Hemocellular Therapeutics Inc. closed a seed round of $1 million at the end of last year it says will enable it to submit a pre-independent new drug (IND) filing to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Stan Eskridge, president of Hemocellular, tells Local Tech Wire the financing “will get the company through our first critical milestone, submitting a pre-IND filing for its first product, Stasix.
Stasix, a “hemostatic therapeutic,” stops active bleeding that can’t be staunched by putting pressure on a wound. Hemocellular licenses its technology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and East Carolina University.
Eskridge says it will be extremely useful in stopping bleeding by accident victims, heart surgery patients and others.
The company’s technology solves a number of problems in storing blood products, Eskridge says. “Blood banks have to throw out blood platelet’s after five-days because they acquire bacteria so quickly,” he explains. “Our stuff is nearly sterile and can survive extended periods at room temperature and years in refrigeration.”
Solves industry problems
Eskridge says the company’s products – including those in the pipeline – can solve the “blood industry’s logistics problems.”
Hemocellular’s products are based on “freeze-dried,” human platelets — the component of blood primarily responsible for starting coagulation.
Hemocellular’s freeze-dried platelets resulted from a decade of research supported by initial federal funding of $10 million. The products it is developing have obvious military and national security defense applications.
The company’s scientific founders, Dr. Arthur P. Bode of ECU and Dr. Thomas H. Fischer of UNC, led the research efforts.
Eskridge says the company has just hired two persons to bring the company’s paid staff to three. It plans to announce the new hires in about two weeks, he says. It’s still a virtual company with executives working from home offices. “We’re very conservative when it comes to spending money,” he says.
BD Ventures, Franklin Lakes, NJ, private investors mostly from eastern NC, and several of the company’s key scientific and business advisors also invested in the seed-round.
Clay B. Thorp, general partner of Catalysta Ventures and BioVista Capital, was elected to Hemocellular’s board.
“Of the many therapeutics companies we have reviewed over the past three years, Hemocellular has the strongest potential to enter and complete clinical trials in a short amount of time,” says Thorp.
Eskridge says Hemocellular will be a candidate for a follow-up round from BioVista, which he says he’s confident will close its fund. BioVista has yet to close its planned fund, but stands to get a large chunk of investment cash from the Golden Leaf Fund if it does.
The company plans to consider how much to seek in its next financing round at its board meeting this Friday, says Eskridge.
Dr. Dana M. Fowlkes, chairman of Hemocellular says, “This funding will be sufficient to enable the company to prepare and submit its pre-IND for its first product. That in turn will establish the agenda for our first clinical trial and set the foundation for our next financing.”