Neurostimulation for Opioid Withdrawal Relief


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Daniel Litwin: Hello everyone and welcome to the very first episode of Vital Spark, a Spark Biomedical podcast. I'm your host Daniel Litwin, the voice of B2B. We're here at a beautiful day in studio, and we're excited to be bringing you the first episode of our show, where at large, we're going to be exploring various topics, but more importantly, and more specifically, we're going to be exploring alternatives to treating opioid addiction and withdrawal. We're going to be chatting and discussing the larger issues surrounding addiction, how it impacts care systems from patients obviously to physicians as well, and where cutting edge technology and methodologies will play a critical role in finding solutions to this persisting crisis. That's a big picture view. We're going to get more specific too today on the podcast, on what our listeners can expect from the show and then we'll also get into the meat of today's episode.

But before we do that, make sure you're heading to our website sparkbiomedical.com. Again, sparkbiomedical.com as well as subscribing two Vital Spark on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, just hit that subscribe button and you'll have a full catalog of previous conversations plus notifications when we drop new ones and for all the video episodes, you'll want to head to our website. So folks, on our first episode of the show, we're going to be covering several topics, but mainly we're wanting to get you acquainted with how Spark Biomedical fits into the larger narrative of opioid addiction treatment by pulling from our internal expertise to get an update on the state of the addiction crisis, of the process for developing an innovative technology for addiction treatment and how our podcast will help foster some necessary discussions around tackling the crisis and moving key aspects of those solutions forward. So just for a little context here, the last two years have been a catastrophe to put it lightly for addiction related issues.

The National Center for Health Statistics reported that from the period between April of 2020 to April of 2021, so one year a period more than 100,000 Americans died from a drug related overdose, and that's actually a 30% increase and a total that represents more fatalities than car crashes and gun violence combined, so this is a major issue. And, individual states two are seeing opioid specific overdose rates increase as well with the CDC correlating a lot of that to the increased availability and presence of fentanyl in various drugs. So with our first episode, again, what we're wanting to do is get that high level view of the crisis as well as some granular insights on developing said innovative technical solution, and to do so we're going to be welcoming one of the three founders of Spark Biomedical. He's been in the medical device and neuromodulation field for 15 plus years, and more specifically in the areas of implantable devices for Parkinson's tremor relief and epilepsy therapy, so let's go ahead and welcome my Daniel partner in crime here, Mr. Daniel Powell, CEO of Spark Biomedical. Dan, great to have you on. How are you doing?

Daniel Powell: Thank you very much, glad to be here.

Daniel Litwin: Real pleasure getting to pull from your expertise and your leadership at Spark Biomedical, so let's go ahead and cut right to the chase. I'll get your thoughts here on some of the stats that I laid out, but I guess at large, I want to first get your perspective on how this conversation in this podcast will play a role in moving necessary discussions forward. So your podcast, and more importantly your solutions, touch on this persisting issue in our nation, the opioid crisis. So, what conversations do you think the care industry need needs to have today to really move tackling this crisis forward? And, how does this podcast play a role in fostering some of those conversations in your view?

Daniel Powell: Those are good questions and it's great to be here and actually see Vital Spark off the ground. This is an idea we've had for a while. The conversations are difficult because there is something we're calling a treatment desert out there. There is more people who need help that do not have the insurance to pay for it, that do not have quality facilities or treatment centers near them, and that largely feel lost in the system, and you double that with all drugs getting laced now to some degree with fentanyl, so that where it was just something that was affecting heroin, it's now sneaking its way into meth and cocaine and all these other drugs that would've been deemed safer. It's a conversation that needs to be about compassion and helping people not stigmatizing the disease, but really recognizing that we're in a huge crisis and it's been devastating communities for 20 years, but just what's going on in the last three years is insane.

