The Strange Attractor

Improving Female Fertility Outcomes using Lab-On-A-Chip Technology with Edgar Charry, co-founder of Symex Labs

February 05, 2024 Co-Labs Australia Season 1 Episode 7
The Strange Attractor
Improving Female Fertility Outcomes using Lab-On-A-Chip Technology with Edgar Charry, co-founder of Symex Labs
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

For this episode, we sat down with Edgar Charry, the co-founder of Symex Labs, to explore the nuanced and deeply personal world of reproductive health.

This episode brings forth a candid account of Edgar's startup journey, driven by his own fertility challenges. Together, we chart the human experiences that fuel scientific breakthroughs, and how Edgar's venture is carving out a new path for pre-IVF treatment, offering hope and empowerment to females who want to better understand personal insights about their fertility. 

Throughout our discussion, we delve into Symex Labs' wearable ‘lab-on-a-chip’ sensor, which is  designed to streamline hormone monitoring for women looking to track their ovulatory cycle. 

As we wade through the complexities of entrepreneurship, we pause to acknowledge the softer side of the startup hustle – the necessity of hobbies, the art of striking a work-life balance, and fostering human connections. Our conversation explores the importance of tending to the inner garden, through music, embracing the simple joys of life, and how the practice of reflection is pivotal to the well-being of any change-maker. 

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Samuel Wines:

Hello and welcome to The Strange Attractor, an experimental podcast from CoLabs, a transdisciplinary innovation hub and biotechnology co-working lab based in Melbourne, Australia. I'm your co-host, Sam Wines, and alongside my co-founder, Andrew Gray, we'll delve deep into the intersection of biology, technology and society through the lens of complexity and systems thinking. Join us on a journey of discovery as we explore how transdisciplinary innovation, informed by life's regenerative patterns and processes, could help us catalyse the transition towards a thriving future for people and the planet. Hello and welcome to another episode of the Strange Attractor.

Samuel Wines:

This week, we sat down with Edgar Charry, the co-founder of Symex Labs. We had a chat with him about his backstory, what led to the formation of the organisation, a little bit of a rundown on his tech, and also chatted about things on the inner development side of things and the interpersonal side of things, like what's needed to, I guess, kind of like, build and cultivate a team, as well as finding ways to, I guess, be as much of a human as you can, whilst just trying to work hard on something that currently doesn't exist yet. Again, this was a really fun conversation for us. We find out that we're always learning new things about our members when we have this podcast, which is really exciting. So hopefully you enjoy this conversation with Edgar Charry from Symex Labs. So I mean, I guess we could probably get started.

Andrew Gray:

That sounds like a plan. Yeah, who are we getting started with? It'll be you, sam.

Samuel Wines:

Yeah, okay, fair enough. So, Edgar, thank you so much for coming on today to talk about everything that you're doing. Do you want to give us a little bit of a background on your journey towards co-founding Symex Labs? So what was it that kind of got you interested in that field?

Edgar Charry:

Well, thanks for having me here. Well, it started this company in what 2022, right May. My background is technical. I've done engineering electronics software.

Edgar Charry:

I worked in MedTech for about 15, 16 years before and really I think I just really learned some of the quirks and some of the requirements for this particular industry and really, after all this time working as an engineer, working as an engineering manager, you met, obviously, mohammed, the other co-founder of the company, and we worked really well together. We always thought we should do something together. Just seeing from our previous bosses just running around like crazy as founders they were as well. These were actually startups too, and we love that energy. We were doing long hours, but it was fun. It was still fun. Anyway, fast forward, I guess, these 15, 16 years and well, got married, obviously, with my wife Luciana, and we did really struggle to have kids. It was part of the dream really to have kids. I think she yeah, that was also part of one of the plans as well to have children and we tried, for I can't remember really now 10 years, I guess.

Samuel Wines:

Oh, wow, okay.

Edgar Charry:

Yeah, from no, probably not 10 years, it would be more like seven to eight years, and we tried obviously with the basic, the basics, the pharmacy, and this is just after I'm sort of obviously seeing Luciana doing right, it's not like I'm doing any of that myself.

Andrew Gray:

Now you guys have it pretty easy in that department.

Edgar Charry:

Exactly exactly and it didn't work out for some time and just trying, naturally, and we went for. We sought some advice, obviously medical advice, and the plan was to get into IVF and we did about five full fresh cycles I recall when you do the collections and you try and inseminate with the sperm and try to have a baby and in total three more fresh cycles sorry, frozen amortiser, what is called right and none of them actually worked and I guess after that I kept really working at different industry. And again.

Edgar Charry:

There was an opportunity for us, for me, I guess, to say okay, maybe I worked already too much with these other companies, why not starting this kind of dream? Right? But I had with Mohammed and we started the company, really working primarily in reproductive health, in trying to really, I guess, lessen really that pain, that in all the struggle that goes along for these couples that go through this journey of falling from full pregnant, they can't, but yeah, that's how it led to us founding the company Because it's quite like from what I have no experience in this space, let's say, but from what I know it's quite expensive.

Samuel Wines:

So you rattled off that was, that was five cycles and then another two or three, like it is. That's not cheap, right? Just for context.

Edgar Charry:

No, no, it's not cheap. We were lucky. I guess from that perspective as well, we could afford it. The Australian government actually subsidized that a lot too, which is good. In the US that doesn't happen, for instance, and yeah, so we had to. Sometimes the solution had to take time off work because we have to go to the hospital to do the exams and scans, and all that because she was contracted. You know that also reduces, you know that also paid too. So we have to manage that. But yeah, to your point, it is expensive. You know about 12 to 15 K, depending on, obviously, on many cabinets there. If it's a fresh cycle, for example, and in any other government, obviously we pay that, we through Medicare.

Andrew Gray:

But not even that. In addition to that, just even the, the P sticks aren't cheap, are they Like? And I imagine it's not just try once, like you're constantly yeah.

