steak, different types of venoms.
Edward (5m 10s):
So there’s different verticals that obviously we don’t have the manpower or the funds to look at multiple than one or two verticals at a time. But once we get more success with our current vertical, we’ll definitely either license our technology or work with other people to, to explore those other verticals. So
Jeffrey (5m 27s):
Give our listeners a sense of what are your next steps over the next, let’s say next 12 months in your process.
Edward (5m 34s):
Well, right now we’re working to close our round and we’re crossing our fingers and we’ll close it. This summary note COVID-19 threw us for spin, but things have picked up recently. We’ll be following our FDA at five 10 K class two FDA application. We’ll be, we’ll be making, we’ll be working with BMC to finish our clinical trials with the validation of the disease. And also hopefully start generating some revenue. You know, although we’re waiting to get clearance for our diagnostic for fatty liver, we can make some chips in the lab. Chips are basically our product, what we use to do the detection of these compounds. And we’ve been approached by a lot of folks who started selling our product to some researchers in the lab, whether it’s MIT or a university researcher.
Edward (6m 16s):
So it’s pretty much a sum it up a complete validation of our technology with, with clinical trials, following five, 10 K class two application and close our seed round.
Jeffrey (6m 27s):
Interesting. You know, you mentioned COVID coming out of it and I’ve noticed, do you find that the funding has changed over the last three to four
Edward (6m 36s):
Months? I think when COVID first started, there was a lot of push to develop quick diagnostics and other programs when the government, you know, NIH, I think that’s still there. You know, the space is very crowded. There’s a lot of big players in the COVID space. So definitely the, I think moving forward, there’s going to be a more of a push for, for inexpensive diagnostics. So I think we’ll we’re as Aero diagnostics is well positioned to take advantage of that. There’s many ways of detecting things. And I guess at the end of the day, you want something that’s inexpensive user-friendly and accurate, right?
Edward (7m 17s):
And I think we fit that bill. And how many are you in the company today? We’re five, we’re five folks as well as about three major advisors. So about eight people. But Jared and I are the main co-founders Murph McKean, who is also on right now on this call. Murph McKean is our VP of finance, who we’re very happy. He joined our team last fall. He brings a lot of experience in commercial medical diagnostics.
Jeffrey (7m 44s):
Oh, interesting. I’m an ex Ethicon guy out of J and J earlier in my career. So I know it’s not easy to make these things happen. Have you looked at partnering potentially with other companies?
Edward (7m 54s):
Yes, we’ve been because fatty liver disease right now is, is also our main vertical. There are several pharmaceutical companies, such as intercept pharmaceuticals that are working on therapies for this disease. And so we’ve been talking to them very, in a very preliminary fashion and hope that we can partner with them once they get their FDA approval.
Jeffrey (8m 14s):
Interesting. We’ve been speaking with Edward LNO, a co-founder and CEO of arrow diagnostics. My name is Jeffrey Davis. I’m also of a major LLC. It’s very exciting technology. You know, what can we expect? Any breakthroughs you think we could expect in the next couple of years?
Edward (8m 31s):
Well, I think, you know, our diagnostic is versatile. So although we’re focused on fatty liver, we definitely providing end users with an inexpensive product, right? So, you know, we hope that if we partner with the right folks, whether it’s a pharmaceutical company or continue working with Boston medical center in either hospital that we can provide a tool to. So I think, well, I think what would be great is if we have a tool that doctors can touch, when they see a patient that needs a quick diagnostic, you know, you go, you go to the doctor, they do blood work on you. Usually you get the results within a few hours, but sometimes blood work is not enough.
Edward (9m 14s):
No, you need to dive in further, right. And any disease, if it’s caught early, you know, you can have a good chance of making it when it’s caught late you’re in trouble. So I think, you know, instead is my team that we’re, well-positioned to be a part of that new, new innovation. And so it all depends what happens in the next few months. And we, we, we remain very positive. We’re open to working with anyone in the Boston area and anybody that’s going to be listening to this later on contact us know, we, we keep an open door. If we have a, a way to partner up with someone, we’ll definitely do it. You
Jeffrey (9m 49s):
Know, it was interesting with the COVID vaccine, how collaborative the industry was with information. I’m just wondering how competitive is your
Edward (9m 57s):
Business. It’s very competitive. You know, there are some big players, you know, you know, Roche diagnostics is one of the biggest players in the diagnostic field. So it’s very competitive and no, we hope that, you know, perhaps one of our exit strategies later on in a few years, there’ll be an acquisition for these bigger diagnostic company. So yes, it’s very, very competitive field, but our, our competitive edge is that we can do it quicker and more inexpensive as user-friendly
Jeffrey (10m 28s):
Edward, if somebody were wanting to learn more about, know more about arrow diagnostics or connect with you, how would they find you?
Edward (10m 37s):
They can go to our website and there’s a link there to, to contact us. They can also reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. So one of those two ways is, is a quick way of reaching us. You know, we check those accounts every day. I check my email constantly. So they reach out to us. They will definitely hear with us within a few hours to about a day. And so, like I said, again, we keep an open door policy. We’d love to work with a lot of people. Now, one of the things that I like about Boston being a transplant from California, it’s a very collaborative environment. Not that California wasn’t collaborative, but I think here, you know, you can walk down the street and knock on some doors and usually people will talk to you. No,
Jeffrey (11m 16s):
That was the nice comment about Boston and the culture that’s evolved here in terms of science and the professional community. Edward, I want to thank you for being on the show. Remind everybody, this is Radio Entrepreneurs, always staying up to date on the current trends in organizations, leadership, entrepreneurship, and we will be returning with more stories.
Edward (11m 36s):
Yeah. Thank you, Jeff. We think everybody. Bye. Thank you.
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