I'll give you a little example. So, I started this company in 2018 and I was doing the PowerPoint deck where you explain how big the problem is in market size, and the number of opioid specific overdose deaths was 42,000. And so, I'm pitching to the first investors and I'm like, "That's a Vietnam War worth of overdose deaths every year." So, it's like we're having a Vietnam War every year. Behind the scenes, me and my partners are like, "I think we might have missed the peak of this epidemic." We were thinking it should... Everybody knows the awareness is here, and then it just kept going up and going up, and so a little different number than you read out was 69,710 overdose deaths in 2020 compared to 2017. So, in the three years I've been working on this product, it's gone up 40% and it's brutal.

And, it's switched from being a pill mill problem, Oxycontin, everybody's probably got a chance to watch Dope Sick on Hulu, which is a fantastic depiction of what went down in this country over the last 20 years to we're in kind of what's called the third wave of this opioid epidemic. So, the first wave was pain pills. The second wave was as the rules around pain pills started to tighten, and we closed down the pill mills, everybody went to heroin because the withdrawal is so painful and so primal instinct of fear that you start to make the willing switch where somebody you're just like, "Look, I was just a normal citizen. I don't have a moral failing, but the withdrawal is so bad." So, they switched to heroin, and now the third wave is the switch to fentanyl.

Daniel Litwin: That progression is heavy and it's clearly having a tangible impact on not only our care systems, but also just, not to get too existential, but the fabric of society. These are issues that persist and disrupt communities and especially in those communities that have treatment deserts, often more rural communities, poorer communities, socioeconomically disadvantaged communities, you stack that up with other existing issues and you just get a domino effect of lasting challenges.

Daniel Powell: It's brutal, the number of orphans that have lost either one or both parents in like West Virginia where this was really ground zero, it's devastating. Those communities, they won't come back in a generation or two. It's a long time.

Daniel Litwin: Exactly. So, we've been tying it back to the podcast and the conversations we hope to have on the show, what's your goal for the kind of perspectives and education you hope to communicate on the show? Maybe more specifically, who are the kinds of professionals or experts you plan to bring on to help connect the dots between the big picture, the impact and potential solutions?

Daniel Powell: First off, we want to provide education, resources for families, people going through addiction trying to pursue recovery, and so that they get facts that are not spun or that are not sensationalized from a media perspective, but really help them figure out what the next step. So, I'd like to see addiction professionals on here talk about treatment, talk about the intersection of pain and addiction, which is a huge thing. But one of the items that I really hope to highlight as we come out this is hope, and the hope isn't just because Spark happens to have a novel product that we do intend to change the world with, but hope that there's treatment centers out there that can take care of you, that there is innovation on the way beyond what Spark is working on, and then maybe lastly, teach compassion for those who are not in this, and I have to speak from a personal experience. I grew up one of those people who believed that addiction was a moral failing. I remember the pot heads over at the Sonic, and this is like 1977.

Daniel Litwin: Those crazy kids.

Daniel Powell: I know, it's the least of our offenders today, and I remember growing up with that mindset and then I'm coming into this from a neuroscience, neurotech background and I had to become sensitive to the plight of people suffering from opioid use disorder, not calling them addicts, don't label them. I used to work in epilepsy and you don't call someone an epileptic, you said they lived with epilepsy. You don't label someone on their disease, and so sharing that perspective and really understanding that addiction normally is coming from a place of trauma and normally is coming from a place of someone trying to heal, but not having the right resources, so they're coping, and not to make a long answer long, but my personal journey was I have a nephew who suffered from addiction and I never talked to my brother about it and we just didn't talk about it and we kept it all quiet and he went to prison and we didn't talk about it.

And when I started working on this, I called my brother one day and I said for the first time, "What's it been like?" And, we had a real, honest conversation as brothers that we should have had before. So, I think taking away the stigma and then what's amazing, my nephew is in recovery and just at Thanksgiving he and I were talking and just got to talk about his life and his journey and he wants to give back and help people now, and there is a human there, which gets stripped away by a lot of the outside world who just judge it.

Daniel Litwin: I agree, the fact that it's that strong mistake that it affected even your relationship with your brother, that I think is a perfect example of how much even the best intentions... There still has to be a sort of an unlearning process and a refocus on how do we talk about this issue at a base level, and I think that allows for... And hopefully with this podcast is going to help foster too is an intersection of the big dots where we talk solutions, we talk the ethos behind being more thoughtful and compassionate as a care industry around this topic, and even the structural dynamics that creates some of these issues in the first place and I'm looking forward to being part of those conversations with you all moving forward.