Edgar Charry:

Yeah, yeah, it's, it's. It's a good question, it's a good point. The they are. There's like again a range of products out there too. So you can find the very, very cheap P sticks like cents, but they come like in five and they only measure like two hormones, for instance, or one hormone. And you can go to the other extreme where you find P sticks that they can measure the three hormones. And then they also have another, another kit that gives you a pregnancy test as well. You want to just test for ovulation as well, for pregnancy. They cost can be 60, 100, 100 dollars, depends how many, how many kids come in the package.

Andrew Gray:

So it's, it's. You can have a lot of options yeah you have options there, so it also makes it kind of confusing too, right.

Edgar Charry:

True, that is actually true. Yeah, I mean it all comes down to that. Probably the doctor, you know the doctor telling you, just, you know, use first response, or you know clear blue or the most well known, and that's it really. They go out and try it, probably try with the cheapest ones, you know, because you have that hope that it's going to happen very quickly, and then it doesn't. And you know, you just hear it's like a, it's a little bit like a taboo subject in many ways because it's a bit private, right, and once, but then, once you start talking with your video mates, right with your family, then you realize, ok, so I'm not just really, but we're not just by ourselves. You know, going through this, it's quite a few people that go through that and same same experience. You know some of them talk about the chip sticks or they actually work, or what do we go to work more expensive piece of sticks.

Andrew Gray:

Well, especially if you if there are, you know, if you're going through any sort of challenges yourself. You know, biologically, you know you're just relying on this thing to give you a yes. It's just a yes, no right.

Edgar Charry:

Correct, correct. Yeah, that's also binary, right. Yeah, it's only it doesn't give you a lot of information about your body. It's only yes or no, your ability or not, and that's that's not a good insight. So what we're trying to do is is not just provide a qualitative measure, right, but also quantitatively say, OK, so you've got maybe you know, 50 or 100 are you per liter of LH in the body right now? Right, so, and then what does that mean to right?

Andrew Gray:

LH. Sorry, what's that?

Edgar Charry:

LH sorry it's, it's a, it's a, it's a lotinizing, lotinizing hormone. So that's the main. So if you get a, if you have a woman of 28 days, a menstrual cycle, standard LH usually searches at about half the cycle a day 14. And that's a good predictor that we was about to overlay. So what I'm saying is that, just understanding a little bit, you know if your concentration levels of LH are high or low. You know that might give you some good insights as well about what's going on with your body. We're seeing trends as well now that doctors not sure the policy level or not, but they want patients to do more stuff at home rather than the doctors doing all the assessments there and doing all the scans and everything People to you know to do more stuff at home. So by more stuff the digital health, primarily just working with patients, you know, working on the on solution and the same ones going on.

Samuel Wines:

Wow, right, and for context as well, right. So I think the World Health Organization said something like one in six people globally suffer from infertility.

Samuel Wines:

So, and it's on the rise, right, with all the forever chemicals and all the other stuff in our environment and the food that we tend to eat, it's all being shown to have somewhat of a negative impact on your ability to conceive. So, yeah, I can see that this sort of thing is only going to be like more prevalent into the future, and so you're. So you're not just tracking one hormone, right, there's, is there a portfolio of hormones that you're, that you're tracking and incorporating into the product, and what is the product as well, Like what?

Samuel Wines:

what was your, I guess? So you've looked at this. You've realized there's all these disparate disconnected things in ways to measure things, some low fire, some high tech, and you've kind of gone. There's got to be a better way to do this that is better for females and also just gives you that qualitative and quantitative data.

Edgar Charry:

Yeah, so the purpose, really, the mission for us, is to develop reproductive health solutions, right, and the first, really the first target for us, is to eliminate. Eliminate bloods or the constant for bloods in the IVF space. That's like a first target, right, and why? Because it's very painful and we might have to go through, you know, many, many blood tests throughout a cycle, right, and it's, you know, in that space. Yeah, measuring hormones is quite critical, right. So you have to be really, really accurate, right? You can't. Just, you know, we have to be as good as the gold standard. You know the stakes are too high.

Edgar Charry:

And once we validate, really, our technology which is, I guess, to your question, again, a wearable device, small sensor, maybe 30 millimeters long, you know, or wide, putting the upper arm in the belly, and that, to respond to the, we measure interstitial fluid, extracting the stitial fluid and then read progesterone, estradiol, luteinazol, hormone and ACG, which is one of the hormones that basically detect their pregnancy, and then that information is captured and then sent to the cloud where, again, the nurses can see what's going on and they can make the right clinical decisions, right.

Edgar Charry:

So, for example, is the hormones rising too much? Are they going, are they being suppressed as they should have in a particular cycle and if not, did they need increased medications or not? And that's really in the specialist space, right, I guess just connecting with our previous conversation about consumer right. So we feel that we want to have it's still in the planes these things develop, right, we still want to create as much input as possible, and one way is, after consolidating really this position about can we eliminate the bloods in that space, then move to the consumer market, right, which is what we were talking about before, right? So people in the homes and they haven't actually tried something more sophisticated, I guess, and then trying these things are basically at home and already providing a much more convenient way, and more accurate way as well, to introduce these hormones.

Samuel Wines:

Would there be? So you're thinking of introducing, like an app layer where they might be able to have something on their phone, or would this device also interface with other apps or startups in their health tech, med tech space? Because, from what I'm aware, there is quite a lot of action in both the fertility space and the med tech space with wearable devices and apps to be able to track that. Are there any collaborations or things in the works with people in the space?

Edgar Charry:

We have been talking with a few groups yes, in the US about this, definitely tracking, I guess, their own cycles. It's something that pretty much every female does. I guess combining these two forces right about having insights about your cycle plus data from a sensor. I think that's definitely something that we want to do, right and yeah. So I think that for us right now is get the device to a stage that it's been validated, and then can we have bigger impact really with women using this sensor in the consumer market.

Samuel Wines:

So what does that sort of pathway look like? Like, because you kind of came to us in the very early stages of Symex, right. So how many were you when you started? Was it just the two of you?

Edgar Charry:

Probably yeah when we started. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I think so yeah.

Samuel Wines:

Because it would have been what like a year, year and a year and a half.

Edgar Charry:

Yeah, maybe we'll head actually to more. I feel like pretty quickly.

Samuel Wines:

As soon as you started, you kind of got an additional two humans on the team. Yes, yes, exactly.

