A lot of progress has been made at TAI Diagnostics since 2017 when CEO Frank Langley made his first presentation to investors at the then-Michigan Growth Capital Symposium. And he is eager to share the good news with investors at this year’s Symposium.
“Two years ago, I talked about a test we were going to launch,” Langley explains. “Now we have launched our MyTAIHeart test, and we have customers who are using it. Commercially, we have advanced pretty significantly.”
MyTAIHeart is a non-invasive blood test used to monitor patients who have received heart transplants to check for signs of early rejection of the organ. It has many advantages over the use of tissue biopsies, which are expensive, invasive, painful and may cause potential problems for patients.
The Wauwatosa, Wisconsin-based startup was launched in 2015 to develop and commercialize cell-free DNA technology licensed from the Medical College of Wisconsin for monitoring transplanted organs. With MyTAIHeart now on the market, the company expects to launch its MyTAILung test later this year and has started clinical trials on a similar test for kidney transplants.
“Another big advance is that we have received a reimbursement code for MyTAIHeart and are in the process of securing coverage and payments for the test,” Langley reports. “In addition, we have more publications than we did in 2017. These include a publication in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology as well as numerous meeting abstracts and significant articles in process.”
Last year, TAI Diagnostics inked a collaboration agreement with United Therapeutics Corporation. “We are developing our test for their companion diagnostic use in their ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP) and xenotransplantation initiatives,” Langley remarks. “Xenotransplantation is a ways off, but it is exemplifies the collaborative work we’re doing.”
EVLP is a process of evaluating and preparing donor lungs outside the body prior to transplant surgery. Xenotransplantation involves the transplantation, implantation or infusion into a human recipient of live cells, tissues or organs from a nonhuman animal source, such as a pig.
TAI Diagnostics also has made great strides in the area of financing. “We’ve secured $25 million in funding from inception to date,” Langley reports. “We are now looking to raise another $15 million to $20 million in our Series B round, and we’ll be talking to investors at this year’s Symposium.”
At the 2017 MGCS, Langley was able to meet prospective investors and build key relationships. Many of those follow-on conversations are continuing today. “We expect to have more-advanced discussions with investors at this year’s event and to meet new prospective investors as well,” he says.
All in all, Langley indicates he is pleased with the advancements TAI Diagnostics has made in the past two years.
“We are now a commercial company that is ramping up sales, getting clinical adoption for our product and looking for more funding to build out our commercial infrastructure and do additional product development,” he concludes.