So last, I guess, big picture thing before we get more specific on Spark Biomedical's technology and innovative solution here, I mentioned in my intro and you helped follow up with some more stats on, I guess, a more recent update to the nation's opioid crisis, but I'm wondering if you can just drill into the COVID impact here. I think to your point, there is public conversation around this, our society collectively has been analyzing some of the various touch points that exacerbate this crisis and who bears responsibility, whether that's a pharmaceutical company, or even a local pharmacy or any anything in between. Where do you pinpoint a fault in a system or a methodology and how do you solve it? A big part of that is naturally COVID and the way that it accelerated some of those dynamics of treatment deserts and then just reasons to get addicted in the first place. So, I'm curious what you see as the intersection there between the pandemic and this crisis.

Daniel Powell: I saw today an article that says addiction is a disease of isolation. There's traditional 12 step programs, but there's also cognitive behavioral therapy, and future painting of what you want your life to be, and this will come home. So, one of the best ways to overcome addiction is not to think, I shouldn't use, I shouldn't use, I shouldn't use. The way the neuropsyche works, the neuroscience of your brain, that just pushes the first domino over and you will eventually fail. You don't have the willpower to resist a long, long, long time. The better way is to picture what you want your life to be and what you don't want your life to be like, and I heard that in my nephew's voice. He's like, "I don't like that life and when I want to use, I think no, I want to get a job."

He wants to be a barber, he wants to have a career, and so you take all that and then you stick someone in their home because there's a disease and you're watching the little tally on CNN tell you how many people are dying every day, and you take away their community and their familiar structure, and their hope for a job and income, and it is the perfect storm for relapse, and it's a perfect storm just to start doing drugs to begin with. You're just miserable and you're losing hope and you're isolated. So, it is the worst thing that could have happened at a time when this country already had this diabolical drug readily available.

Daniel Litwin: It's almost like the perfect storm of these two issues compounding.

Daniel Powell: They are.

Daniel Litwin: You almost couldn't think of a worse scenario to exacerbate the crisis. So, it's great that there are innovative solutions in market now that are helping make that journey to recovery easier and hopefully with the podcast too, we can help identify some of those larger trends or those motivators that create the scenarios that lead to addiction. So, I hear this a lot in my medical conversations with other professionals, but a healthy body, a healthy mind and everything is as much reactive as it is proactive and treatment is one thing, but building the education to build a more thoughtful community around it is another and it's all part of the same vision, I think. And, it feels like you share that perspective. So, let's go ahead and jump in then to Spark Biomedical's intersection to this conversation and to the industry and the crisis at large. So with all of this in mind, can you tell me how you and the company landed on a withdrawal treatment therapy solution as your first product? You saw this crisis, why this as the solution you wanted to give a shot?

Daniel Powell: And, I'll frame it around we are a neurological solution, not a psychotherapy solution.

Daniel Litwin: Sure.

Daniel Powell: We are a background of neuroscientists and all, and what we knew was through acupuncture, actually, is that core nerves that lead directly to the center parts of your brain will drive endorphin production and balance the fight or flight part of your nervous system, the part that tells you to run, you're going to die. Well, these are two core areas that needed addressing to address withdrawal, and we saw in acupuncture that they were having a lot of success. And if you do electro acupuncture, they had even better success. And so, we were looking in this area of what we call auricular neuro stimulation, auricular being the ear.

Daniel Litwin: Sure.

Daniel Powell: And, how do we tap into the vagus nerve and trigeminal nerve? And, when you tap into these nervous structures, there's all kinds of benefits. In fact, there's so many benefits, it seems ridiculous because you're like, "Well, it reduces inflammation, it improves cognitive function, it takes away PTSD." You start naming all these and it's like, and it balances your checkbook or something like that. You hit a point and you're like, "This is too many," but the vagus nerve hits the heart, the brain it's called the wondering nerve. It goes through the whole body.