Edgar Charry:

What is the pathway you're in for us?

Samuel Wines:

Yeah, yeah, so obviously. So you've been here validating and getting yourself from. I don't know whether you use the TRL framework or anything like that, but let's say you might have come at a TRL like a one or a two and you're kind of pushing maybe towards a three or something like that. What is the next step for you from here on out?

Edgar Charry:

Yeah, so you're right, so we are still relatively early. I'd say this is technology that is not easy to get right and we basically used a technology coming from one of the universities here in Melbourne. It was more like a platform technology and obviously this technology had been already validated in other types of applications. So the question was can this platform actually work in our application, our use case? And that's what we did in really the first year. So we started already probably TRL three, and then really of the last year, we could say that we probably went up maybe by two to TRL five. At this stage Nice.

Edgar Charry:

And right now we got one of our I guess we were lucky as well to have one of our partners, like Monash Monash IVFs one of the clinical partners and what we want to do is basically start validating this technology against the machines that potentially they use and then really start to test with serum, for example, start to set with blood, with interstitial fluid as well, to actually be at TRL seven or eight.

Edgar Charry:

We've got at least two years of R&D, heavy R&D, to do and, as I was saying, just validating technology, creating the needles, the small needles, and then after that we have to basically go through a clinical trial stage. We'll be able to study where you actually look at your device against the gold standard and see how you fare against them, and then after that you have to still go through regulatory clearance. In the US it's the opposite of the Food Drug Administration, the FDA, and in Australia it's the TGA, and usually it takes I don't know, depends on the risk classification every six months or so. Then we can be in the market really after that. So it's medical devices.

Samuel Wines:

It's a long and winding road.

Edgar Charry:

Yeah, it's like shooting the stars. I heard it's shooting the stars and you might land in the moons with your idea kind of thing. But we know we've done this before.

Samuel Wines:

Yeah, because, as you were saying before, you've worked in the med tech space and you've gone through and taken something through this journey beforehand, so you kind of you know what you've signed yourself up for, so to speak.

Edgar Charry:

Correct, we know our paint ratios are high. I tell investors so don't worry about it, we know.

Samuel Wines:

You've been there before, which is so important. I think so many of the people that we have had through this space and that we know just within the ecosystem as well that are doing really well, so much of them have had that experience in the med tech area where they're like I've already been there. That's not the first rodeo, because there's so many different hurdles and things that you have to overcome. When you're looking at doing this sort of med tech space first say I mean it's hard Because I was just going to say it like cultivated me, but like there's almost in a similar category Anything that you're feeding someone or helping with health. There's a lot of regulations.

Edgar Charry:

Exactly. Exactly.

Samuel Wines:

It makes it a challenge. Hey, I don't actually know if we've spoken about this before. I'd be super curious to know how. You don't have to go into, obviously, all the detail, but how do you track these hormones on the patch? So you've got these needles that go in and measure the interstitial fluid. I'm assuming there's something there that allows them to sense and pick up these specific hormones. Is it biological or is it a? Yeah, I'm just curious. It's fascinating to know.

Edgar Charry:

There's a range of biorecepts that we can use. We start with the most common one, which is just monoclonal antibodies, basically, and then you use them to basically need to mobilize you on a surface right In a particular way. There will be what we call an electron charge transfer, without getting too technical. But that means that once the antibody binds to an antigen molecule, an hormone for example, then there's an electron transfer down to a silicon surface or gold surface, for instance, and that's your signal, in essence, right.

Samuel Wines:

So it's like registering and so on this, I'm assuming that there's going to be multiple of these antigens. Correct. And like you have let's say there's 100 that are hit that gives you a spike of X and then that allows you to be able to go. Ok, there is quite a lot within the given amount of.

Edgar Charry:

Correct, correct. In one single area you have many, many antibodies. Really, they are just pointing in the right direction and then, as they're in touch with the interstitial fluid, they're almost obviously diffusing there, they will bind, and then there's that electron charge transfer that occurs, and then you have a signal, in essence. But this is just really one of the ways, right, you can use also molecular-inferred polymers, or MIPS, they call it, which we're testing them right now, but they can be autoclave, they claim. So that means they are super, super stable.

Samuel Wines:

Interesting, so it's like reusable, whereas the other one the proclivity for antibodies, just fall off the needle or what have you Like. You're dealing with a biological right, so it's going to less resilient.

Edgar Charry:

With antibodies. I mean there's two parts, right? So one thing is that it binds the antigen binds to the antibody, and then whether it's actually released after that. So most of the antibodies will just hold onto the molecule and just stay there.

Samuel Wines:

Right.

Edgar Charry:

That's what they call a decay D right. Some of them actually will go off. That's the T of OK off and then the T on is how many quickly can actually bind to the antibodies, right? The other aspect that I think that you mentioned is stability. I think you said or time, so that's if you leave antibodies or optomers, for example, for too long in contact with your body. So optomers, what we call, is like a single or double-strand DNA, right? There's another type of bioreceptor.

Samuel Wines:

Your body's probably just like oh shit, what's this? Get it out.

Edgar Charry:

That's also another thing, exactly, but what I was going to say is that they can't degrade very quickly right In contact with these fluids. Right, Especially at temperature. You know the right pH as well in your interstitial fluid. So how do you manage these things? Right, and we're testing again this nanomips at this stage, and for a product, for a product, we want reliability, right, that's what we want to, as I was saying before, right, the stakes are too high and you know, the last thing we want is a sensor playing up. You know, in a scenario where a woman is actually making many decisions based on this sensor response.

Samuel Wines:

Yeah, and so if the sensor can be autoclave, does that mean that you would have something like a program where they might lease it from you and then you can reuse it? Or are you because to me that as soon as you mentioned that, I'm like, oh, that's fascinating that you say that, because to me that's bringing in elements of the circular economy or product as a service, which you know it's probably going to be less wasteful than maybe some of the other things as well.

