USM Maryland Momentum Fund Invests $300K in KaloCyte
University of Maryland School of Medicine faculty are developing an artificial red blood cell substitute that can potentially provide therapeutic oxygenation when whole blood or red blood cells are not available
BALTIMORE, MD. (June 8, 2020) – KaloCyte, Inc., a preclinical-stage healthcare biotechnology company developing ErythroMer™, a synthetic, bio-inspired red blood cell substitute for use in settings when stored red blood cells are not available, received a $300K investment from the University System of Maryland (USM) Momentum Fund. The Momentum Fund investment is part of a $750K to $1M target funding round with more than $600K raised to-date, including investment from a major current investor who will join KaloCyte’s board of directors.
“Blood cell substitutes have been desired for decades, given that fresh blood lasts only a few hours unrefrigerated. KaloCyte’s unique approach to engineering a blood substitute, and the team itself, is world-class. The USM is lucky to have recruited such innovative and entrepreneurial faculty as well as their startup,” said Claire Broido Johnson, managing director of the Momentum Fund. “If KaloCyte is a win, it will be a huge win.”
A University of Maryland BioPark affiliate company, KaloCyte’s focus is treating hemorrhagic shock in pre-hospital trauma when blood is not available. Designed to mimic red blood cells, ErythroMer is an artificial cell that captures oxygen from the lungs and releases it to tissues. Based on studies to-date, ErythroMer exhibits minimal toxicity and highly efficient oxygen delivery. The team is also exploring other uses including transplant organ perfusion, use as a medical countermeasure for acute radiation syndrome (ARS), and veterinary use.
“We are elated to be a recipient of the Maryland Momentum Fund as it’s a significant recognition of our progress and product development to date and provides critical funding for continuing our work,” said Elaine Haynes, president and chief executive officer of KaloCyte. “ErythroMer is truly unique – composed of purified human hemoglobin and small molecules encased within a bio-mimetic lipid polymer shell made up of the same natural building blocks found in native cells. Unlike blood, it is stored as a dried powder, without refrigeration and with a much longer shelf life, and can be quickly and easily reconstituted with sterile water for injection when needed.”
Greek for “beautiful cell,” KaloCyte was founded in 2016 by a distinguished team of researchers in physiology, bioengineering, and trauma care. Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder, Allan Doctor, MD, joined the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) in 2019, founding the School’s Center for Blood Oxygen Transport and Hemostasis (CBOTH). Dipanjan Pan, PhD, chief technical officer and co-founder, holds a joint University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) appointment. Dr. Pan leads the UMSOM CBOTH’s Nano-fabrication and Characterization Core and the UMB-UMBC joint Laboratory for Materials in Medicine (MatMed). Chief Medical Officer and Co-Founder Philip Spinella, MD, is Director of the Pediatric Critical Care Translational Research Program at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and a Professor of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine.
“It is great to see another member of UMB’s entrepreneurial community receive a Maryland Momentum Fund investment,” said James L. Hughes, senior vice president chief enterprise and economic development officer for UMB. “KaloCyte joined a vibrant biotech cluster when they relocated to Baltimore last year. Initiatives such as the Momentum Fund are valuable tools that help our companies grow.”
Greg Simmons, vice president for institutional advancement at UMBC added, “KaloCyte is an important new player in the regional innovation ecosystem. UMBC is excited to see Dr. Pan and the KaloCyte team grow and thrive in Maryland, and we are glad the Momentum Fund can play a part in their success.”
The USM Maryland Momentum Fund provides investment for promising technology ventures born out of USM’s 12 institutions. The Momentum Fund helps early stage companies move beyond grant funding and early stage seed investors to position themselves for commercial launch or to reinforce commercialization at the early revenue stage. The Momentum Fund is continuing to invest in companies affiliated with the USM despite the COVID-19 pandemic and encourages applications through the Fund website at www.momentum.usmd.edu.
About the USM Momentum Fund
The Maryland Momentum Fund is an initiative of the University System of Maryland (USM) to provide late seed investment funding for promising technology ventures that come out of any of the 12 constituent USM institutions, its research parks, and its students, faculty, or graduates. With a $10M commitment from the USM already in place, the Fund co-invests with venture capitalists, foundations, and angel investors.
The Maryland Momentum Fund, which was established by the USM Board of Regents to support promising commercial opportunities arising from advances in research and intellectual property at USM campuses, has invested in 15 startups to date: MF Fire, NextStep Robotics, the North American Wave Engine Corporation, Zest Tea, PaverGuide, Retrium, Veralox Therapeutics, Gemstone Biotherapeutics, Neoprogen, Minnowtech, ARMR Systems, Infercabuary, Datakwip, pathOtrak, and KaloCyte. The Fund is designed to create returns and support USM’s most innovative ideas as they enter the marketplace. Learn more at www.momentum.usmd.edu.
KaloCyte, a preclinical-stage healthcare biotechnology company, was founded by a distinguished team of researchers in physiology, bioengineering, and trauma care. The company is poised to deliver ErythroMer™, a freeze-dried, bio-inspired synthetic red blood cell, to market, with the expectation of starting human trials in two to three years. ErythroMer is envisioned for use when stored red blood cells are unavailable, undesirable or in short supply. KaloCyte, supported by nearly $7M in federal awards and investor funding, is a University of Maryland BioPark affiliate company located in Baltimore, Maryland. Learn more at www.kalocyte.com.
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Contact – KaloCyte
Contact: Mike Lurie