Daniel Litwin: Wow.

Daniel Powell: So my two partners, the smart ones, the scientists-

Daniel Litwin: Sure.

Daniel Powell: They have been working in this field specifically in trigeminal nerve and vagal nerve stem for years, and we came across this and it was a perfect marriage of a very short term, fast-acting effect, which for a company going through the FDA, do I want to do something that I got to prove it and prove you over a year or over five days? I want something fast. The effect was profound and very repeatable. I've worked in areas where everything was a little softer, like what's your pain score, one to 10 or how depressed are you one to 10, so they're very subjective. This was, you stopped sweating, you stopped running to the bathroom every five minutes and you calmed down and your heart rate balanced out that we can measure within 30 minutes.

Daniel Litwin: Wow, very accurate.

Daniel Powell: So, it was very profound, and so it was sort of a combination of that and then we said, "But, is there a market for it?" Unfortunately, there's a giant epidemic. Little did we know at the time though, that's our beach head. So, the beach head was withdrawal, it was the fastest path through the FDA, it was the most profound effect, but then really the overall goal is always been to be a recovery tool for long term addiction recovery. So, after you get through withdrawal and what we're starting clinical trials on is, can we manage your cravings, your depression, your anxiety, the triggers for relapse, and actually fix the curve and start to bend the curve of addiction in America? Now, that is always combined with somebody on the psychology side. We're the biology side, and there needs to be a psychology partner, someone trained in addiction medicine that is counseling them through this process.

Daniel Litwin: Right, when you're developing the product, that psychoanalysis angle, is that coming from internally within Spark Biomedical, are you partnering with other agencies? How do you balance those two aspects as you're developing your methodologies?

Daniel Powell: We are not in the psychology side of it all, so we partner... So, you'll have a behavioral health center that has a physician that is certified in addiction management and they would prescribe the device and oversee them. So, we're partnering all over the nation with those individual rehab facilities and telehealth docs that do this and everything.

Daniel Litwin: Nice, I think we'll probably do some follow up episodes on those partnerships too, and how they elevate the quality and efficacy of the product. But speaking, excuse me, of efficacy, let's talk on developing this solution in the first place. Can you walk us through the clinical trial process? You mentioned it was the fastest path through the FDA, getting FDA clearance and approval. So, walk us through that clinical trial to develop the needed results to make a case to the FDA. What were some of the things that you saw during that trial that stood out to you and walk us through the methodology of the process too?

Daniel Powell: Well, when we found this company, we said we're going to be a company based on good science. When you have two partners that are PhDs in neuroscience, that's easy to say-

Daniel Litwin: It's a good start.

Daniel Powell: It's a good start, and this space is traditionally full of less than adequate science unfortunately. There's a lot of people who do studies and there's a lot of rehab facilities say they have 80% success rate and they have 15% success rate. There's a lot of charlatans out there.

Daniel Litwin: Now, I'll pause here before you continue. Why is that? Why do we see that phenomenon?

Daniel Powell: Money. It's recruiting. If you're trying to figure out which rehab facility to check yourself into, the one that says 90% of our patients one and done, and the other one goes, 90% of our patients do this four or five times, which one are you... The one's telling you the truth and one's telling you what you want to hear, and then there's just a lot of bad science. There's a lot of good science too, but there's a lot of bad science. So we went about this, we built a randomized control trial, which means you have control arm, you have a sham arm, you prove there's no placebo effect, which we did.

Daniel Litwin: Nice.

Daniel Powell: We had multiple measurements. We're the only company ever to study this. We measure withdrawal on something called the COW score, clinical opioid withdrawal scale and it has 11 individual points of measurement to measure withdrawal. We captured every single one of those from yawning to pupil dilation, to goosebumps, gastric distress, anxiety, achy bones, it has the whole slew. We captured every single one of those individual markers, 30 minutes, 60 minutes, an hour and 20 minutes, day one, day two, day three, day four. We captured depression scores and PTSD scores that secondary measure.

