Using a fundraising approach seldom seen in the life sciences sector, Batu Biologics, an immunotherapy company working to develop the first anti-angiogenic cancer vaccine, has successfully raised $100,000 through crowdfunding giant, Indiegogo.
Batu Biologics launched the crowdfunding campaign in June 2014 to fund the completion of preclinical studies to support the FDA submission of its flagship immune therapy, ValloVax. This therapy is a lung cancer vaccine that stimulates an immune response specifically against the tumor associated blood vessels.
“Batu Biologics would like to thank the generous donors to the campaign,” said Samuel Wagner, President and Chief Executive Officer of Batu Biologics. “As a life science company, attempting a donation-based crowdfunding effort was a risky proposition. However, the success of this campaign is testament to the public enthusiasm for the significant steps in this company’s development of our non-toxic biological therapeutics. We are committed to maximizing progress with the funds that have been donated by our loyal supporters.”
Batu Biologics is working under an aggressive timeline for the development and approval of its drug and plans to submit an Investigational New Drug application to the FDA in the first quarter of 2015.
Wagner reports a positive experience with the crowdfunding approach and knows others will follow. “A new generation of entrepreneurs are taking ownership and looking for alternative strategies to successfully grow their companies without losing ownership share. We are trying to build this business, hold onto our intellectual property, and counter the traditional way things are done in the biotech sector.”
In addition to Wagner, Batu Biologics is led by industry veteran and cell therapy expert Thomas Ichim Ph.D., Executive Chairman; Chief Scientific Officer, Hong Ma M.D. Ph.D., who provides oversight for both research and development as well as business strategy; Chief Operating Officer Dimitri N. Theofilopoulos, J.D., in house legal counsel; Alan J. Lewis, Ph.D., Cofounder and Board Member; and Vice President of Scientific Research Andy Kim, a fellow UCSD alum and expert in bioinformatics.
“We have a small team of dedicated individuals who are committed to moving ValloVax™ closer to becoming a promising option for those suffering from lung cancer,” Wagner said. “This motivation, combined with the rapid advancement of technology to evaluate a patient’s immune response, will allow Batu Biologics to swiftly move to the forefront of innovative cancer treatments that improve patients’ quality of life.”
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