A startup that’s aiming to develop a better means of delivering freeze-dried drugs is competing for $200,000 in venture capital funding as part of a new program designed to attract and retain young entrepreneurs in the state of Ohio.
The company has made impressive progress already and has raised $150,000 in nondilutive funding, hired a health industry veteran as CEO, won several business plan competitions and garnered some press in Fortune Magazine. Its next goals involve raising an unspecified amount of investment capital and further refining its drug delivery device, said co-founder Peter Greco, who declined to reveal the amount of venture dollars LyoGo is targeting.
LyoGo’s device offers more convenience, safety and ease of use than the current technology for preparing and injecting drugs that are freeze-dried, or lyophilized, according to Greco.
Now, freeze-dried drugs are typically stored in powder form in a glass vial. Users must inject a liquid into the vial, then mix the liquid and powder together, and draw the solution into a syringe before injecting a patient, or themselves. That can take too long and become a hindrance in emergency situations.
LyoGo’s device combines that process into one step, which automatically mixes the drug and liquid when the device’s cap is removed and prepares the mixture for injection (see video below for more details).
Greco hopes to eventually license LyoGo’s technology to a drug or medical technology company, but before that can happen the company needs to continue polishing the device’s design and begin testing it.
LyoGo (formerly known as GlucaGo) has received $20,000 as part of the 11-week ONE Fund program, which is sponsored by Ohio’s Third Frontier technology support program and Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. ONE Fund kicked off earlier this month in Columbus.
At the culmination of the 11-week competition, Columbus-based NCT Ventures has committed to invest $200,000 in the team of its choice. (Unfortunately for LyoGo, NCT doesn’t seem to have any healthcare companies in its portfolio, unless you count Embrace Pet Insurance. But maybe LyoGo can dream of being the first.) In the meantime, LyoGo will take advantage of the coaching and guidance from veteran entrepreneurs and industry experts advising the 10 teams in the ONE Fund competition.
ONE Fund’s sponsors “have put together an excellent team of mentors who have already shown their desire to be involved with our company,” said Greco, a former Purdue student, much like ex-All-Big 10 stars and future NBA draft picks JaJuan Johnson and E’twaun Moore.