Daniel Litwin: Wow.

Daniel Powell: Which showed significant improvement, and then we had, like I said, wrapped this all in an FDA compliant structure, all the data was electronically captured and managed. So, I kind of go on and on, but even though we were a tiny new company, we did this as if we were a Fortune 500 company. This is how they would run a clinical trial, and we're very proud of it. That rigor has really behooved us. We've gone on and run a baby trial for babies born dependent on opioids.

Daniel Litwin: Wow.

Daniel Powell: That's in development, and then that has amazingly got us two and a half million dollar grants from the National Institute of Drug Addiction.

Daniel Litwin: Wow.

Daniel Powell: To further our technology, so it played out the way we had hoped it was, which is if you do it right, and you do it with good rigor that you'll give yourself a much longer runway and that we're not trying to just one and done and get our FDA approval and then sell. There's a whole lot of work to do to get this a real comprehensive, holistic solution to market.

Daniel Litwin: My grandpa always used to say, make your bed right the first time, or you have to make it twice. And so, that rigor of leaning in to almost capturing every metric that you find relevant to make your pitch and make your case, I feel like that is the right kind of mentality for something like this where you need to be reactive, you need to be proactive, and that includes understanding the full scope of, what does addiction look like? What does relapse look like? What does treatment look like? And, producing a solution that tackles the minutia as well as gives tools to tackle the larger picture, the psychoanalysis picture too, it's all a needed strategy, and so it's really great to see that you put that rigor in to start, but I also want to highlight the speed of the process.

The fact that you went from concept testing to FDA clearance and sales in the span of 18 months, is that accurate?

Daniel Powell: Two years.

Daniel Litwin: Two years? Okay, cool. Two years, and we'll give you 24 months, that's still fast.

Daniel Powell: It was fast.

Daniel Litwin: That's fast, and it's incredibly impressive, especially because the quality did not suffer because of speed. So, I'm curious, even though you moved fast, something as impactful as addiction treatment technology needs to be developed thoughtfully, obviously, so what did it take for you to build that product and get it through the FDA? I'm sure all of that rigor helped make that process easier, but how did that connect to speed? How did you actually, I don't know, leverage your resources like a pharmaceutical giant would, but you're a small company?

Daniel Powell: Well, my first timeline said one year, so I missed it by 100%. So, it was completely unrealistic, and I look back and go, that never would've happened. So, we set out and hired and brought on a team of experienced people. So, almost all of us, in fact, all of us in the early days had 15 to 20 years in NeuroStem and had been building these devices, and my founding partner Alejandro actually built the original device in his garage. He was going after a migraine pain. So, stemming back here on the occipital nerve for migraines, so he had an earlier prototype, had thought through this in the early days himself. So, he thought through some of the technology. So, when we hit the ground running, we were decisive, we knew what we were going to build, we certainly had a lot of discoveries, but we brought on people that all specifically hit the ground running.

And so, there wasn't like, "Hey, how are we going to put an FDA compliant quality system?" And he was like, "Nope, we've done this multiple times. We spent money smartly where we needed to." It could be cheap, you can be smart and dumb with your money, and there's certain things that are a waste, certain things that was like, just pay for it to be done right the first time and go. We also had a good design partner with a company out of Houston called Velentium that did a lot of our engineering, and so it was just, really, I tried to be an entrepreneur when I was younger. It didn't go, well. I didn't have a network of people and I didn't have 20 years experience in an industry.

So, this time around it was I had a Rolodex of people and so did my other partners, and then the other half of it was serendipitous. COVID hit and then companies kept laying off really good people, and so we were able to hire really good talent and it'd be like you just laid off a veteran of operations of 20 years that's built everything. It's like, "Hi, come on in." And by the way, he's got six months severance, so he is going to cut me a break on salary for a while from the other guy. So, we had a bunch of really... It was serendipitous hires that other companies foolishly panicked during COVID, and we were able to hire people and give them benefits in the middle of the pandemic, which was great.

