WALTHAM, Mass. (January 29, 2013) – The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) today celebrated Sanofi’s commercial launch of LeGoo®, a biopolymer gel that allows surgeons to temporarily stop blood flow during surgery without the use of clamps, elastic loops or other conventional occlusion devices that may risk trauma to blood vessels. Pluromed, a 2009 MLSC Accelerator Loan recipient, developed LeGoo’s proprietary polymer technology, called Rapid Transition Polymers (RTP), and was acquired in 2012 by Sanofi. The announcement represents the first global product launch of a technology developed with funding from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center’s Accelerator Loan Program.
Through the MLSC, Massachusetts is investing $1 billion over 10 years in the growth of the state’s life sciences supercluster. These investments are being made under the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative, proposed by Governor Deval Patrick in 2007, and passed by the State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Patrick in 2008.
“New treatments, therapies and cures that improve patient care also create jobs,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “Today’s product launch demonstrates what the Life Sciences Initiative is all about. I congratulate both the Life Sciences Center and Sanofi on the launch of this important new technology.”
The Accelerator Loan Program is the MLSC’s flagship investment program that provides working capital to early-stage life sciences companies. The program provides support to companies at a critical stage 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. In 2009 Pluromed, Inc. was awarded an Accelerator Loan of $500,000 from the MLSC. Pluromed repaid the loan in full with interest in March 2012 after being acquired by Sanofi.
“The launch of LeGoo by Sanofi marks a significant achievement for the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center,” said MLSC President & CEO Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D. “LeGoo was developed by Pluromed, a young company that was one of the first to receive a loan through the Center’s Accelerator Loan Program. The Accelerator Loan provided support for Pluromed at a critical stage in the development of LeGoo. Now, through its acquisition of Pluromed, Sanofi will use its global reach to put LeGoo in the hands of vascular and cardiovascular surgeons around the world, most likely transforming the standard of care for cardiovascular surgical procedures. The launch of LeGoo by Sanofi is a clear affirmation of the role that the Center is playing to help young companies develop cutting-edge technologies and enable global biopharma leaders to ‘find’ the next generation of product innovations in Massachusetts. We are excited to have been a key part of the development of LeGoo and look forward to the prospect of more innovative products being launched from our portfolio of more than 20 Accelerator companies.”
“LeGoo has the potential to change the paradigm of vascular and cardiovascular surgical procedures through a completely new approach to a long-accepted standard of care," said Anne Whitaker, President, North America Pharmaceuticals, Sanofi. “The commercial launch of LeGoo is one of several innovations Sanofi is launching in 2013 and proof of our commitment to finding new health care solutions by putting patients first while also diversifying our Biosurgery portfolio.”
As the first and only atraumatic intraluminal occlusion gel, LeGoo is injected into a blood vessel and forms a plug that molds to the shape of the vessel, stopping blood flow temporarily. The plug custom-adapts to the contour of each individual blood vessel, delivering a truly sophisticated approach to surgical procedures. Upon completion of the anastomosis, LeGoo is dissolved spontaneously in about 15 minutes or by cooling the vessel directly through ice application or cold saline infusion, which restores blood flow.
“The Center’s $500,000 award came at a critical moment in the development of Pluromed, as a life-line for us right before we received two important grants from the National Institute of Health”, said former Pluromed President & CEO Jean-Marie Vogel. “Together we have done something very important, very meaningful, with the potential to change the future of vascular and cardiovascular surgery for the benefit of millions of patients around the world. Now, one of the largest healthcare companies in the world has added its enormous resources to bring our dreams to reality. It would not have been possible without the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.”
To date, the Accelerator Loan Program has awarded $15.1 million in loans to 24 companies, which have generated more than $105 million in additional equity or acquisition proceeds. Six of these companies -- Good Start Genetics, InVivo Therapeutics, 4s3 Bioscience, Pluromed, MoMelan and most recently Avaxia Biologics -- have paid back their Accelerator loans early with interest.
The MLSC is currently accepting Accelerator Loan Program applications. The deadline for the seventh round of this program is 12 p.m. EST on Feb. 8, 2013. For more information and to apply, visit www.masslifesciences.com/accelerator.html.
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.