By Anindita Gupta
This week I completed my first year with Sona as the company’s first business development manager, and I must say it has been an excellent and exciting journey.
Team Sona is one of the most inspiring teams I have been lucky enough to be a part of, full of knowledgeable people who are very passionate about making a real difference to people’s health and lives.
Over the course of the last year I have been proud to represent the company at various industry events, workshops, conferences and tradeshows, learning much about the diagnostics industry and specifically the lateral flow market and the incredible potential of Sona’s technology to disrupt both.
I have seen Sona Nanotech grow and develop from a confident startup with an innovative idea to a stock market-listed company with an impressive suite of products and services. Sona has quickly made a name for itself in a competitive market, and it’s been an honour to be a part of that.
In that time I have met some incredible people working at the cutting edge of lateral flow diagnostics, from scientists and academics to CEOs and salespeople. I am proud to have helped develop business strategies alongside our fantastic CEO Darren Rowles that have led to successful ongoing collaborations and partnerships with companies from across the world, with a particularly strong customer base in North America. I also assisted the company in signing a landmark deal with a global distributor – Expedeon – to sell our proprietary gold nanorod particles across the world.
Some of the collaborations I have helped to negotiate have been with leading companies in our industry such as Romer Labs, Operon and Soma Biosciences. These development projects, which include developing next generation lateral flow assays to detect various diseases, are not only gearing Sona for long-term revenue generation based on a licensing/royalties business model, but have also proved to be ideal for showcasing the performance of our gold nanorods in various platforms and tests.
I have worked very closely with Sona’s excellent R&D team to better understand our clients’ needs to develop these long-term relationships. Though many of the projects and partnerships I have helped initiate have been long-term, several are already starting to bear fruit, keeping all of us busy and on our toes.
One particular highlight of my year aside from my job role was becoming a named author on a scientific research paper. As part of my Master’s thesis work, I studied the role of retinoic acid (RA) signaling molecules in colorectal cancer progression. Though I achieved my Master’s degree in 2011, the paper was only published in 2018.
The biggest challenge for me was learning the lateral flow industry; as a newcomer to a close-knit, established scientific community, it took time to gain trust and make contacts, but I’m proud to have built a strong network that has helped get the company to the stage where we are working on large collaborative projects with leading companies.
As for the future, I’m looking forward to representing the company at events like AACC in Anaheim in August and the Advanced Lateral Flow Course in San Diego in October. I have a target list of companies with which I want to engage and build a strong customer base.
It is exciting to be working in such an innovative and forward-looking company with positive people who believe in growing the business together. I feel Sona’s future is extremely bright and I consider myself very fortunate to be a part of it.