Bioscience companies up to 7 years old can now apply for state funding that was formerly available only to younger companies.
BioInnovation Connecticut, managed by Connecticut Innovations, a state financing entity, invests in bioscience companies to speed the path to commercialization through its CT Bioscience Innovation Fund. Until July 1, only companies 3 years old and younger were eligible to apply, said Margaret Cartiera, vice president and fund manager for BioInnovation CT.
Legislators took a second look at the age requirement because bioscience companies often take more time to develop, she said. In their first few years, many companies are setting up their team, filing for intellectual property, reviewing the market and doing preclinical work, Cartiera said. She said seven years is a better demarcation to define an early-stage bioscience company.
“The way science occurs, it could take some time,” she said.
The fund, started in January 2014, was allocated $200 million by the state to spend over 10 years, investing up to $500,000 each in early-stage nonprofit corporations, accredited colleges and universities and for-profit startups and early-stage businesses that benefit human health. These include companies developing therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices as well as health care IT or software, Cartiera said.
The goals of the fund are to stimulate economic development, create jobs and companies in the state and for BioInnovation CT to make an economic return to reinvest in other companies. The fund is also available to bioscience companies that plan to move to Connecticut.
“We’re de-risking the opportunity for later-stage investors,” Cartiera said. “We’re helping companies progress to a point where later they could attract those much larger dollars.”
Four companies have been funded so far, and two more have recently been accepted, she said. Three of the funded companies have delivered milestone updates, Cartiera said. BioInnovation CT can offer follow-on funding if a company is performing well and demonstrates the need for more money, she said.
BioInnovation CT also has a regenerative medicine fund operating on $10 million through 2019. Companies of any age are eligible.
Cartiera said the bioscience industry is growing, and she sees the most activity in the New Haven/Branford area, near Yale University, and the Farmington area, near University of Connecticut Health Center. She said she hopes people from more areas of the state apply for funding.
For more information about BioInnovation Connecticut, visit bioinnovationct.com.