Company name: Marval Biosciences Inc.
Location: San Diego, California and Houston, Texas.
Solution/product: This preclinical company is developing contrast agents for X-ray and computing tomography imaging, with technology licensed from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Its lead candidate, NCTX, will initially target cardiovascular imaging. It’s a reformulation of a conventional iodine-based contrast agent that’s encapsulated in a lipid bilayer nanoparticle. “You end up with a product that performs much better in safety and efficacy,” said CEO Russell Lebovitz. In preclinical models, it’s shown an extended half-life, he said, which means it could potentially reduce the need for repeated contrast agent injections. “It’s also changing something with significant toxicity to the kidney and moving it away from the kidney,” Lebovitz said, making it potentially useful for patients who are at risk for acute renal failure.
Money raised: $2.5 million of up to $30 million, according to a recent U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Marval received a $1.4 million series A as well as SBIR phase 2 funding from the National Institutes of Health, according to the UT Health Science Center Office of Technology Management.
How it will be used: “We have some new financing to allow us to finish preclinical work and move into clinical development,” Lebovitz said.
Investors: Previous investors include DFJ Frontier and DFJ Mercury
Management team: CEO Russell Lebovitz worked in research for 15 years before transitioning to industry, managing projects for companies including Nextel, Johnson & Johnson, Compaq and JPMorganChase. He’s also a partner at DFJ Mercury. Chief financial officer Christopher McCord is a principal at Healthcare Growth Partners and a former consultant with DFJ Mercury Capital.
Market size: The global diagnostic imaging market is expected to grow 4 percent annually through 2016, according to a MarketsandMarkets report, with X-ray constituting one-third of the market, followed by ultrasound (21 percent) and CT scan (19.5 percent).
Competitors: GE Healthcare, InfraReDX, Lantheus Medical Imaging.
[Photo from Marval Biosciences]