The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, a quasi-public agency that oversees state dollars allocated toward increasing the life sciences industry’s footprint in the Bay State, has rebooted its “accelerator” loan program.
The loans are designed to provide a boost to early-stage life science companies that the center’s scientific advisory board deem to have a high potential for commercialization, rapid growth and the ability to raise substantial capital.
Firms that have raised more than $5 million in private financing, won accelerator loans in the past, or are part of a larger parent company are not eligible to receive the loans. In addition, any company that has applied to the center’s Small Business Matching Grant program will not be allowed to apply to the accelerator program.
Last April, the center handed out about $3.4 million worth of loans to seven companies in the Commonwealth, after more than 88 companies applied.
Pluromed Inc., one of the companies that received an accelerator loan last year, sold the distribution rights for its BackStop polymer gel plug for treating kidney stones to Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE:BSX) last fall. Another accelerator loan recipient, Wadsworth Medical Technologies, received pre-market approval from the Food & Drug Administration to market a needle-less wound closure system called the DermaLOC.
A second round of loans was scheduled for last fall, but the program was put on hold when the Commonwealth’s budget crisis put the center’s discretionary funding pool in jeopardy. The agency manages four pools of grants, loans and tax breaks designed to attract companies and grow start-ups in Massachusetts.
The current round of loans will have a $750,000 cap, up from last year’s cap of $500,000. The center is allocating $5.5 million to the program, with about $3.5 million of that going to the first round of loans.
Companies can apply for the loans online until March 24.