Thursday, I went to a funeral Mass of one of our neighbors. She had always been in good shape, never overweight, instead on the thin side. She was 66 years old. I drove by her house at least twice a day, every day for 23 years. I would oftentimes see her in the front yard. Sometimes it was walking to the mailbox, talking to neighbors or workers, or watching her grandkids play as she talked to her children.
I suddenly stopped seeing her sometime around August of this year, when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Four short months later, she is gone.
As I reflected on the death of a thin, active and still fairly young lady (life expectancy is for 19 more years when you’re a 66 year-old woman), I couldn’t help but think of the business that I am in. You see, you and I…we are in a business where, if we sponsor the right companies, we can make a real difference in people’s lives.
I get to sift, filter, identify, acquire ownership, and communicate with others about innovative entrepreneurial companies. I have been blessed to have been a shareholder in a number of very successful early stage companies in health-related sectors. Will these companies prevent someone from dying? Perhaps. Of course, we are all going to die, but discoveries in various sectors of the medical industry can lead to early detection of diseases, improved and prolonged quality of life, and potentially, a more pain-free existence, plus outsized returns for patient investors.
As an example, at Tailwinds, we are very bullish on biOasis. Simply put, it has been extremely difficult to effectively transport drugs, including the billion dollar drugs, across the blood brain barrier. Perhaps trace amounts of some of these drugs are able to pass through. But thanks to biOasis, it appears that a means of transporting significant amounts of these drugs across the blood brain barrier will be in the market sometime soon.
What would this mean to drug companies that have existing and approved FDA billion and multi-billion dollar drugs, if they might be able to treat diseases in ways that they never could treat before? For a major pharmaceutical company, this is a huge opportunity that requires exploration. This could be a way to extend the life and uses of their already approved billion dollar drugs.
So, what does this mean for biOasis? It means that they have something that most every major pharmaceutical company is likely to discuss with them, and many are likely to want to license. It means up-front fees, milestone payments, and ongoing royalties to biOasis with every drug sale.
When will this happen? It has begun. Three licensing deals have been put in place. With confirming data and the first three agreements, it looks like the tip of the iceberg. biOasis is transitioning from developmental to commercial. They are expanding operations as they are currently in talks with a number of potential partners, and they expect several additional agreements to be inked in 2017, with more in 2018 and beyond. It is one thing to have a major pharma as your partner. It is something altogether different to have a drug delivery platform whereby many major pharmas could likely be your partner. The potential is huge.
What does this mean to you and me as investors? These types of projects are why I love searching for the potential winners in this business. Do I think biOasis is going to have a positive impact for our fellow man? I absolutely do. If I am right, do I think we are going to make a lot of money? Yes!
What does this mean for the millions of people like my neighbor out there? Discoveries that come through companies like biOasis and their partners might mean more years for those people with their spouses, children, and grandchildren. It might mean being able to reach that additional 19 years of life expectancy for a 66 year old woman and with a greater quality of life.
On days like today, sitting at a funeral, my heart hurts for what her husband and loved ones are going through. At the same time, I realize my investments may prevent death, extend life, provide a good quality of life, and yield exceptional financial returns. For today, that is as good as it gets.
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