Tech Coast Angels (TCA) and MatriSys Bioscience (MatriSys Bio) today announced the completion of their $1.5 million convertible note financing round. MatriSys is developing and commercializing a novel class of live biologic therapeutics targeting major skin and dermatologic conditions that affect more than 230 million people worldwide. Recent pioneering advances in skin microbiome research, led by Professor Richard Gallo of UCSD, have resulted in a new understanding of the beneficial relationships that exist between skin microbes and health. By building on these discoveries, MatriSys is producing live biological therapeutics (LBTs) that rebalance the normal mix of bacterial species present on the skin by expanding the beneficial ‘good’ microbes and selectively removing the damaging or pathogenic species – “bad bugs.”
MatriSys sees commercialization paths for its intellectual property in topical dermatology therapeutics, cosmetics, and skin care. The company’s lead live biologic therapeutic is currently in Phase I/II clinical trials targeting atopic dermatitis (commonly referred to as AD or eczema) patients.
“In the past, there have been very few options for a patient suffering from AD,” said Mark S. Wilson, CEO of MatriSys. “The choices were to take an antibacterial therapy that removed all the bacteria– both good and bad– from the skin, or to take something that suppresses the patient’s immune system. Neither of these is particularly good as depletion of good bacteria can create an environment where pathogens can multiply, causing more imbalance and infection. What our technology does is selectively remove the bad bugs by application of ‘good bugs’ to re-balance the skin condition.”
“Our investment in MatriSys is a terrific example of TCA’s focus to support local, exceptional early-stage companies that are leveraging new technology to confront key health concerns,” said Jeff Friedman, MD, PhD, deal lead and head of TCA’s life sciences committee. “MatriSys’ core technology is derived from cutting edge research from Dr. Richard Gallo’s group at UCSD. To move from the lab to clinical testing so rapidly indicates this is a highly promising technology. TCA is excited to support development of novel live biologic therapeutics. We think the concept of using good bugs to fight bad bugs will positively impact a lot of patients.”
Friedman will join the board of MatriSys and will help the company with business development, counsel, and assist with subsequent financing. This round of funding will be used to support and accelerate clinical trials for atopic dermatitis and continue preclinical work to support MatriSys’ growing pipeline of live biologic therapeutics for additional clinical indications.
“We are excited to move forward with our clinical trials and the funding round will allow us to continue our work in this breakthrough technology,” concluded Wilson.
Innovative Microscope Maker Closes Angel Network’s Largest Deal for 2016; Wins TCA San Diego’s Quick Pitch Award; Looks Forward to 2017
IRVINE, Calif. and SAN DIEGO – December 21, 2016 – San Diego-based Echo Laboratories recently completed its first phase of funding with a $2 million funding round in fewer than 60 days, headed by Tech Coast Angels’ (TCA) San Diego network. Although originally estimated at $500K, the ceiling was raised with an increased momentum in the life sciences investor community, spearheaded by TCA deal leads, Annie Mak and Dean Rosenberg. The funding amount was the largest in TCA’s 2016 portfolio of deals.
The company’s microscope, Revolve, is revolutionizing microscopy, integrating the functionality of an upright and an inverted microscope with tablet and cloud-based technologies.
“As a scientist who has 20 years of experience and goes through all the learning curves of cutting edge technologies, it was exciting for me to see Echo Labs challenging the status quo of microscopy and bringing in advanced usability of the 21st century,” said Annie Mak, co-deal lead investor for TCA. “Revolve is user-friendly and very intuitive, so scientists can just focus on the biology under the lenses rather than the technicalities of operating a microscope.”
“What was so gratifying for us is that some of the TCA members who are also leaders in the San Diego life science community clearly understood our product and need in the marketplace. They shared their insight and enthusiasm with other biotech investors which led to a huge amount of momentum,” said Eugene Cho, CEO of Echo Labs.
Dean Rosenberg, co-lead investor for TCA added, “Most early stage investors are taught to bet on the jockey (the founder or CEO), not the horse (the product). With Echo Laboratories we got both. Eugene is a very talented and innovative leader who has built a great team. And he has also built a product that has inspired customers and has caused our life sciences members to say, ‘I want that microscope!’”
Echo Labs recently won TCA San Diego’s Quick Pitch contest, beating out 146 other competitors for the $15,000 first-place prize. The company’s microscope was not only the judges’ favorite; it also won over a diverse 500-member audience that included seasoned investors and even elementary school children.
Jeff Friedman, MD, PhD and chair of TCA’s life science committee, stated after the Quick Pitch event, “As a physician/scientist who has worked with and purchased microscopes for laboratory research, I never ever thought that a microscope could be cool. I was astounded by Revolve. Echo Labs has created a capable, cost-effective machine that has the potential to disrupt the microscope market.”
Echo Labs also received a Most Innovative Product award in Life Science Diagnostics and Research Tools from Connect, a San Diego non-profit that supports entrepreneurship, earlier this month.
“From an investment perspective, Echo Labs checks all of the boxes that we typically look for in an early stage financing,” continued Rosenberg. “In addition, they transformed a sleepy product category into something very cool, and it’s been fun to work with Eugene and his team to raise their $2M financing.”
“2016 has been a thrilling year for us–to say the least,” continued Cho. “And we look forward to facing exciting challenges in 2017: we received an international order that doubled our expected revenue which we will be fulfilling, and we will need to scale up to meet demand in sales, production and in R&D while continuing to ensure product excellence. We’re also currently working on a higher end platform for Pharma/Academia, and an entry level system for the STEM marketplace.”
For more information on Echo Laboratories, please visit www.echo-labs.com