Edgar Charry:

Very, very, very good point. I think I was talking about autoclaving just really the bioreceptors. We weren't necessarily thinking of autoclaving the whole sensor, but to your point, yes. So we want to have the sensor has in the design at this stage has two components one reusable component, as you're saying, that's the bit that contains electronics, the firmware, the antenna and everything, and the other part is the single use patch. So, and that's the one that is what will function with the antibodies, right, and then you use it really once a day, you know. So we want to start simple. Once a day the woman goes to the clinic, picks up the sensors, goes home on day eight or nine, when she starts to measure hormones, assembles both together, puts in the uparm, wait for an hour maximum, the senior goes to the cloud and then basically she disposes of the disposable patch, but she keeps the.

Edgar Charry:

Keeps the unit to keep reusing, yeah, and then you keep doing that every other day, you know every day, depending on each clinical case, but that you're right. That helps a lot in cost. Also reduce waste as well.

Samuel Wines:

Yeah, now that makes it like to me that makes sense, so it's exciting to hear that. I guess we haven't really it's been so busy and you've been so busy as well. Like I mean, the team keeps growing and there's more and more humans running around and you're running around all the time. I feel like you only just got back from overseas, from holidays, which was off the back of going overseas, for you went over with Muhammad too. Was it the States?

Edgar Charry:

Yeah, that was last year. Yes, that was in August. Yeah, August, September in the US. So we went to see some customers, potential customers, so it's important to also understand for our markets, right? So the US market again is obviously the biggest, but understanding you know some of the nuances that happened there, so you know how does the IP actually interact with the patients? How does reimbursement work? There.

Edgar Charry:

Private insurance, you know, is actually much more important there than here, for instance, and we met with some investors as well, which was great. I think it was a very productive trip and, yes, in December. Yeah, let's take some time off. Let's take some time off. You know, after Christmas it was insane actually, right until I left and I literally just put my phone in the bottom of the suitcase. I'm not going to use it at all.

Andrew Gray:

How'd that pan?

Edgar Charry:

out. It's weird. Actually it's weird. You kind of have to go to this detox process right. Yeah, where you're just like okay, so I don't have my phone in me. Now. What do I do? Okay, I have to, you know, talk to people and I loved it. You know you kind of lose these things right with your phone all the time. It's good to talk to people really and see how they live in their lives. Over there. The Colchates was awesome.

Samuel Wines:

Oh, that's some that's great to hear. I know that we've spoken in passing a couple of times about how it can be quite difficult to find the time to just exist outside of organizing a business or something of the likes, and especially like reading or anything like that. Was there any books or anything that you picked up while you were over there?

Edgar Charry:

Yeah, yeah. So this is what I was just talking to Andrew about before. For some reason, Luciana bought this book about how to age well or something. It's about permeable diet, right.

Samuel Wines:

Right, it's the Peter Attia. Was it one of the Peter Attia? Outlive or aging well or how not to diet, or yeah, one of those, one of those?

Edgar Charry:

She booked this one. So, okay, I'm going to read this one here. And you read this and you're like, okay, and you look at the credentials of the person writing the author, okay, this guy's obviously got the super high credentials, so obviously, surely it's the ones we're talking about, and yeah. So I guess it's quite important really to keep thinking about this. Right, how do I not burn out? Right, as a founder? Right, I get so focused on something and then you just struggle to fall asleep in the evenings we talked about this, but also diet, right?

Edgar Charry:

So going back to the book just in terms of healthy diets and that, in the end of the day, that does help.

Samuel Wines:

That does help Makes such a big difference, like focusing on the inner is actually just as important as the outer.

Andrew Gray:

You can do one without the other.

Samuel Wines:

Yeah, and on that on the inner as well, it's like your own self-awareness and your ability to perceive the systems that we're a part of as a whole, but also how you relate to your team, the communication. There's so much on the inside that a lot of the time is overlooked in, I guess, like this tunnel vision towards progress.

Andrew Gray:

But it's not a conscious like I'm going to ignore all this, so I can. It's just, you know, I imagine it's like an obsession to some extent, and so you don't mean to put the blinkers up. I mean, I feel like we can relate to that, but for sure, definitely happens, yeah, it just happened by itself.

Edgar Charry:

You have to have the awareness that you're saying, self-awareness, saying okay, I am going, I'm not working well, I'm being counterproductive. Now, you know, I'm not in a state to sit down and have a good conversation about this deal right now. I'm just going to go for a walk or just talk about it tomorrow. But I guess, having that insight that that's happening with you because you're going to autopilot, right, If you don't realize that you get dragons of these things and then that keeps going.

Edgar Charry:

It becomes like a snowball. So it's about stopping having the service. Okay, no, I'm not Someone who does this really well. Is Muhammad he's got his? He says no, no, I'm going to do my cricket today. I say, okay, that's fine. You know? Fine, specify to put out, I'm kidding, it's not like that. But he's quite calm.

Samuel Wines:

He says no, I'm going to, I'm going to just play my cricket and he's got his sacred time and he's like this is not being interfered with, it's I guess also the awareness to know that by doing that he will be able to probably handle that firefighting a bit better you know if it was a reason Exactly.

Andrew Gray:

Exactly, you need it. Yeah, absolutely.

Samuel Wines:

It's a concept. I've come across a concept that I find enjoyable, like, like. Obviously we do workouts but there's also work ins and to me that's like the stopping, the pausing, the reflecting, like a big thing that we've been trying to. We've always, we've always had it as an area of interest, like the pause and the reflect and looking at and being great grateful for all the things that have happened. But it's so, so easy to get stuck in that left brain sort of do, do, do tick everything off mode because so much of what we do in work is like centered around that.

Samuel Wines:

But yeah, we find that every time we do make time and reflect and look at how everything's gone or just ask ourselves how we're feeling like emotionally, energetically, it's always so much. We always feel better off for it and we're always like, ah, we need to remember to Well we've done it, we were playing around with linking, you know, gratitude to having a whiskey, Like if something came along.

Andrew Gray:

I'm not condoning this, but it was a. It was a fun thing to do there for about a few weeks, where Until we're like we can't afford this.

Samuel Wines:

We don't need this much whiskey.

Edgar Charry:

But I think, I think that you said a word systems. You said right, just use the word systems. I think that's another way of trying to manage. You know, this is how do, how do you have systems in place in your, in your, in your company, but also in your personal life, that allow you to be the best person you can be, for both right, both at Gozell Samson and.

