I am Matsumotori, the IT engineer by title and COGNANO technical advisor. Since Mr. Imura, the president of COGNANO, gave me a pass in my last entry, I would like to briefly write about how we met and how I, an IT engineer and informatics researcher, came to work together with COGNANO, a company specializing in this bio field. COGNANO's company introduction on their website is as follows
COGNANO is a venture company aiming at computer-assisted drug discovery. We are building a new drug discovery platform based on VHH big data obtained from our own alpacas. Our goal is to optimize drug design and development. https://www.cognano.co.jp/
COGNANO contacted me
About a year and a half ago, I think, I received an e-mail from COGNANO, which said that they had a business idea for a bio-based story and wanted to apply it using IT, so they wanted to consult with me. Mr. Imura, the president of COGNANO who contacted me, has a doctorate in medicine from Kyoto University, is a doctor and medical researcher based at Kyoto University Hospital, and has written many papers globally. At first I felt somewhat connected to him, so I decided to talk to him.
At our first meeting, we talked about the actual business and the current overall approach to the project, but I can say this now, but I think it was because many of them were not specialists in IT or recent web technologies. There was almost no consideration of what the mission and vision were for the product, or the structure for the team to continuously respond to changes, and the implementation methods were very fixed and vulnerable to change.
There was also little consideration for security. Honestly, I remember thinking that we had to stop the ongoing conversation or else we would fail, or we might have bigger problems.
Empathy for Mr. Imura's vision and personality
If it were me, I would have tried my best to explain and stop him, and I would have often declined to talk to him at this stage because there might not be much I could do. However, as I listened to Mr. Imura's story, I gradually became fascinated by his vision of personalizing medical care, the overwhelming technological prowess of the core VHH data technology on the biotech side to realize this vision, and above all, his personality of being humble and clearly stating what he does not understand and being able to rely on others. I began to trust that if I explained things properly to him, he would understand what I needed to stop.
Also, as I read about the world-class results of biotechnology research (I'm not a specialist, so I won't go into details) and published papers, I began to realize that if we could link this with information technology, we could do some very interesting things. I have gradually come to realize that it would be very interesting if we could link this with information technology.
So, I started to study VHH and other biotechnologies little by little in order to deepen my understanding.
My own former fantasies come back to life
I learned about VHH, a technology that can express antibodies as information and materialize that information, and COGNANO's core technology that holds a large amount of VHH antibody data as a kind of big data. When I was a university student, I remember reading a book titled "Between Living and Inanimate Matter" and other books. In the course of reading these books, I was thinking daily about the possibility of interpreting Internet technology from the viewpoint of life, and I felt that Mr. Imura was complementing my knowledge of biotechnology, which I had not specialized in, and that my dream was becoming a reality.
Also, around 2016, as my own internet-related skills have become more delusional, I have been presenting research that goes into the characteristics of life and interprets web systems.
My past activities and discussions with Mr. Imura were gradually becoming more and more connected to the real world, and I was very excited by the experience of a bio-expert and an information specialist complementing each other's knowledge in areas they had not been able to enter and creating a conversation in an emergent way.
Above all, I recognized the emergent connection that led me to name my blog "The Future of the Web and Humans," 15 years later. I was already thinking, this is going to be so much fun to work with anyway.
Fundraising and the language of business, the future of COGNANO
From there, in order to continuously develop the team and the product and keep the cycle going, we sort of worked together to organize the mission and vision of the business and the product, as well as the final concept and plan of the business, and to create the language and pitch materials for fundraising, and to hold discussions with various companies. I have been involved in discussions with various companies. It was the first time for me to talk to other companies as a field of biotechnology, so I experienced a lot of fresh atmosphere.
And it took about a year, but we started to get funding as a pre-seed, and various prototype devices were created and
With the great help of Mr. Tsurube, we have begun to see results in R&D using machine learning related to our products, and we are progressively working on patents and papers as core technology. Finally, we are now ready to get serious about building products and teams related to IT. And now, here we are.
This is the story of how Imura-san and I met and what we have been working on. I could go on and on, so I would like to leave it at that for now. From now on, we will start building a more sustainable team, improving the environment, hiring, etc. We hope you will pay attention to COGNANO. If you have anything to say about COGNANO, please contact President Imura or myself Matsumotori.
Since I have designated this entry as an encounter section, I will continue to write about how I am involved in biotechnology as an IT engineer.