WALTHAM, Mass. – The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), a quasi-public agency charged with implementing the state’s 10-year, $1-billion Life Sciences Initiative, today announced the awarding of nearly $4 million in loans to four early-stage life sciences companies. The MLSC’s Accelerator program provides loans of up to $1 million to early-stage companies engaged in life sciences research and development, commercialization, and manufacturing. The MLSC’s Board of Directors approved the sixth round of Accelerator loans today.
“Entrepreneurship is essential to the strength of our innovation economy, and the Life Sciences Center’s Accelerator program is playing a crucial role in helping early-stage life sciences companies," said Governor Deval Patrick. “We look forward to working with these companies as they put down roots and grow in Massachusetts, supporting the future of innovation right here.”
The MLSC also announced today that MoMelan Technologies, Inc., of Cambridge, a company that was awarded a $750,000 Accelerator loan in 2011, has repaid its loan early after being acquired by Texas-based Kinetic Concepts, Inc. Momelan is a medical device company developing an innovative epidermal grafting solution utilizing donor site-sparing technology for enabling and standardizing the use of epidermal skin grafting that can be performed in the office or outpatient setting with minimal discomfort. This technology enables a consistent and reproducible harvest of autologous grafts of uniform thickness that are immediately applied to the recipient site. The company’s loan repayment totaled $811,000.
“We are very excited about the acquisition of MoMelan Technologies by KCI and the subsequent repayment of the MLSC accelerator award,” said Sameer Sabir, CEO, MoMelan Technologies. “The funds provided by the Center at a critical point in the company's development were important in planning a capital-efficient development and commercialization strategy. The Accelerator program is an important program that will bolster an already strong environment for life sciences companies in Massachusetts.”
The Accelerator program, the MLSC’s flagship investment program for companies, supports and “de-risks” early-stage companies by providing loans that will match other sources of capital. By leveraging other sources of capital, the Accelerator program provides support to companies at the most critical stages of their development cycle, enabling them to conduct vital research and proof-of-concept studies and attract subsequent investment while improving the odds of bringing cutting edge innovation to the marketplace.
Through previous rounds of the Accelerator program, the MLSC has committed or invested $11.2 million in 20 early-stage companies. To date, six of these companies have repaid their loans early after generating more than $100 million in equity or acquisition proceeds.
“The companies in our Accelerator portfolio have been making extraordinary progress in attracting private capital, creating jobs and advancing important new medical technologies to the marketplace,” said Massachusetts Life Sciences Center President and CEO, Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister. “The acquisition of MoMelan by Kinetic Concepts demonstrates the effectiveness of the Accelerator program, which is to help early stage companies achieve a proof of concept milestone that makes them attractive for greater investment. We are pleased to accept MoMelan’s early repayment of our loan, and we look forward to seeing the positive impact that their technology will have on patients.”
Applicants for the Accelerator program are generally early-stage life sciences companies with a high-potential for technology commercialization, rapid growth and downstream private equity financing. The loans are designed to address the need for capital investment associated with the long life sciences R&D cycle and the high cost of translating research into a commercially viable product. The maximum loan amount was increased to $1 million per company under this year’s program.
Applications were subjected to a double-blind, rigorous peer review, followed by an evaluation by the MLSC’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). Applicants were then further screened by the MLSC’s Investment Sub-Committee of the Board of Directors, through a process that included a live presentation by finalists. Final awards were determined by the MLSC’s Board of Directors.
The four companies that were authorized today to receive Accelerator loans (pending due diligence by MLSC staff) are as follows:
• Arch Therapeutics ($1,000,000 - Natick) is a medical device company advancing a novel approach to enhance the way surgeons stop bleeding (hemostasis), control leaking (sealant), and mitigate infection during surgery and trauma care. The underlying MIT- licensed technology supports an innovative platform of smart materials with potential for further applications. They are focusing on completing a design freeze and establishing supply of the product for biocompatibility testing and formalizing the clinical trial design.
• Bio2 Technologies ($1,000,000 - Woburn) is a privately-held medical device company applying CLM™, a proprietary Cross-Linked Microstructure fiber bonding process, to produce a range of biocompatible materials with broad application in musculoskeletal clinical practice. Along with offering superior mechanical and biological properties, CLM Technology allows the use of rapid, low-cost component fabrication methods. The company is focused on developing early human clinical data, initializing market outreach and scaling up manufacturing.
• ImmuneXcite ($984,500 - Watertown) is a biopharmaceutical company developing the next generation of immunotherapies for cancer, employing its proprietary mAbXcite platform technology, which uses a unique polysaccharide to coat cancer cells, signaling human neutrophils to attack the tumors. The company is focused on finalizing the conjugate chemistry, conducting toxicology studies and formulating, and scaling-up the conjugate.
• MedicaMetrix ($1,000,000 - Wayland) is a urological medical device company targeting products that reduce the cost of healthcare, while improving clinical outcomes. MedicaMetrix’s first product, ProstaGlove™, enables the quantitative measurement of prostate size. The company is focused on conducting a first-in-man study, funding FDA clinical trials and initiating the commercialization of the product.
About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is a quasi-public agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts tasked with implementing the Massachusetts Life Sciences Act, a 10-year, $1-billion initiative that was signed into law in June of 2008. The MLSC’s mission is to create jobs in the life sciences and support vital scientific research that will improve the human condition. This work includes making financial investments in public and private institutions that are advancing life sciences research, development and commercialization as well as building ties among sectors of the Massachusetts life sciences community. For more information, visit www.masslifesciences.com.
About the Life Sciences Accelerator Program
In order to expand life-sciences-related employment opportunities, promote health-related innovations and stimulate research and development, manufacturing and commercialization in the life sciences, the Life Sciences Accelerator program provides loans to companies engaged in life sciences research and development, commercialization, and manufacturing in Massachusetts. Target entities are generally early-stage life sciences companies with a high-potential for technology commercialization, rapid growth and downstream private equity financing. The program is designed to help sustain these companies through a critical stage of development and to leverage additional sources of capital to bring cutting-edge innovation to the marketplace.