Editor’s note: This is the 17th in a series of stories profiling companies that presented at Venture 2003 last week.TransTech Pharma has generated $5 million in revenue over the past two years in assisting its partners in drug discovery. But the company, which is based in High Point, has much loftier goals.
Discovering and developing its own drugs.
With more than 50 patents applied for based on its unique drug discovery technology and compounds, TTP Translational Technology, TransTech is seeking additional venture funding to get drugs for a variety of ailments into the improvement pipeline.
“Our technology is a highly automated and fully integrated drug discovery engine that is able to translate genomic, and proteomic data into safe and effective small molecule therapeutics in high throughput fashion, bypassing most of the classical requirements and bottlenecks in drug discovery,” says Steve Holcombe, senior vice president and chief financial officer. “The technology has delivered pre-clinical and clinical drug candidates for both TransTech and its external collaboration partners against a wide range of complex and novel biological targets including protein-protein interactions, receptor modulators and enzyme inhibitors.”
Holcombe points out that TransTech has a “pipeline” of pre-clinical drug candidates that could target cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, obesity, central nervous system disorders and immunology.
And TransTech’s management believes its technology will produce drugs “in less than half the time and a third of the cost incurred by the traditional pharmaceutical drug discovery process,” Holcombe adds.
TransTech, which already has closed on $38 million in venture capital, is seeking additional funding to further accelerate drug development.
As it did a year ago, Local Tech Wire is featuring in-depth profiles of presenting firms for Venture 2003 built around a Q&A with a company executive as well as a Fact Box of important information. One profile will appear each day.
LTW put together a Q&A designed to not only produce facts about the presenters but also to give each a chance to state the case for venture capitalists to invest.
Answers for TransTech Pharma were provided by Holcombe.
Venture 2003 took place last week in Chapel Hill. (Previous profiles – Engineous, Hemocelluar, Elsinore, Gentris, A4, SmartPath, Dynogen, ViASIC, Norak, Kucera, Micell, MindValve, Regado, Bloodhound Software, Total Billings and United Emergency Services can be found in LTW archives under Executive Q&A category.)
Times are tough. If you had only one chance and one paragraph to convince an investor, how would you answer this question: “Why should an investor choose your company?”
TransTech is a drug discovery company that has a pipeline of small molecule pre-clinical drug candidates for the treatment of cardiovascular disorders, central nervous system disorders, type I/II diabetes and obesity, and immunology. All of the drug candidates in its pipeline have been discovered using a proprietary drug discovery technology called “TTP Translational Technology”. TransTech’s technology has produced preclinical and clinical drug candidates against difficult targets in less than half the time and a third of the cost incurred by the traditional pharmaceutical drug discovery processes. After just three years of operations, TransTech will be advancing drug candidates for two different programs into clinical trials.
What is the “pain point” (or points) you address for your customers?
Most of our research is directed towards drug candidate programs, which we own exclusively. We do have three research collaboration programs with pharmaceutical and larger biotech companies. Those “customers” have come to us with targets that they have been unable to find potential small molecule drug candidates. Our job is to discover those candidates faster and for less money that they could themselves.
What makes your company unique? Do you have a proprietary and/or a patented technology? Please explain why it is unique and what the status is of any patent filings.
Our technology is a highly automated and fully integrated drug discovery engine that is able to translate genomic, and proteomic data into safe and effective small molecule therapeutics in high throughput fashion, bypassing most of the classical requirements and bottlenecks in drug discovery. The technology has delivered pre-clinical and clinical drug candidates for both TransTech and its external collaboration partners against a wide range of complex and novel biological targets including protein-protein interactions, receptor modulators and enzyme inhibitors.
We have received or filed for over 50 patents covering our technology as well as composition of matter patents surrounding internal drug candidates that we have developed.
What makes your product(s) and/or services unique vs. your competition? (Who is your competition, and what do they offer?) If you have no competition, why not?
There are several drug discovery companies whose business model is to provide other pharmaceutical and biotech companies with enhanced pre-clinical drug discovery services. Some of these companies perform this on a “fee for service” basis while others enter into research collaborations in which success-based milestone payments can be earned. With so many companies claiming unique technology, investors and industry professionals have often stated that “the proof is in the pudding” or what drug candidates have been discovered with the technology.
TransTech’s technology has been up and running for just over two years and has already produced two internal drug candidates which will be moving into clinical trials this year and four other drug candidates in preclinical development. Additionally TransTech’s technology is being used to advance drug candidates in three external research programs with Novo Nordisk, Cephalon Inc. and SIGA Technologies.
Does your company already generate revenue? If so, how much? Are you cash flow positive?
We have generated over $5 million in technology access fees and funded research since 2001 as the result of our external research collaborations. However as stated before our primary business focus is the development of internally owned drug candidates for which no revenue is produced. As a result we are not cash flow positive.
What is your target market? What is the size of that market in terms of dollars? What share of that market do you believe you can win?
TransTech’s mission is to develop small molecule drug candidates as therapeutics for the treatment of human diseases including cardiovascular disorders, central nervous system disorders, type I/II diabetes and obesity, and immunology. As such these therapeutics will compete against existing marketed products for these disorders. As is common within the industry TransTech will evaluate the cost/benefit of developing and ultimately marketing potential drug candidates on a stand alone basis or in partnership with other pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies.
The indications noted above are multi-billion dollar markets. TransTech’s drug discovery efforts are aimed at developing first in class and first to market small molecule drug candidates which address unmet medical needs from current therapies, as opposed to developing “me too” drugs.
What will you do with the invested funds? What is the timeline for product delivery? If you have existing products and services, how will additional funding help you expand your company, if that is the intention, or will you develop new products?
Additional funding will be used to advance drug candidates through clinical trials. As noted above, TransTech will continue to evaluate the cost/benefit of developing and ultimately marketing potential drug candidates on a stand-alone basis or in partnership with other pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies.
What do you want from an investor other than money?
Relationships/contacts within both the life science and capital markets.
Why will investors be impressed with your management team?
The management team has over 100 combined years of experience in drug discovery and development as well as capital raising and managing public companies.
What is the exit strategy for the investor from your company? Are there
potential strategic alliances with larger companies? Do you wish to take the company public? Or do you wish to grow the company and either sell it or acquire other companies?
All of these strategies are possible for companies such as ours. When the public markets open up we believe we have the business model and management team capable of pursuing an initial public offering.
Just the facts on TransTech: www.localtechwire.com/article.cfm?u=4006