Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Envelope Please…

The finalists for this years BioWest Venture Showcase have been named. The Venture Showcase will be held on Friday 7 December at Denver’s Grand Hyatt. The winner will receive the $10,000 Faegre & Benson Venture Showcase award at the CBSA’s Annual Awards Luncheon on the same day.

I am working on embedding a poll for what company you believe will take this years Venture Showcase top prize. More to come on that. And now the finalists:

Nanodisc is a developer of nanoscale drug and vaccine delivery technology. Their proprietary system allows the presentation of proteins, small molecules and nucleic acids, stabilized and in their active form. The company is focusing its internal R&D capabilities on the highest value application – using nanodiscs to deliver membrane proteins such as receptors, enzymes and channels – to the body. Nanodisc is validating primary applications including antigen delivery, receptor delivery/ligand trap and gene therapy. Nanodisc is backed by Illinois Ventures and is seeking an institutional round of $6M - $10M. The company will continue to pursue non-dilutive sources of funding from licensing agreements, fee-for-service relationships and proceeds from SBIR and STTR grants. The company has exclusive rights to the nanodisc technology in all markets. For more information, call President and CEO Michael Artinger at 303-544-0406.

Sierra Puente is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of small molecule therapeutic products to treat multiple diseases of the brain for the medically refractory patient. Sierra is reformulating orally administered medications for placement into an implantable pump, for administration into the fluid around the brain for a platform of diseases including epilepsy, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder and major depression. The company is seeking to raise a Series A financing to support development of its two lead candidates through completion of Phase IIa clinical trials. Sierra has raised capital through grants and angel round financing to build a comprehensive IP foundation, proof of concept in animal models and a wide base of scientific and business advisors. For more information, call CEO Dan Abrams, MD, at 303-315-5450.

Solix Biofuels is commercializing the technology for the production of algae-based biofuels. The company built its first generation technology in the summer of 2006 and subsequently raised its second round of capital in September 2006. The company’s $3 million in funding has allowed it to operate its second generation production systems and to engineer its beta-test field reactor for operation in the first half of 2008 at New Belgium Brewery. Solix has filed patent applications and provisionals that include design elements of photo-bioreactor design, panel design, control systems and chemical conversion processes. Solix is in the midst of raising approximately $2MM to $3.5MM as a bridge loan and recently closed with its lead investor on this round. The Company will look to raise a preferred round in the beginning of 2008. For more information, call CEO Doug Henston at 303-885-7143.

ValveXchange holds patented technology on a two-piece bioprosthetic tissue valve that resolves the compromises between conventional mechanical and tissue heart valves. The company’s technology is easily adopted by surgeons with a clear regulatory path and a $1.2 billion market opportunity. ValveXchange has exclusively licensed its core technology, invented by founder Ivan Vesely, PhD, from The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Thus far, the company has been financed by seed funding from the founder and three SBIR grants. That funding has allowed for prototypes developed with proof of concept, two-piece exchangeable tissue valve, functional & mechanical tests, in vitro testing of prototypes, validated performance and in vivo testing. Going forward, the company is initiating recruitment of Angel and Series A Financing of $2.5 million to bring it to the Clinical Trial stage. For more information, call Dr. Vesely, Founder and CSO, at 323-481-9643. or go to.

Ventrus Biosciences is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the late-stage development and commercialization of gastroenterology products. Strategically, Ventrus will concentrate on licensing late-stage GI products in select areas of unmet medical need with targeted sales potential of $200 to $500 million. The development strategy for each asset will focus on the most efficient path to approval, with expansion to full potential achieved with additional post-marketing indications. Ventrus has secured the rights to three late-stage GI products. The current company pipeline has a combined annual net sales potential of $1 billion. Ventrus is entering Series A financing with one phase II and two phase III products. The company has been seed funded by Paramount Bioscience. – For more information, call President and CEO Thom Rowland at 720-528-4090.

mBioSystems The technology is a low-cost, high sensitivity, multi-pathogen companion detection system for therapeutics. Detection is based on fluorescence and takes advantage of the parent company’s experience in low cost, high precision micro-optics and laser detection. The company has in-licensed a suite of patents for biosensors. Development has been ongoing for two years and a successful study of 30 clinical patients was recently completed. In addition, the company has two proprietary diagnostic products in development: first, a multi-disease diagnostic focusing on HIV and common co-infections; a second product is a low cost cytometer for counting CD4 positive T-cells for the management of HIV therapy. It is anticipated that the products will be developed under NIH and foundation funding. For more information, call CEO Chris Myatt at 303-444-9948.

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