Edgar Charry:

Andrews, and and and then really, it's about creating these habits, right? That's what I'm trying to do. It's creating these habits. It's you know, okay, so what are good habits and what are bad habits? Right, and how can I avoid the?

Samuel Wines:

bad habits and how's dopamine kicking in.

Edgar Charry:

You know when I need to see my phone because I'm waiting for an email from an investor or something like this. Right, I keep checking my phone. So then you have to put the phone away, really and make sure that I don't turn it completely off for the entire afternoon, for example. I just blocked this time really, I'm not going to be doing anything, but just really the important work that needs to happen, rather than keep it looking at mail. So, yeah, so systems I think it's also something that we're working as well, personally, but also in the company. You know, we do weekly sprints, for instance, and this is the we laid out the plan and this is the two springs that we need to. Basically, with these two springs, we need to achieve these sort of deliverables and, you know, commit really to that and then we keep iterating, keep iterating, keep iterating.

Edgar Charry:

Yeah, I think that's also important, yeah.

Andrew Gray:

What was? Imagine that. So that journey, like these habits that you're talking about, might, like the development and the rise of the need for them, changes, like when you start out. I mean, everybody hits the ground, running right and you're just doing everything. You're just throwing spaghetti up at the wall and but then you've got this vision. I think that gets honed correct me if I'm wrong and is that kind of like at that point where you start to go like okay, it's time to put systems in the trim away at the stuff that might be causing a bit of like a negative feedback loop if we keep just doing everything.

Edgar Charry:

Yeah, I think that's. I'll probably say that we're lacking in a way that we had an experience of looking at managing people managing a team, which is one of the hardest things that actually you could do in a startup, right, and it's so so, so so we're really new On the topic of managing.

Samuel Wines:

You're gonna have to manage you bringing this microphone. Bring the microphone up closer to you so that you can sit back and relax. You don't have to lean over, you can. Yeah, whatever you want this thing's yeah, Okay, like this. Whatever, whatever works, for you.

Edgar Charry:

Okay, it's a big man. I thought it was small.

Andrew Gray:

It does, it does, but it just sounds like you're like behind my shoulder or something like a little bit further away, like here.

Samuel Wines:

you gotta get nice and close, right okay okay, is that good? Yeah, we're good. Okay, good, that's great.

Edgar Charry:

Now, I was just saying that, luckily, we have had the experience of managing people, which, again, is very, very difficult, and we knew that when we had to hit the ground running over things in the company, we already had to have some system in place. You know, like we had to have the springs, we had to have these. You know objectives or the quarters, and it just because it's so important to have a shared vision. If you don't have especially the startup, because resources are so constrained, everything's so constrained, how do you find people that actually want to join you, really knowing that they have full-time jobs? But do you know that this person actually can do an awesome job? Right? How do you convince somebody to? You know, give you to help you out, whatever that is? You know they give you a discount, the cost or whatever it's about really again having the shared vision, right, hey, this is what I'm doing.

Edgar Charry:

You know we're struggling with this, in this journey, this, and then we've been lucky really to have people that say no, no, but that's cool what you guys are doing. You know what I'm going to be working around, my working hours just to help out, you know at the starting point. So, and then just grow like this, right, the start is so difficult, but then you start growing things, so people say that it becomes harder, actually, as you grow. Right, but to your point, andrew, I think, a shared vision being we have already experienced some systems in place, but also we don't know anything. We don't know everything. Right, that's, that's.

Samuel Wines:

We'll be very arrogant to say I guess that's a part of it, right, just like continuous learning and development.

Edgar Charry:

Exactly and stopping. I think the pauses are very critical as well for that where you pause and you're actually reflect, and then you think, oh actually, yes, I've been crazy about doing these things and this kind of habit bad habit that happened last year I should definitely stop it. And then you'll talk to your talk to your co-founder, your mates, and say, can we change this, you know, because this is not working, and start putting some systems in place really at that point in time, to to perform, to do better right.

Samuel Wines:

Yeah, so are you thinking, is this something that you have, obviously with your co-founder, but the team is now you got another two or three in the lab because it was three, and now there's two, and now there's three again, three again yeah.

Edgar Charry:

It's, yeah, it's. We have you know the we got contractors really we got people that work more as a core team, first part of a core team. Now we got really three and we got maybe five contractors. You know that come in and go and they help out really.

Edgar Charry:

Plus, we got a group of three advisors. It's it runs more like a scientific advisory role really, which is great. Every month we sit down with one professor from Sunny University, one from in San Diego, one in the UK and they got experience building these products in fertility.

Samuel Wines:

How do you find a time for them all to all meet? That sounds like a horrible. Time zone alignment.

Edgar Charry:

Yeah, yes it is. They're not cheap, so that's it, but they're great, they're great. And really, once you get the first one done at the last five minutes, you say, hey guys, can you all look at your calendars, schedule it? And they, can we just put the time the next time for the next minute, right now, and that's it. That's what's going on and then we keep going every month. Otherwise, yeah, you're right, Hailing emails in the coordinating four different time zones, it's difficult.

Samuel Wines:

It's a struggle. So, going back to kind of what you were talking about, sort of, I'm really curious to know what are the, what are the costs? You've got your overarching narrative and vision. That's compelling, that you get people interested in, and that's kind of what has, I guess, drawn people towards what you're doing. What would you say, like, the core values that you're trying to hold as an organization are that are kind of helping hold that all together?

Edgar Charry:

We want to basically help people really, that's the first thing People obviously going through the journey right of falling pregnant. Honesty, transparency and reliability. Really, I think, as I keep saying, the stakes are too high really for what we're doing and that's something that, yeah, I think you know we talk about culture, right, it comes from the top. These things, the values, right, that we bring in, hopefully, in the ways that I say the same things that I do, right, because people actually see whether this person you know what did I say? What's the talk?

Samuel Wines:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So like we had a chat with Nate, who's our tech artist, he talks about like the ethical implementation to action or the like implementation to action gap. So you go, oh, I want to. This is what we say, versus yeah, this is what we do.