Daniel Litwin: Definitely, the fact that you were able to leverage those resources you had built over the years is key, and like I mentioned earlier, I think we'll probably end up doing some conversations with partners in the future to understand those relationships a little better, what it took to help develop this product and also just get their perspective on the entire crisis. But to that point, choosing the right partner means having a personal set of standards too as a company. So, how did you maneuver setting those standards individually, but then also communicating that across the company, whether that is to the hiring manager helping make these big hires or whether that is to basically just up and down the chain is what I'm trying to say? What standards did you set for yourselves to reach this vision of quality, patient-centered design, and building out a company that can center that thoughtfulness and day to day activity?

Daniel Powell: It was sort of intentional.

Daniel Litwin: Sure.

Daniel Powell: We spent time up front when we first got the company going and had a couple people on board. We did a retreat, oddly enough at a place called Sparrow Ranch, which we ended up naming the product Sparrow.

Daniel Litwin: Nice.

Daniel Powell: Not related at all, just someone went, "Hey, didn't we go to Sparrow Ranch?" And, we got whiteboards and we spent two days and we outlined our values and how we wanted to treat each other. We'd all been part of big corporations that just threw their people away. I survived seven layoffs at one company before I was probably like... I just can't stand watching people's careers be ruined, and then just watching the destruction to the business for chasing the quarterly numbers for the stock market.

I would say also a big influence in this with Simon Sinek and his advice and one of the things he said in one of his speeches that I thought... He's like, "Your people come first and then they'll take care of the customers, and they'll are the shareholders." Versus shareholder supremacy, which is the almighty dollar, we got to put the money up and we got to make decisions specifically for the shareholder.

Daniel Litwin: Right.

Daniel Powell: So, we definitely treat our people like they come first. I think they know they do. I like to believe they know that every day and that we choose them over even the customer, but only in the sense of if we take care of them, they'll take good care of the customer. It just trickles up maybe versus [crosstalk]. I don't know how it works, and I would say I couldn't have two better partners to go on this journey. It was perfect match of three individuals who really just trusted each other, whose personalities get along. One's a scientist, one's an engineer and I'm the business guy. So, no one was stepping on each other's toes and we were just trusting each other, and that core nucleus is really... I couldn't recreate it, it's lightning in a bottle. We were lucky to have met each other and the rest is just been the best partnership.

Daniel Litwin: Right. Well, then let's get an assessment of how things have been going then since launch and maybe over the last year or so, how have things been going? Give us a quick update on the sort of connections you've been making, the sort of success that your methodology and your product has had, and then if there was anything specific that you had to consider during launch to set yourself up for where you're at now.

Daniel Powell: So, we've been on market about six months.

Daniel Litwin: Nice.

Daniel Powell: And, the biggest thing, challenge when you're launching a new disruptive technology is, well, it's good and bad, it's new and disruptive, and you get to define the narrative, and you're not just a me too trying to compete with somebody, but then you're asking individuals to change how their business works. Through this whole process, COVID has never been a problem to this company until we launched and we didn't realize this, and what we found was as we go out to these residential facilities where they're treating people that are all understaffed, they all have high turnover and they don't have time to onboard new technology very easily. So, that has probably been one of the bigger challenges. The successes though have been, we are wildly successful where we are getting in and people have time to integrate. We have just great patient stories left and right of how just profound the device could be to someone's life. We were recognized with these two new grants, which were awesome. So, we continue to have some real good accolades.

Daniel Litwin: I love that.

Daniel Powell: But as a business, one of the dangers is trying to scale before you're ready, before you nail the business model. How do we integrate this into a practice?

Daniel Litwin: Right.

Daniel Powell: And so, what we don't want to do is like here, buy my widget. No, what I'm doing is put a new process and program in your facility to help you treat your patients, so we treat it like we're deploying and integrating a new porter of the business versus saying, here's a stack of inventory, let me know when to reorder.

Daniel Litwin: Which means developing a strategy that isn't just product development, but you're basically an integrator, you have to develop the training strategy, you have to develop the thoughtfulness to connect the dots for the clients.

