Life Science

Mass. Life Sciences Board Approves Program Loans

Waltham, MA – The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), a quasi-public agency charged with implementing the state’s 10-year, $1-billion MLSC, announced the awarding of $1.5 million in loans to two early-stage life sciences companies and the launch of the application period for the next round of its Accelerator Loan Program. The MLSC began accepting applications  December 19, with applications due by noon EST February 3, 2014, via the MLSC’s website at www.masslifesciences.com.

Launched in 2009, the 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 Loan Program has awarded $16.2 million in loans to 25 companies, that have generated more than $105 million in additional equity or acquisition proceeds. Six of these companies have paid back their Accelerator loans early with interest. The companies that were authorized  to receive recent Accelerator loans (pending additional due diligence by MLSC staff) are as follows:

• Guided Surgery Solutions ($520,000 – Wellesley) is a medical device company developing 3D image-based drill guides to enable dentists to place dental implants with greater accuracy and confidence.

• Vaxess Technologies ($1 million – Cambridge) is a biotechnology company planning to increase global vaccine access by using silk biomaterials to create vaccines that no longer need refrigeration.

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“The companies that have received Accelerator loans from the Center have been making extraordinary progress in attracting private capital, creating jobs and advancing important new medical technologies to the marketplace,” said MLSC President & CEO Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D. “We are pleased to add Guided Surgery Solutions and Vaxess Technologies to our Accelerator portfolio, and we look forward to the impact that the Center’s investment will have on the development of their exciting technologies.”

Moving a molecule from bench to bedside is perhaps the most challenging task in biotech today,” said Steve Seiler, Chief Executive Officer of AesRx, a previous Accelerator award recipient. “The Massachusetts Life Science Center (MLSC) Accelerator loan had a catalytic effect in helping AesRx move our Aes-103 sickle cell program forward. It provided an important source of funding for our company at a time when Aes-103 was still in pre-clinical development. We presented exciting results from a Phase 1/2a trial of Aes-103 at the recent annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) and thanks in part to assistance from the MLSC, Aes-103 is now in Phase 2. It shows promise to be the first direct anti-sickling drug ever developed for this devastating disease.”

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. Final awards for the next round are projected to be announced in May of 2014.

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