Edgar Charry:

Just lead by example, right? I think that's the other way of doing things, because people do recognize these things. If they are really vested in what you're doing right, they do follow really. But yeah so reliability, I think on its transparency and literally just really want to help these people really when eliminate the needs for bloods to watch pain.

Samuel Wines:

Yeah, fair enough. So you mentioned before a partnership with Monash IVF. Did you want to double down on that and let us know a little bit more about that, Because that's a pretty exciting sort of development and ongoing right?

Edgar Charry:

It is, it is, well, it is. Yeah, it isn't going. They were lucky, I guess you know, to have basically their backing. I think they saw it. Also there's a good validation that what we're doing has so made. You know, we're trying to take a little unmet needs really in this industry. You know, just partner with them.

Edgar Charry:

Kim is an investor as investors, and it's just great to be able to talk to them and you know we would talk about product market fits, right. You start with the idea, but the idea is rough. And how do you know that this is actually solving a problem? First of all, indeed, just because you had the idea, and you know your wife suffered all this. But from that, to actually find the product market fit and being able to commercialize that, that's a big leap, that's a journey, even right. You need, then, customers. You need to talk to your customers, right. You need to talk to people and try to get your best shot at that fit right, and Monash has been just awesome at that.

Edgar Charry:

You know we talked to the head of nursing, the general managers, the CSO, and they tell us you know, maybe your sense has to be flexible because you know the clinical cases are so different. What is the change of cost, right? The clinical workflow, that's a massive thing, right? Because if things suddenly change completely, that it's, you know, it's a slow moving needs, it's not gonna change. Yeah, just like that. So they will advise us and tell us no, no, your sense has to probably send the same information, really, to the screen where the nurses are seeing the hormones levels exactly as they are, for example. We wouldn't want to change any of that. And For a fresh cycle, these are the two hormones that you need to measure. For a FET cycle, you need to do the two moms that you need to measure and this is their frequency and this is how you could, for instance yeah, increase of patient adoption, right, so they. It's just like this constant advice with Monash. We're very, very lucky, I should say.

Samuel Wines:

Yeah, I remember when you first told me that they were coming on board.

Edgar Charry:

Yep.

Samuel Wines:

Go on reaching there, grab the water. You're good. You need to keep you hydrated. Yeah, I remember when you were saying that they were first coming on board, because that kind of meant them coming on board was that was pre-seed that was preceding, yeah. Yeah, and that kind of gave you. I mean it up until now. Right, it was like a 12 month runway from or 12 six months.

Edgar Charry:

Yes, yes, correct. Yeah, about about that time, yeah, about 12 months. Yeah, nice.

Samuel Wines:

And what are your plans? So I know that, like, obviously we've been chatting with you Behind, behind the scenes and speaking about how we've got the Monash site popping up and that's sort of something of interest to you. Are you thinking of like is there like a raise or anything coming up Like what are your next sort of milestones? Is there anything within the next sort of six months?

Edgar Charry:

All right at a technical level, company level, you mean, or?

Samuel Wines:

anything answered. How do you feel?

Edgar Charry:

Six months. Oh, we got, we got. We got a lot of work to do, we got many milestones. Really, we, we need to, we need to, we need to continue to work in the tech right. The tech is the right now. It's is the is the main thing. Without take, we don't, you know, we'll have a business per se. So the we talked about before, the antibodies and then on mips and all that.

Edgar Charry:

So we need to get that, get it right and tested Against the gold standard you know, in in body fluids like serum for interstitial fluid. So that's a big milestone in the next six months that we need to hit and we're running them parallel, so you're doing the antibodies parallel to the the myths.

Edgar Charry:

We now they're in phases, we're still, they're still testing with test at all. Four hormones that I mentioned before, and Now we change to focus only on one specifically to make as a product. And then the nano mips basically will come a little bit later, really still within the six months. But but again, this is just a Plain drive. So every plane have to start with playing.

Edgar Charry:

But you know, once you start saying it might be that the antibodies might be enough. You know they are definitely the cost, cost efficiencies, you know, and and other factors, what to consider the at the end of this Two years really we got two years talking about mobile stones, we do need to have really a device that is ready for a pilot study at least, hopefully less than two years, where we actually start testing Women, the other, the other thing that is probably relevant to say is that, also within the six months is we call I want to plane, plane this hormone concentration study. So what that means is how much of these hormones I actually need to see show fluid right, that diffuse through your capillary veins and actually reach the Interstitial fluid. So people don't know that right.

Andrew Gray:

And that's not common. It's not well understood.

Edgar Charry:

There's no studies really on that and there's definitely tests on sweat, for instance, so they can definitely find stradale inhalation in sweat. But what about interstitial fluid, right? So we need to ascertain that that's. What are the clinical implications when we correlate, what are the hormone levels in serum versus hormone levels in ISF? Glucose, for instance as always a delay, depending on how deep you go into the skin, right, believe that glucose in a serum versus ISF, right? Some of the peaks actually can be also be Shape. The change can change as well.

Samuel Wines:

We need to understand that better, really, because that drives the technology really for us and that's a that's a world's first study really know, what it's done is so are you thinking so, for, like, I know that there are like industry-based PhDs and things like that that are popping out. Are you thinking of bringing in someone to do something like that, to test this? Or are you looking at just collaborating with a, with a lab, or Monash IVF, to do these papers like what's the, what's the yeah, the process there?

Edgar Charry:

It's. I think definitely Monash will help and they will help at least in terms of site. Site, you know, nurses, you know helping base, collected data, collecting the samples, and the. There are a few devices that we're exploring that can actually extract interstitial fluid that caveates there. If you strike too, too fast, you know, then the the concentration actually gets queued because you're probably with too much negative pressure, so you have to be slow and steady.

Edgar Charry:

For example, and Really the analysis Would be done really by us. Yes, so they will be. You know we got a few, a few. You know data scientists and I can do the analysis by just by solicitation as well, that can do the analysis. But really us in sourcing you know some of these equipment and being trained really on how to use this equipment. It's very sophisticated.

Andrew Gray:

Cool. So that's a pre-existing equipment that you don't you want to have to invent.

