Good Start Genetics Inc., which earlier this month raised $18 million in venture financing, has repaid its debt to the Commonwealth in full, or at least until next tax season.
The Boston-based company, which is developing a pre-pregnancy genetic test designed to screen for a panel of genetic disorders, won a $500,000 “accelerator” loan from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center in April 2009. It’s the first of the seven companies to receive the state’s assistance to pay off its loan.
Good Start announced Sept. 10 that it had raised $18 million in a Series A round led by OrbiMed Advisors, Safeguard Scientifics Inc. (NYSE:SFE) and SV Life Sciences.
At an intimate ceremony in Boston University’s Photonics Center, where the company has offices and lab space in the school’s business incubator, Mass. Life Science Center president Susan Windham-Bannister said the repayment was a major step forward for the quasi-public agency’s mission of helping to foster innovation in the life science industry.
“When we developed this program, it was our belief that if the state stepped forward and made some investments in early-stage companies when they were still risky, then the investment community would come in behind us,” Windham-Bannister told MassDevice. “This repayment is proof-of-concept for what we’re trying to do.”
Good Start’s new CEO, Don Hardison, said the state’s involvement in the fledgling company made it an attractive option when he was considering joining the firm.
“The fact that there was some funding there to get started was critical,” Hardison told us, adding that the state’s imprimatur in giving the loan was something that impressed him.
Good Start has already hired three more employees since landing the A round at the start of the month, he added, bringing its total workforce to 12, with an expected eight more to come before year’s end, he said.
Good Start officially paid the state more than $62,000 in interest on the loan.