In our efforts to save human lives by fighting heart disease and heart shortages, 2018 was our busiest year to date. With the help of a world-class team and forward-thinking investors, we have already made major scientific and biological strides and hope to begin bringing our incredible technology to the market by the end of next year.
One of our first orders of business in 2018 was adding to a world-class team with our new Chief Science Officer, Dr. Ravi Birla, who now leads our scientific effort to 3D bioprint human hearts from patients’ own cells. Another incredibly important aspect of our mission is world-class medical facilities, which is why we moved to Johnson & Johnson JLABS at Texas Medical Center, and throughout the year doubled our space – twice! We believe that recruiting the very best people to conduct this work and providing them the best facilities to support their efforts will make all the difference as we continue to move closer to bringing our technology to the market and putting a major dent in heart disease.
We also officially began accepting Regulation A+ equity crowdfunding investment searlier this year in our endeavor, and were met with incredible support and enthusiasm. And in this incredibly volatile year, the share price increased by 20%.
And then there is the science. Incredibly, we successfully 3D bioprinted human cardiac tissue well ahead of schedule. This human cardiac patch can be used to restore heartbeats in patients experiencing acute heart failure, which is significant since millions of people suffer from varying forms of heart failure.
We are currently focused on 3D bioprinting a mini-heart – on our way to 3D bioprinting the full-size heart we believe will save millions of lives. The mini-heart potentially presents an incredible market opportunity for drug safety testing, and could also potentially provide a pathway to sparing countless animals which would otherwise be used for these tests. Even with these incredible opportunities, we continue our march towards meeting each of our upcoming milestone opportunities, including cardiac valves and cardiac grafts. We expect that in addition to the tremendous market and lifesaving potential of the full heart, the mini-heart and these other milestones will be able to generate revenues of their own.
Our hard work was recognized not only by investors, but also by international media like the BBC and U.S. national media such as USA Today, Reader’s Digest, Fast Company, Popular Mechanics and Yahoo! Finance. We were also featured by media local to our medical facilities, including the Houston Chronicle, Crain’s Chicago Business, Chicago Magazine and the Chicago Financial Times.
We are grateful for all of the support we have received since the beginning and over the last year, but be assured we will not rest on that. In fact, the tremendous support we continue to get only helps motivate us even more. We are excited for what 2019 will bring, and hope that you will continue to help us carry 2018’s momentum into the new year.