Sep 6, 2013, 10:31am CDT
Chad SwiateckiStaff Writer-
Austin Business Journal
Austin biotech company Pure Transplant Solutions has used crowdfunding site Indiegogo as a way to raise awareness of its antibody removal column device that it says could lead to far greater success in organ transplants.
The campaign to raise $100,000 for the under-development technology was an unconventional move for the big-dollar biotech industry, where research and development budgets climb into the tens of millions of dollars. Company officials said the effort was largely intended to draw potential investors and research partners to the technology. The drive has so far raised just over $8,000 of its $100,000 goal with four days left to go.
“The main intention of the Indiegogo project was awareness and in doing so we’ve brought attention from Donate Life (America) and other transplant organizations who are now following our progress,” said Cameron Mackie,” the company’s vice president of marketing. “Lots of interest has come from people who want to get involved beyond just contributing and want to know if we can go for an equity form of crowdfunding.”
Equity-based crowdfunding isn’t allowed by financial regulators yet but the company, which is a division of Pure Protein LLC and part of Emergent Technologies’ portfolio of companies, will need at least $10 million to begin the first phase of clinical trials by the beginning of 2015.
Gina Gento, vice president of business development, said the company is looking for partners offering in-kind services in lieu for the protein production process that needs to be completed to enter the clinical trial phase. Production of a protein typically costs $3 million to $4 million.
“We take on opportunities that give us more control with the path to market and so we’d look for interested parties that would be open to giving in-kind services for a piece of equity of the deal,” Gento said. “We can get pretty creative with how we fund this project.”
The ARC device works by removing a donor recipient’s antibodies that causes the rejection of organs that aren’t biological matches. If successful, the device will make any available organ viable for transplant into a patient in need and reduce the typical waiting time for a transplant from seven years to less than two years.
Its use will also help to lengthen the usefulness of donated organs for their recipient since all bodies eventually attack and reject transplants.
Pure Transplant hopes to sell or license the device once it is approved. Gento said using it just in kidney transplants, the most commonly transplanted organ, for the necessary three treatments would open up a market of $400 million in annual revenue, with more revenue opportunities coming as its use is expanded into other types of transplants.