Q2 2022, Message From The CEO
Where did all the time go?
It feels like only 1 week ago that I was writing my first ever “Message from the CEO” for the Q1 Investor Report. I guess it is true what they say: “time flies when you are building a digital health and advocacy startup that is committed to preventing kidney failure, one family at a time.”
It has, expectedly, been a hectic quarter for the team, culminating in Collogh Cares winning the Healthcare category for the Pitch competition, “Quebec at Collision Startup Showcase” at the Collision Conference in Toronto – organised by Investissement Quebec, in collaboration with Desjardins Enterprises, Mouvement des accélérateurs d’Innovation du Québec, Panache Ventures, and Conseil de la cooperation de l’Ontario. This was a team effort and a hard-earned, well-deserved win for the team; I can only reiterate how proud I am of everyone’s commitment to the cause.
As we foresaw in the Q1 Investor Report, in this quarter we narrowed our focus to clearly defining answers to the three critical questions at this stage of the company: 1.) Will it work? 2.) Will it be approved? 3.) Will it be paid for? In other words, product development, FDA regulatory approval, and commercialization, respectively. I am pleased to report that we have made significant strides on all three fronts.
On the product development front, we have finished the design of the patient-facing mobile application and back-end coding is in full swing. We have hired two additional resources to support the development team and ensure we are on track for delivery in Q4 2022.
On the regulatory front, we held multiple strategy sessions with our regulatory expert-on-retainer which led us to a critical strategic decision that significantly impacts our regulatory pathway (makes it shorter). We decided to launch the minimally viable product (MVP) digital health ecosystem without the predictive artificial intelligence (AI) functionality. We will build the AI algorithm as an ongoing research project in the background and deploy it later in the product life cycle of the digital health ecosystem. This approach means we have less uncertainty regarding regulatory approval; as we can launch an early version of the ecosystem as a Class I Software as a Medical Device (SaMD), and then apply to the FDA for an upgrade when the predictive AI feature is ready to be activated. We will work on finalising and submitting our Intended Use Statement to the FDA in Q3 to reaffirm the feasibility of this pathway.
On the commercialization front, we have held exploratory meetings with the Chief Medical Officers and care management leadership teams from 2 of the 5 health insurance companies contracted to manage Medicaid recipients in the State of Ohio. This was made possible by the generosity of our advisor, Diane Wish, who has made numerous high-level introductions on our behalf in the past 12 months. Diane’s passion and experience as a nurse and then business leader in kidney disease management for over 4 decades – including as CEO of the Centers for Dialysis Care (largest chain of about dialysis centres in North-East Ohio) for 35 years, and current President/Co-founder of the Ohio Renal Association – has been a major asset for us. We are extremely grateful for her support. While still early days, these opening conversations have been highly encouraging and validating. To directly quote one of the health insurance executives, “it was clear that you and your team have a true passion for the CKD population and you offered very innovative ideas to engage members.” Taking advantage of this momentum, we are in negotiations with a former Vice President at a Fortune 100 US-based health insurer to join our team and guide the commercialization efforts. She has been advising us informally since October last year and will transition to an official consultancy role in Q3, if we reach an agreement as expected.
On the fundraising front, our decision to be more selective and targeted appears to be paying off as we closed 3 strategic angel investments in this quarter. As we explain further in the “Ask” section of this report, we have found a strategic lever that could help us achieve our target of $1M USD by September 2022. Our focus in the coming quarter is on finding a lead investor to qualify for this investment matching program. This is a major priority for Q3, and we will greatly appreciate your help in achieving this target.
Last but not least, on the advocacy front, we have doubled down on raising awareness of kidney failure through our social media channels, exploring collaborations with patient advocacy organisations, and media appearances. I was privileged to be on national radio at the end of May in a 40-minute interview on Professor Karl Moore’s CEO Series, where we discussed the mission and long-term vision of Collogh Cares Inc. The radio interview and the accompanying podcast episode has raised our profile across Canada, and directly led to numerous discussions about potential investments and other partnership opportunities. You can listen to the full interview here.
As always, I write this message with immense humility and gratitude to everyone who has believed in our mission and given us the opportunity to build this company through their support. A heartfelt thank you, from myself and the team.
Dr. Collins Oghor
July 7, 2022