Daniel Powell: And, we have an incredible training program that is better than when I was at a Fortune 500 company. We have training videos and modules, and we track everything for when we're bringing a facility on board, and then we've cleverly named... The integration plan is called the Sparrow Flight Plan.

Daniel Litwin: Nice.

Daniel Powell: And so, we come in with a flight plan and customize it. I think that'll homogenize down into instead of fully customized for every facility, it'll probably one day be like, there's probably three or four major models and we'll be quicker at identifying them.

Daniel Litwin: Sure.

Daniel Powell: So, that's where we are just we're perfecting the business model, the sales model, logistics and shipping, everything was manual like email says, "Hey, ship a product here," to now actually a database and a customer relationship management system and we didn't spend any money on those systems before FDA approval.

Daniel Litwin: Nice.

Daniel Powell: Because if you don't get FDA approval, all that money would've been wasted and we would've needed it, and you just don't know with the FDA sometimes. So, we really had to build all those systems from scratch since we got the FDA approval in January.

Daniel Litwin: The fact that you're already finding this much success and you're still... In the grand scheme of things, six months is not that long, but you're already developing a great footprint, you're leveraging those resources and contacts to identify the right way to develop this integration. It sounds like the pieces are moving in the right direction.

Daniel Powell: They are, never fast enough.

Daniel Litwin: Right, never hitting that 12 month goal, right?

Daniel Powell: No, we missed every timeline I put out.

Daniel Litwin: Hey, better to miss a timeline and still be setting what feels like a record, or just at least setting a standard of quality. So, it's [crosstalk]-

Daniel Powell: And, we have a dedicated a team, they're just crushing it.

Daniel Litwin: Totally, I love that. Well, I think that just about wraps up our conversation for today. So, I'll leave you with one last question for our audience at home or in the office, if you're watching in the office, is there one action that you think people can really take away from today's episode if they're a professional in the industry on really any side of this crisis? What can we leave them with as we continue our conversations and as we continue to rethink how to approach the opioid, excuse me, epidemic from the ground up?

Daniel Powell: I think just my own journey of discovery that there are... A true compassion needs to be out there, but there are options and hope, and that if you or anyone you know are suffering from this, reach out, and if they want to reach out to us for our product or physicians, we have a doc finder, we also have clinical literature that they can download and information, but outside of Spark, which Spark's just one little piece of the overall solution, I think if you know someone, have compassion. You're not going to fix them, and if you're not trained in addiction medicine, don't try to advise them, but have compassion and support their journey.

Daniel Litwin: I love that, centering the human empathy. That's important, and it's the core of it. So, the fact that you're really centering that as the whole ethos of the company, I think is going to lead you all to success here.

Daniel Powell: Thank you.

Daniel Litwin: I'm excited to be a part of it, I'm excited to continue these conversations with you all, but till then, we'll go ahead and wrap up this first episode. So, thank you everyone for listening to the very first episode of Vital Spark, again, a Spark Biomedical podcast, and Daniel, if folks want to find out more about your solutions, your services, your thought leadership, or they just want to get in touch in general, how can they do so?

Daniel Powell: You can put your information in at our website at sparkbiomedical.com and then we have social media mainly like LinkedIn and all has a lot of our activity if you just want to follow us, hit a little like when we post to help get that algorithm running, so that more people can find us who need to find us.

Daniel Litwin: Little social media validation never hurt nobody.

Daniel Powell: Always.

Daniel Litwin: I love it. All right, Daniel Powell, CEO and one of three co-founders of Spark Biomedical. Thank you so much for joining us. It's really been a pleasure getting to chat today.

Daniel Powell: Thank you.

Daniel Litwin: And, thank you everyone for tuning into this first episode of the podcast. If you like what you heard and saw today, and you want future episodes, if you want to make sure you're all caught up on our thought leadership, or you just want to tap into some more expertise from the Spark Biomedical team, make sure you're heading to our website, sparkbiomedical.com, as well as subscribing to Vital Spark on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. I'm your host, Daniel Litwin, the voice of B2B, and we'll catch you on the next episode of Vital Spark.