Boston – The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) announced today that Newton-based AesRx, an Accelerator company awarded $750,000 in loan financing by the MLSC in 2011, has paid back its loan early after being acquired by Baxter International Inc., a diversified healthcare company based in Deerfield, IL. The company’s repayment amount (including investment proceeds) totaled $1,024,000. The acquisition was announced today in press releases issued by Baxter and the National Institutes of Health.
“Entrepreneurship is essential to the strength of our innovation economy, and it is great to see another local start‐up achieving success” said Governor Deval Patrick. “I congratulate AesRx on their early repayment and look forward to seeing their technologies reach many patients through Baxter’s global reach.”
AesRx is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of a novel drug, which targets an orphan disease. The Company’s lead program, Aes-103, is a potential breakthrough in the treatment of sickle cell disease (SCD).
Launched in 2009, the Accelerator program offers loans of up to $1 million per company and seeks to “de-risk” start-up companies that are in need of financing to serve as flexible working capital or for the purchase of capital assets. 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.
To date, the Accelerator Program has awarded $18.7 million in loans to 28 companies, which have generated more than $150 million in additional equity or acquisition proceeds. Seven of these companies — Good Start Genetics, InVivo Therapeutics, 4s3 Bioscience, Pluromed, MoMelan Technologies, Avaxia Biologics, and most recently Sample6, — have previously paid back their Accelerator loans early with interest.
“Securing funding for translational drug development is always challenging,” said Stephen Seiler, AesRx’s Founder and former Chief Executive Officer. “This is particularly true in sickle cell disease where there has never been a drug developed specifically to treat the condition. The MLSC Accelerator loan was critical in helping us make it across the Biotech Valley of Death and bringing us closer to an important new treatment for patients in an area of enormous unmet medical need.”
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a recessive genetic disorder of the hemoglobin which can cause red blood cells to deform into rigid sickle shapes that block capillaries and other small blood vessels. This blockage can lead to a wide range of serious, sometimes life-threatening, conditions including chronic hemolytic anemia, chronic pain and acute painful crisis, stroke, acute chest syndrome, and cumulative damage to tissues and organs. More than 13 million individuals worldwide suffer from SCD, with an estimated 100,000 people affected in the United States and 40,000 affected in Europe.
“The Center’s Accelerator Program fills a critical gap in the life cycle of promising early-stage companies that are bringing new technologies to the marketplace,” said Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D. President & CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. “AesRx has been developing a treatment for sickle cell disease, a disease that disproportionately affects people of color, and for which there is no current specific treatment. Now, Baxter, a company with the capacity to market this drug globally, plans to move the development of this important drug forward. We are very pleased to accept the early repayment of AesRx’s loan, and we commend the company on its dedication and progress in developing Aes-103.”