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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 $2 million in loans to two 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 seventh 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 Accelerator Loan 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 to 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 $15.2 million in 24 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 that were authorized today to receive Accelerator loans (pending additional due diligence by MLSC staff) are as follows:
• Cytrellis Biosystems ($1 million - Boston) is an emerging medical device company developing new products for dermatology, scar reduction and aesthetic medicine. The key enabling technology emanates from Partners Healthcare and facilitates directional tightening and moving of the skin without surgery. An experienced team is currently focusing on initiating market concept activities, accelerating product development to yield prototypes for human evaluation, and initiating the commercial design.
• Lumicell Diagnostics ($1 million - Wellesley) is a medical device company developing a novel intraoperative cancer detection system. This system includes a cancer-specific injectable imaging agent and a new hand-held imager to provide specificity and sensitivity during cancer removal surgery. Leveraging technology from MIT and Duke University Medical Center, the clinical goal is to better detect tumor margins and reduce the need for repeat surgeries. The company is focused on developing final hardware and software to specifications, GMP synthesis of the agent for Phase II trials, and preparing for IDE submission to the FDA.
“The companies receiving our Accelerator loans have been making extraordinary progress in attracting private capital, creating jobs and advancing important new medical technologies to the marketplace,” said MLSC President & CEO, Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister. “We are pleased to add Cytrellis Biosystems and Lumicell Diagnostics to our Accelerator portfolio, and we look forward to the impact that the Center’s investment will have on the development of their technologies.”
“Massachusetts is a habitat where visionary ideas converge with business expertise, manufacturing, and support from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center to bring about meaningful and transformative innovation,” said Jennifer Davagian Ensign, President of Christcot Medical Company, recipient of a $256,000 Accelerator loan. “The award of the MLSC Accelerator loan in 2012 has allowed Christcot Medical Company to establish manufacturing in the Commonwealth and continue our commitment to the local economy while preparing for the national market launch scheduled for later this year. Christcot Medical’s Sephure suppository applicator will transform the quality of life for patients who are unable to take oral medications, and we are proud that our success in transforming the standard of care is supported by the MLSC.”
Applicants for the Accelerator Loan 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.
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.
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.
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