Q&A: Sean Wang, chairman of B&W Tek
For 20 years, B&W Tek has developed and marketed products that provide light-generation services to researchers and other clinicians. The company has offices in five countries and 70 distributors worldwide. In November 2016, B&W received the top award in the Analytical & Test Category from “R&D Magazine.”
Founder and current Chairman Sean Wang, Ph.D., looks ahead at what’s in store for his company.
How has B&W Tek grown during its 20 years?
When we started, we had a lot of people using our lasers in diagnostics and surgery. Over the years, we have gotten more and more into the applications and are providing mobile spectroscopy solutions.
Why did you choose Delaware for B&W’s home?
There are multiple reasons, but the University of Delaware is the key reason. I came to Delaware for my Ph.D. degree. I met my future wife in student Bible study group. Overall, Delaware is a small and friendly place. It is in a suburban setting but close to the major metropolitan cities. I love this place. I consider myself a true Delawarean, and I want to give back.
Who is using your products?
We have a lot of users. Law enforcers and agents can use them on the streets, and doctors can use them at the point of care.
The technology has improved a lot, hasn’t it?
I use the analogy of the computer. It has gone from the mainframe to the desktop to the laptop to the iPhone and the iPad. Our technology is the same. We have gone from a quarter of a million dollar instrument to one that weighed a couple of hundred pounds to a unit that weighs one or two pounds and is battery-operated.
You have developed a new spectroscope that can see through packaging. How will that help people?
You can use it to see through an envelope or a plastic container. It can be used to diagnose breast cancer and to eliminate the X-ray to look at bone density. It also has applications for the postal service. They can use it to look into packages that may be dangerous.
It’s a very exciting time. We are incubating a company that is going through a clinical trial for a therapy for Alzheimer’s patients. It is using laser light as therapy. We also have a project with the University of Utah, funded by the Bill Gates Foundation, for a hand-held solution for detection of the early stages of TB. We are a small company, but we are still global.
This article appeared in the premiere issue of Delaware Innovation Magazine, an overview of the state’s cutting edge industries and the people leading them. See the whole issue here.