WINSTON SALEM- The fight against prostate cancer is getting a little easier.
Salzburg Therapeutics is developing a new technology to better treat the disease that affects around 200,000 men each year. The company is currently developing CytotoxamersTM that work with the body’ proteins better than traditional drugs.
“Cancer patients treated with CytotoxamersTM will live longer than patients treated with other chemotherapeutic drugs and they will suffer fewer side-effects,” explains William H. Gmeiner, Ph.D., company president and founder, in a recent Q&A with LTW.
The full interview is below:
The momentum has picked up over the past year in many segments of venture capital. Are you finding more interest among potential investors? Please explain why or why not.
Yes, I am finding more interest and this is due, in part, to a better investment climate. I think our company is more highly focused and has clearer business and scientific objectives and this is largely responsible for the increased interest.
Even in a better investment climate, VCs are more demanding than ever in terms of due diligence. Why should investors be interested in your firm?
Investors should be interested because we are an outstanding investment, albeit with a long time horizon for the return.
What’s your “elevator pitch” in a paragraph or a few sentences?
Salzburg Therapeutics is developing CytotoxamerTM technology for treatment of prostate cancer and other malignancies. CytotoxamersTM are three-dimensional structures comprised, in part, of activated anticancer drugs. The CytotoxamerTM is complementary in shape to proteins expressed selectively on the target malignant cells. Following internalization into the cancer cells, cytotoxic drugs are released killing the tumor cells. Non-malignant cells are not harmed by CytotoxamersTM. Cancer patients treated with CytotoxamersTM will live longer than patients treated with other chemotherapeutic drugs and they will suffer fewer side-effects.
What is the “pain point” (or points) you address for your customers?
It is going to take a long time for our products to reach the market.
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. CytotoxamerTM technology is proprietary and intellectual property protection is being pursued by Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Salzburg Therapeutics will have exclusive licenses for CytotoxamerTM technology.
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?
CytotoxamersTM will be more effective than conventional cytotoxic drugs because fully activated drugs are selectively targeted to malignant cells. CytotoxamersTM will have more favorable pharmacokinetic properties than monoclonal antibodies, have inherent cytotoxicity towards targeted malignant cells, and be more cost-effective to produce.
Does your company already generate revenue? If so, how much? Are you cash flow positive?
We do not generate revenue and 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?
Our target market is men with prostate cancer. This market is presently worth $5billion per year. We think we can capture 50% of this market.
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?
We will use the money to hire additional personnel, achieve scientific milestones, and secure additional intellectual property. We can have a CytotoxamerTM through Phase I clinical trials within three years. At that point, we would be an attractive candidate for merger/acquisition with a large pharmaceutical company.
What do you want from an investor other than money?
We need expertise in pre-clinical drug development and early stage clinical trials. We need management expertise in running a R&D operation cost-effectively.
Why will investors be impressed with your management team? Include a brief background about key executives. Our company is currently based in academia (at WFUSM).
I think investors will be impressed with what we have been able to achieve in academia and will be re-assured that we know we need to develop a dedicated management team.
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?
The most likely exit strategy is merger or acquisition. Some sort of arrangement with a large pharmaceutical company will be required to complete product development and capture substantial market share.