Additional investments allow EternoGen to enter the commercialization phase
COLUMBIA, Mo.— Just 18 months ago, University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe announced the university’s decision to fund a new medical device company and University of Missouri startup, EternoGen, LLC., up to $200,000 through its Enterprise Investment Program. Since that initial funding, EternoGen has successfully attracted an additional $1.485 million and today announced its plans to enter the commercialization phase.
“The ability to leverage funds from external sources is what validates the importance of initiatives like EIP at the university,” Wolfe said. “EternoGen’s success is a strong example of the investments we should be making to grow our research and spur economic growth in the state.”
In its second round of funding, EternoGen obtained $1.065 million. These contributions include $375,000 from the Missouri Technology Corporation, a $350,000 co-investment from EIP and the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, $218,000 from Centennial Investors, $72,000 from company managers and founders, and most recently $50,000 from Arch Grants.
"CAFNR is pleased to support this unique, entrepreneurial faculty, staff and student startup company, and to have the contributed, discretionary funding to make the investment possible,” CAFNR Dean Tom Payne said. “We appreciate the support both of MU and the UM System in this CAFNR venture.”
Upon receipt of its Arch Grant, EternoGen will open an operations office in St. Louis at the Center for Emerging Technologies (CET). At CET, EternoGen aims to establish manufacturing capabilities and partnerships for commercial scale production in the region. Additionally, EternoGen has opened a commercialization office in Stockholm, Sweden that is managed by Chairman of the Board and Chief Technology Officer Anna Tenstam Lundvall. Sweden is well known for developing global brands in the healthcare industry, specifically in the area of aesthetics. From this location, the company will develop the next phase of clinical development and marketing.
EternoGen was founded based on the discovery of a regenerative medical platform utilizing gold nanoparticles to stabilize collagen by MU Biological Engineering Professor Dr. Sheila Grant. The company plans to keep its incubator space at MU for further research and development as well as production for clinical and preclinical studies and collaborations with the MU Bio-Engineering department.
“The financing has significantly exceeded our expectations which we feel is an indication of our company’s progress this year and the potential for our future,” EternoGen President and CEO Luis Jimenez said. “We look forward to expanding our business and commercializing our technologies internationally. We believe our regenerative approach to skin-aging will expand the entire aesthetic industry.”
Jimenez graduated from the Crosby MBA program at MU, and while he was a student helped create Collaboration, Leadership and Innovation for Missouri (CLIMB), a student organization that links entrepreneurial thinkers with people who have the experience and resources to make those ideas a reality. During the process, he met the founders of EternoGen and eventually became CEO of the company.
“This is a prime example of what can happen when aspiring young minds come in contact with others who can inspire and motivate as well as fund their ideas and aspirations,” MU Chancellor Brady Deaton said. “As a result of these collaborations and with these additional funds, this company can move forward and in the process contribute economically to the state.”
EternoGen will use the proceeds from its current round of financing to conduct human studies as the first step to commercialization in Europe and Asia as early as 2014 followed by the US. The company plans to start their next round of fundraising in July and plans to leverage partnerships with the venture capital and bio-tech communities surrounding its new offices in St. Louis and Sweden, while continuing collaborations with the university.
About the UM System Enterprise Investment Program
Established in 2010, EIP was designed to help move innovations from the system’s four campuses to the marketplace by funding startups in Missouri and creating jobs. This early-stage funding source helps companies accelerate company development and attract follow-on angel or capital investment.
About EternoGen, LLC.
Based in Columbia, Mo., EternoGen is a medical bio-tech company with a focus on designing and manufacturing novel collagen replenishment therapies for soft tissue therapeutic applications. EternoGen is a research and development company that specializes in clinical market evaluation, material science, and biological engineering to execute its clinical development model. The mission of the company is to provide superior collagen-based products for a variety of minimally invasive surgical applications by leveraging expertise in applied nanotechnology and soft tissue engineering. For more information, visit www.eternogen.com.