Slater-Backed Biomedical Company Secures $750,000 in Funding, Appoints Slater Venture Partner to Board of Directors
Providence, R.I., September 5, 2012 — The Slater Technology Fund today announced that ProThera Biologics, a biomedical company spun out of the research labs of Lifespan, has obtained $750,000 in new funding. Comprising a $500,000 grant awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as part of the federal government’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and $250,000 in equity investment from Slater, the funding comes as the company prepares to scale up development of its inter-alpha inhibitor proteins (IAIP) for both biodefense and clinical programs. In connection with the equity investment, ProThera has appointed Slater venture partner Scott Schorer to its board of directors.
ProThera was co-founded in 2002 by Yow-Pin Lim, M.D., Ph.D., and Douglas Hixson, Ph.D., both biomedical researchers at Lifespan/Rhode Island Hospital with academic appointments at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University. The company has developed a proprietary technology that uses naturally occurring serine protease inhibitors to treat life-threatening conditions, both in biodefense applications such as anthrax intoxication as well as a wide range of clinical indications resulting from infection and severe systemic inflammation. Started with a $100,000 research grant from Slater, followed by a $500,000 milestone-based funding commitment in 2008, ProThera has raised in excess of $7 million in grant funding from various federal and state-based grant funding sources.
ProThera’s $500,000 Phase I SBIR grant will support the development of a point-of-care rapid test to measure IAIP levels in blood for threatening diseases such as sepsis and necrotizing enterocolitis. The $250,000 equity investment represents the most recent advance under Slater’s milestone-based funding commitment.
Scott Schorer, the Slater venture partner tapped to join ProThera’s board of directors, is a seasoned healthcare executive and entrepreneur with a track record of building successful companies. Schorer most recently served as President of the Americas at Systagenix Wound Management, a private equity-backed buy-out from Johnson & Johnson. Previously, he was president and CEO of Innovative Spinal Technologies Inc., a venture-backed medical device company. Mr. Schorer also co-founded CentriMed, a healthcare-focused e-commerce exchange, where he served as CEO until the company was acquired in September of 2000 by Global Healthcare Exchange. From 1991 through 1996, he served in the U.S. Army Infantry, 82nd Airborne. Mr. Schorer is a 1990 graduate of Dartmouth College with a degree in engineering from the Thayer School at Dartmouth.
“ProThera’s technologies represent an entirely unique approach to treating systemic inflammation and hold enormous promise for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of serious and life-threatening conditions,” said Scott Schorer. “It is an exciting time to get involved with the company as we position ourselves to address attractive opportunities in the biodefense sector and as we expand our partnering activities in clinical medicine.”
“The leadership, caliber and experience that Scott brings to ProThera will be invaluable as the company takes its development programs to scale,” said Richard G. Horan, senior managing director of Slater and chairman of the board at ProThera. “Opportunities in the defense sector present the most immediate challenge, but partnering opportunities in clinical medicine look to be equally promising. Scott is ideally suited to the tasks we face. We’re fortunate to have him on board.”
About Slater Technology Fund
The Slater Technology Fund is an independently chartered, non-profit corporation that operates in accord with best practices of venture capital investing, backing new ventures committed to basing and building businesses in Rhode Island. Leveraging state and federal funding, Slater focuses its resources on the support of entrepreneurs who have the vision, leadership and commitment to build substantial commercial enterprises. Slater typically invests at the inception stage in the development of a new venture, often based upon ideas and technologies originating in academic institutions and/or government research laboratories located within the region. In most cases, investments are premised upon the possibility of raising substantial follow-on financing, from venture capital investors or from strategic partners, with a view toward accelerating the generation of significant numbers of high-value, high-wage jobs over the intermediate to longer-term. For more information, visit www.slaterfund.com.