The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center doled out seven so-called “accelerator” loans totaling $3.4 million to local, early-stage life science firms and the medical device industry fared well, landing five of the ignition loans.
The loans, of up to $500,000, are designed to augment the existing $5.8 million in financing the young companies have already landed. Eighty-eight companies applied to the program.
Luis Barros, the center’s senior vice president of investment and industry development, told MassDevice the loans are especially important for early-stage firms that haven’t raised much capital.
“Typically we think of a Series A round as being up to $6 million and none of the companies that received funding were over that threshold,” Barros told us. “The program is designed as gap funding. Companies might have raised $1 million or $2 million, but still critically need an infusion of capitol. The question we ask is not just, ‘Can our capitol help the company stay alive?’, but, ‘Can we also help them to succeed?'”
Cambridge’s InVivo Therapeutics landed a $500,000 loan from the program, which founder and CEO Frank Reynolds said will go toward building a manufacturing facility as the company moves into human trials sometime during the first quarter of 2010.
“It’s a validation of our science, of our technology and of our team. We’ve been at this for four years. When you’re trying to do the impossible it’s not always easy to convince people,” he told MassDevice. “The fact that there was 60 scientists [on the peer review board] — to make it through that gauntlet is an honor and very validating.”
Reynolds said that the company is meeting with officials at UMass-Lowell, including chancellor Martin Meehan, about working with the school to build its new facility near the campus.
It’s been a good week for InVivo, Reynolds told us. The company raised $600,000 earlier in the week before getting the good news today. Reynolds said the additional funding brings InVivo’s total nut to $4 million.
InVivo is developing technology to treat traumatic spinal cord injury using regenerative biomaterials.
Lab services provider Wolfe Laboratories of Watertown won a $500,000 loan.
Senior marketing manager Margarita Hunter told us the company will use the money on a new facility to provide aseptic fill finish services and the manufacture of innovative biologic and cytotoxic drugs.
“We’ve been in business ten years,” Hunter said. “In fact, we just celebrated our ten year anniversary last month.”
Another winner, Westborough’s Wadsworth Technologies, is developing a wound-closure treatment, the Dermaloc Wound Closure System, using next-generation adhesives and what it terms “intelligent engineering.” Wadsworth won a $400,000 loan.
Spectra Analysis of Marlborough, which makes molecular spectroscopy systems and applications for chromatography was awarded a $500,000 loan.
Good Start Genetics, a molecular diagnostics company that’s developing a low-cost, pre-pregnancy test for 50 genetic disorders, won a $500,000 loan.
Dorchester’s Eutropics Pharmaceuticals, which makes oncology drugs, won $500,000.