葉德夫 Te-Fu Yeh
黃偉倫 Wei-Lun Huang
鍾崇仁 Chung-Jen Chung
Our product is a special carbon based nanoparticle (Graphene Oxide Quantum Dot-name BriDots®) for labeling bio-molecules that provides signal output (such as fluorescence and luminescence) for bio-molecule detection which is critical for not only basic biomedical research but also pharmaceutical development and clinical diagnosis. The BriDots® have several major advantages compared with the present labeling materials for biomedical applications including low-toxicity, high stability, multi-color products; size fitting, and functional groups fitting that provides superior competitiveness for the BriDots®.
a. What's new about it? So what? Why people wants to pay for it?
What we make is a special carbon based nanoparticle (Graphene Oxide Quantum Dot-name BriDots®) for labeling bio-molecules that provide signal output (such as fluorescence, luminescence) for bio-molecule detection which is critical for not only basic biomedical researches but also pharmaceutical development and clinical diagnosis. We have two series of products- the BriDots® that can direct emit fluorescent signals suitable for dynamic analysis and the BriDots® that can catalyze substrate reaction and consequently provide various signals depend on the substrate used (such as fluorescence and luminescence) suitable for ultrasensitive analysis.
For example, as for biomedical fluorescent labeling, the BriDots® have several major advantages compared with the fluorescent materials nowadays including low-toxicity, high stability, multi-color products, size fitting, and functional groups fitting. Thus, the BriDots® provides advantage for many niche applications such as in vitro time-lapse monitoring of fluorescent signals in basic research and for the in vitro and even in vivo clinical diagnosis as well. For example, for the stem cell therapies, we need to trace the labeled stem cells in the patients’ body for weeks or even longer to make sure the cells could function in the proper positions. The half-life of the traditional fluorescent materials-organic dyes is less than an hour that is far from what stem cell therapy needs. Though the stability of the next generation fluorescent materials-the metal based quantum dots are much better, the toxic issue makes it difficult to be applied in the long term in vivo signal monitoring. However, all these issues could easily be addressed by using the BriDots®. All together, these properties will also give the BriDots® great advantages against the current fluorescent materials for the basic research, the IVD usages as well as in vivo diagnosis and other pharmaceutical application in the future.
b. How do you make money? How much? How do you scale and sustain? How much money do you need and how long to break-even? Give us the best estimate.
Ｗe have several different strategies to gain the revenue. Firstly, as a material provider, we will deal with the biotech companies (such as antibody companies like Santa Cruz) in a B2B manner. Secondly, our patent portfolio can be authorized to other companies. Finally, we don’t exclude the possibility to be merged by major companies. In the first two years, we plan to setup two production lines for the mass production gradually. For each production line, we can offer 5,000 sets of BriDots® per month which will provide output value of 36, 72, and 144 million NTD for the first 3 years. We need about 36 million NTD to kick-off. It will take 3 years to break-even after kick-off.
c. How will you get users? How do you cross the chasm?
In the early phase of our startup, we will position us as a row material providing company, we will deal with the biotech companies (such as antibody companies) in a B2B manner through several different paths. First of all, Technology Transfer & Business Incubation Center (TTBIC) and Medical Device Innovation Center (MDIC) of NCKU have provided us many great connections such as Dr. Jenkuei Liu (劉任貴博士) who is the department head of Thermo Fisher. After the first discussion, he is very interested in our platform and he now followed our progression contentiously. Dr. Liu could potentially bridge us directly to one of this biggest biotech company. As an end user, Wei-Lun has went through a bottom-up path to connect the Sartorius Stedim Biotech via their sales channel and we have a MOU with them for the material supplement and sales channel cooperation. We would also like to take any chance to expose our technology in the pitches and matchmaking will programs to get more connections.
Because of the great fluorescent properties of our products, we expect the BriDots® to be with superior competitiveness and will high potency to penetrate the niche market mention previously. In addition, we have a cost-effective and manpower saving manufacturing process which will largely decrease the operating costs. All these will help us to cross the chasm.
d. If you've started working on it, how far along are you? Do you have revenue or users already? If not launched yet, how soon would the products be ready to be released?
We did not launch yet, but soon. We planned to launch our first product in 2018 and the kick-off will be in 2017. We have now prepared the massive production manufacture process and settled the commercialized product specifications to prove our ability to be a capable material provider not just an academic research group. In this period the MOST-Germination program and TTBIC, NCKU would provide us some help. However, we think that the NCKU-SVAA Incubation Program could have great impact on our team and largely facilitate our startup program.
e. Who are your current or potential competitors? Why you are way better? What keep you awake at night?
The companies producing traditional fluorescent compounds (such as Molecular Probes-Thermo Fisher), the secondary generation metal quantum dots (such as Nanoco), as well as the other novel fluorescent nano-crystals such as silicon based quantum dots (such as LumiSands) and nano-diamond (such as Biodiamond) are our major competitors. As mentioned previously, our products have several major advantages compared with the fluorescent materials nowadays including low-toxicity, high stability, multi-color products, size fitting, and functional groups fitting that give the BriDots® great advantages against the current fluorescent materials for the basic research, the IVD usages as well as in vivo diagnosis and other pharmaceutical application in the future (please find the detail comparison in the following table).
Although the BriDots® provides such great functions, how to get into the market efficiently and keep our technology advance robustly is what keep us awake at night. The market stuff and the business model are the most important items that we would like to learn from the mentors from NCKU-Silicon Valley Alumni Angels (Of course, the models how the startup company get funding, build up connections, make deals, and grow are absolutely what we have to learn in Silicon Valley too.).
2013年全國奈米科技應用創意競賽 大專社會組 金獎
NCKU-SPARK incubation program (2015/04-2016/08)
MOST-Germination program-萌芽創業推廣計畫 (2016/09-2017/12)