Edgar Charry:

True, yeah, it's, I don't have to invent this one there, there are few, there are few ways micro dialysis another way you can do, you can use, but it's a more invasive, and this one seems like a well revealing, so much it's. One seems like it's it's gonna give us information that we need right, and and then yeah again, and then the outcomes really of this study will will dictate again Should we go for nanomips, right, because they say that you got high specificity and insensitivity using those, or not? So I guess we have to kind of look I call it minimal, viable tests really.

Edgar Charry:

Yeah what is the minimal thing that we can do that Will give us confidence to learn the right path you know here, and without spending too much money to and resources?

Samuel Wines:

it's like we it's a similar sort of language that we use like like, rapidly being able to iterate in prototype, correct, you know? Like a safe to fail environment, um, correct. So, oh, that's exciting. Do we need to be looking around trying to get you some more equipment? Should we be hunting some second hand places for things, or have we got everything we need here?

Edgar Charry:

How's the HPLC machine going? Is that from From Jacob?

Andrew Gray:

Oh, we can check in on that. I don't think it's been put together. It's been put aside for the, the mass spec.

Samuel Wines:

Yeah yeah, we got a mass spec donated I got a spec.

Andrew Gray:

Yeah, yeah actually, so it works like pretty much brand new really who donated?

Samuel Wines:

that again was. Dirty the Dirty Institute. Thank you for that.

Andrew Gray:

Yeah, proteomics, so it's, that's what it's for. So that's gonna help. If you have a standard, which I believe you probably do for the things you want to measure, you could potentially develop an assay.

Edgar Charry:

No, we definitely talk about it, because that will help in this, in this study.

Samuel Wines:

Yeah, definitely, let us know we can keep our eye out for stuff. And yeah, it's, yeah, we know we constantly having to keep an eye out and I know we haven't even had we haven't had a chat about equipment for a while.

Andrew Gray:

So it's good that we're doing this podcast. That's useful.

Samuel Wines:

Well, bringing it back to the podcast, I'm curious, like what are your like? What are your passions and interests outside of work? Like I know, you're very passionate about getting beaten in basketball by Andrew.

Edgar Charry:

Okay.

Samuel Wines:

But is there, is there anything, anything else that you do outside of work that kind of keeps you? Keeps you feeling alive or excited, or yeah, the Sports in sports in general.

Edgar Charry:

You know, the time will come, danger, I really. Yeah, basketball is actually one of those I used to play a lot more obviously in the past, but now it's more like a recreational thing with some mates, not every One side once in a while, to be honest, once every month or so, but it's. It's a like an interaction, you know, just with people and keep as in. You know, right, oh, Poor twan. Oh hey, twan just open up.

Andrew Gray:

Hey, I didn't mean to bring that up.

Samuel Wines:

I was definitely not present for this. You've been dunking on all of our members, andrew.

Andrew Gray:

No, no, no, I can hardly jump. Maybe get it. I said I could probably jump six inches off the ground if I really try. Yeah, yeah.

Edgar Charry:

I got a dog as well. Yeah, I guess, just really walking with a dog and you need to walk the doctor so they can be glad good excuse to get outside. Yeah, chocolate lab or no, he's yellow. Good they're better behaved.

Samuel Wines:

I had a Chocolate lab radude or my gosh food is so food obsessed?

Edgar Charry:

Yeah, yeah, I'll say thing. But you know again, you meet a lot of people as you walk in the dogs, right and, and then you make a lot of friends too, and I started actually playing piano as well again.

Samuel Wines:

I was just playing.

Edgar Charry:

When was this? Six months ago about.

Samuel Wines:

Same as me.

Edgar Charry:

Oh really.

Samuel Wines:

Yeah, I bought a new keyboard about six months ago. I'm like I need to just get back into it. Yeah. So good, right that flow. State that you can sort of get in with instruments.

Edgar Charry:

Yeah, yeah, and it's so interesting, right when you play piano, when you struggle to get the keys right, it's like you have these two things you need to control right the same time your finger doesn't really go there and get the keystroke, but that is helping with relaxing really, and you can just really think about something completely different and that's there. That was good yeah. Yeah. A lot of good playing. Maybe I have to listen to you playing the piano.

Andrew Gray:

Oh no, it goes very competitive. It's one in there.

Samuel Wines:

Yeah, maybe we'll have to do a competitive duet or maybe just a soiree at Co-Labs we can do a show and tell with songs.

Samuel Wines:

Look, all I was going to say off the back of that is that there's so many studies that are showing how important it is to play an instrument and other things like that, because it's again getting you into the right brain side of thinking and also into the I can't remember what it is from the four e-cognitive science, but embodied and enacted ways of thinking and doing and getting into that space and dropping out of the mental sphere, especially if you're doing a starter or something, as you're saying, where you're constantly like, oh, I have to remember that, got to do this, and you're kind of jumping around like an energizer bunny. It's like. When you have something like that where you can sit down and go into flow, and also with the piano when you're playing, it's like you know you hit a wrong note. You're like, ok, cool, let me try again, but you can track the progress in a really observable way and you can at least. It's like great, here is this small challenge and at least I'm overcoming this, and there's that sense of reward and yeah.

Edgar Charry:

Yeah, it's a good point. It tells you that you learn right, and because you can have these very complex songs. And you look at the script in front of you, you're like, oh my god, that's impossible. But if you go step by step, you break it down right, you can actually do it right. That's how I like to think about it. And eventually you're like, after I don't know six months maybe, I don't know, maybe for you a couple of weeks, then after six months for me, I was just like, ok, actually I can play this thing.

Samuel Wines:

Finally got the entertainer down pat. Yeah, it's funny Because just hearing you say that as well, that's the same patterns and processes that you actually sounds like you play out in work as well, breaking things down into digestible chunks and then working with that and then sort of iterating on that. So it's funny how there is no, it's all interrelated and interdependent right.

Edgar Charry:

So Exactly, exactly. Yeah, it does help. Yeah, but yeah, it's been fun. I should probably mention my wife as well. Just got a type dinner and see her mates as well as her friends. Obviously we can't. We think we're quite social, we think.

