Waltham, MA – The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), a quasipublic agency charged with implementing the state’s 10-year, $1-billion Life Sciences Initiative, announced the awarding of $3 million in Accelerator Program loans to three early-stage life sciences companies.
The new companies that have been authorized to receive Accelerator loans (pending additional due diligence by MLSC staff) are:
3Derm Systems, Inc. ($1 million – Cambridge) is a medical device company with a skin imaging system that allows primary care physicians to take clinical-quality 3D images of worrisome skin lesions and upload them for instant review by a dermatologist. This system methodology is intended to triage the patients whose condition requires immediate attention by a dermatologist, at the same time reducing the costs associated with unnecessary appointments. With the MLSC award, 3Derm will submit a manufacturing pre-order for its devices as early as possible and accelerate the hiring of key positions.
Parsagen Diagnostics, Inc. ($1 million – Boston) is a diagnostics company that has developed the Parto-Sure Test, a rapid, noninvasive test with unprecedented accuracy in predicting preterm labor within seven days of presentation. Funding from the MLSC will help Parsagen fund its pivotal clinical trial activities, complete analytical studies, and hire additional critical staff members.
X4 Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ($1 million – Belmont) is a clinical-stage biotherapeutics company developing oral small molecule CXCR4 antagonists for the treatment of several different cancers. The MLSC award will aid X4 in completing a genotyping study to help identify potential patients for trials, as well as fund a lead-optimization and compound synthesis effort.
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.
“The Center’s Accelerator Loan Program fills a critical gap in the life cycle of promising early-stage companies with a high potential for technology commercialization, rapid growth and private equity financing,” said Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister, President & CEO of the MLSC. “Through this program we help bridge companies to their next round of funding. The Center’s endorsement increases the visibility of our awardees and MLSC funds create leverage for institutional investors who can further help move these companies forward.”
“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.”
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.