ST. LOUIS NEWS TODAY -
Missouri Increases Investment in St. Louis Start-ups
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), July 24, 2016 - Governor Jay Nixon highlighted Missouri's increased investment in start-up companies and the dividends that investment is paying for Missourians and the economy during a recent visit to BioGenerator Accelerator Labs, which provides access to collaborative lab and state-of-the-art equipment for start-ups.
In his remarks, Governor Nixon said, "The work underway here in St. Louis and across the state demonstrates our full commitment to launching start-ups, and is a big part of the reason Missouri is leading the nation in new business creation. With strategic investments through the Missouri Technology Corporation, the State of Missouri is proud to partner with small businesses and entrepreneurs to continue growing our economy and creating new jobs."
Under Gov. Nixon's leadership, the Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC) has awarded more than $58 million, including $40 million for high tech startups and $18 million for entities like BioGenerator to facilitate start-ups. This funding has helped those start-up companies leverage hundreds of millions of dollars in private capital to commercialize their products and services, create hundreds of jobs and grow.
BioGenerator Accelerator Labs was constructed in 2010 with $520,000 in funding in-part through MTC, which provided an additional $300,000 grant in 2013 to support the expansion to its current footprint. BioGenerator has invested about $11.2 million into 60 companies which, in turn, have leveraged over $300 million in co-investments and follow-on financing. Today, more than 50 firms use the lab and services of the accelerator.
Among the innovative firms located at the Labs and visited by the Governor is Kypha, a start-up company commercializing novel blood tests to improve the way patients with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases are monitored and treated. Kypha located to Missouri in 2010 with a $225,000 loan from MTC. In 2016, Kypha received an additional $350,000 MTC co-investment to support advancing its first two tests through FDA clearance and commercial launch.
"The startup scene in this region speaks for itself," said Chad Stiening, CEO of Kypha. "Five years ago when we decided to open our company here, there was a strong foundation in place, but you had to dig your heels in to really appreciate the movement that was underfoot in the innovation and startup space. Today, it's obvious and it's everywhere. The groups that started seeding this movement 10 and 15 years ago and helped to sustain the momentum thereafter deserve a lot of credit."
Gov. Nixon also visited Confluence Life Sciences, an MTC portfolio company founded by scientists previously with Pfizer. Confluence is working to develop new medicines for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. MTC has made six co-investments in Confluence totaling nearly $1.5 million.
Operating out of its own space in St. Peters after outgrowing the BioGenerator Accelerator Labs, Adarza BioSystems officials also participated in the event. Hailing from Rochester N.Y., the medical diagnostic company expanded to St. Louis after attracting investments from the BioGenerator, as well as three investments from MTC totaling $1.2 million. The company is developing a rapid biological assay platform for measuring clinical samples. Its next-generation multiplex immunoassay product addresses many commercial applications, including disease biomarkers, personalized medicine, drug and vaccine development, allergy, immunology, and infectious diseases research.
In the last year alone, several MTC portfolio companies have raised significant follow-on investments. MediBeacon, a startup based in St. Louis, raised $22.4 million in 2015 from a Virginia-based publicly traded company to bring its kidney monitoring device to market. Also in 2015, Vasculox, a St. Louis-based pharmaceutical discovery startup, raised part of a planned $45 million financing round from a group of investors. Earlier this year, Pulse Therapeutics, a St. Louis-based medical device startup, raised approximately $10 million from a group of investors led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm NanoDimension.
"By providing a strong foundation for companies to grow, we are staking a claim in the innovation industry," said Bill Anderson, Executive Director of MTC. "We've seen some robust growth in Missouri's entrepreneurial ecosystem, where capital and opportunities are increasing. These efforts are leading to high-tech job creation and bolstering Missouri's reputation as the place where businesses can hit the ground running."
Some of MTC's successes include EW Scripps' acquisition of Columbia-based media startup Newsy for $35 million; and Battery Ventures' $9 million investment in Gainsight of St. Louis (formerly JBara Software) which provided an exit event for early investors including MTC.
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