Andrew Gray:

I don't know. It sounds like you've done a great job at taking off the blinkers. Well done. Yeah taking off the blinkers? Yeah, just like not getting too focused in on the thing.

Edgar Charry:

Oh, right right.

Samuel Wines:

You're trying to hold as much as you can in a healthy way from a relational perspective. I know because we both have date night with our partners as well, don't we? Yeah, Like at least once a week. Yeah, we try and make it like nothing interrupts with that.

Edgar Charry:

It's quite interesting this, because your partners, they have to support you, but it's an easier journey, right? If they do support you, yeah, definitely.

Edgar Charry:

And they've seen us working so for so many long hours, like in the past. I was talking about these previous companies, right, and they don't get the happiest, I guess, when we see that. But now we've got to start up, right, and that's not going to do any favor. I'm going to actually have to be working long hours too. So I at least try to bring her as much as I can into some of the wins, some of the losses, just to talk to her as much as possible about what's going on.

Edgar Charry:

And we do catch up as well with Mohamed's wife as well. The four of us together and families just say hey, thanks for your support this week. This year we did a Christmas dinner as well, and we know that it's not easy right To just kind of feel sometimes free by yourself and your husband, your partner, is not paying attention to you or to your kids or to the other shores. That need to be done. So I think that's for founders, I think that's also quite, quite we're lucky.

Edgar Charry:

I think I feel lucky from a perspective.

Samuel Wines:

No, nice yeah thanks for sharing that yeah yeah, I think it's always so important.

Samuel Wines:

I think it's even things that we've been toying around with here is like, oh, how can we like? What can we do? That's Like nice from a social perspective for people where they can feel like you know, maybe we do a picnic in the park and people feel like they can bring their family and kids and like you can have that little bit of a relationality because so much of the like everyone here spent so much time here, right, and it would be nice for the family to be like oh, this is where you exist when you're not at home doing the dishes or helping walk the dog.

Samuel Wines:

It's like, OK, cool you're here, so at least there's like, there's that like welcoming them and bring them into this world so they can see it. So we have been thinking about what we can do in that regard. Maybe it is just like a nice picnic down the road or something.

Edgar Charry:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, that would be great.

Samuel Wines:

All right, I'm going to let you escape because I know you've got a meeting that we're going to be having in this room pretty soon. So, before we, before we let you escape, how can people keep up to date with what you're doing? Where can they go to engage with what you do or learn more about your work? Is there any events that you're going to be at or publications that might be coming out soon, or is there any social channels that people should keep an eye on?

Edgar Charry:

Yeah, I think. I think I mean channels at this stage. You know, linkedin, really LinkedIn, we got to the count as well. On Twitter, we got Kerry Diamond, who's doing a great job there, you know, posting and, I guess, sending the message out, you know, and see how we can connect with people. And we I think, as you said, there were publications we have to this year do more scientific publications just to show you know the validity of really this technology. There will be some publications coming out really from us. That's one of our definitely OK eyes for us, but otherwise I have to probably do more LinkedIn post myself, you know.

Edgar Charry:

Just, I think that that helps a lot. I think maybe right now it's just really trying to get the foundation right. You know from a product and then eventually you know, have you know we'll be trying to promote more of this what we're trying to do, but I think now, probably the most, the focus is really trying to get it to right. So this stage, just, you know, in the, in the website as well, obviously there are contact details and emails there so you can definitely reach out to us if you feel connected somehow to what we're doing, and we'll be more than happy to have a chat, whatever that is.

Samuel Wines:

Awesome. Thanks so much for letting us drag you out of the lab. It's been a it's been a long time coming making this happen and, yeah, look forward to having another conversation soon with more updates.

Edgar Charry:

Yeah, no, thanks so much. Thanks for sorry about that reply to your text.

Samuel Wines:

That's all right. I know you still love me. It's fine. I'm not taking it personally.

Edgar Charry:

No, no, no, no. You used the text messages. I, the mighty Netflix site, I disable notifications in a talk about systems. Yeah, they were notifications completely, so that's why I don't get your messages there. Yeah, updates, yeah, good cover up.

Samuel Wines:

Yeah, whatever you say. No, it's all good, I understand it totally Like I did. I did the same like I had. There was a message someone sent like four months ago on my networks and I reply.

Andrew Gray:

And they just like. Whenever I look over at your screen, I'm like all these channels have messages and updates.

Samuel Wines:

A hundred and eighty message.

Edgar Charry:

So happy birthday, by the way. Oh yeah.

Samuel Wines:

Yeah Well, your birthday and my birthday. We were always on the 24th and it was the 31st. Yeah, 31st, I forget. January has 31.

Andrew Gray:

It's like five birthdays here in January.

Samuel Wines:

It was a pretty, yeah, yeah, yeah, like everyone's parents have everyone working. It was real productive like nine months ago.

Andrew Gray:

April.

Samuel Wines:

Hmm, wonder why.

Edgar Charry:

For me. There's a lot of people that have birthdays in March, you know, June, July. Yeah.

Andrew Gray:

I'm sure there are. They're just not here. Yes, your birthday is coming up soon, yeah that's what I would say yeah, yeah, yeah, we'll celebrate, we'll get a cake, we'll get a cake for you, all right.

Edgar Charry:

Thanks so much, guys no stress. Thanks so much for joining us.

Samuel Wines:

Heyyyy, you made it to the end. Thanks so much for sticking around and listening to this conversation. You now officially know when both Andrew and my birthdays are, and you also found out Edgars' birthday is in March, so if you feel like bringing a cake into CoLab's for him, I'm sure he will very much appreciate it. Thank you again for listening to this episode of The Strange Attractor. We were around about halfway through interviewing all of our members, and then we're going to be moving on to interviewing some of our favourite organisations in Australia and across the world who are working on impact-oriented innovation. So stay tuned and we look forward to welcoming you here next time for another episode of the Strange Attractor.

Exploring the Formation of Symex Labs
Reproductive Health Solutions and Hormone Tracking
Autoclaving Sensors and Self-Care Discussions
Alignment and Values in Product Development
Importance of Playing an Instrument
Birthdays and Celebrations