VC-infused VetDC ready for next steps

A $1.5 million venture capital infusion in Fort Collins’ VetDC Inc. will help the CSU life-sciences startup pursue U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of its dog-cancer treatment.

The funding marks the first major investment in the company, which until now only had received a few hundred thousand dollars in seed money, said Steven Roy, VetDC’s president and CEO.

“We really needed to raise much bigger money to start the key manufacturing activities to advance this drug, called VDC-1101, toward approval,” said Roy, who left a career in business development and sales and marketing at Amgen to lead VetDC a couple years ago. “This phase was to really get us off the ground to start writing substantial checks on the manufacturing front primarily.”

VDC-1101 is designed to treat canine lymphoma, which accounts for 20 percent of cancer cases at CSU’s Animal Cancer Center. The treatment failed in human trials conducted by Gilead Sciences, but showed promise in trials on dogs.

VetDC acquired an exclusive license for the drug, which attacks cancer cells, from Gilead, an $8.4 billion pharmaceutical company that has already done much of the heavy lifting in terms of development.

“It allows us to move very quickly to repurpose this drug for animal use,” Roy said.

The $1.5 million came from a few angel investors, from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins, who will receive an equity stake in the company. The Rockies Venture Club helped raise a large share of the funding. They liked VetDC’s business model, which involves partnering with CSU to license drugs originally meant for humans, but instead put to use for animals.

They also recognized the value of the company’s work at CSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital, which has facilitated these kinds of drug conversions.

VetDC will use the money to put together a package showing the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine that the drug is safe and effective.

Terry Opgenorth, vice president of the university’s technology-transfer office, CSU Ventures, expects the drug will generate sales of at least $10 million annually.

“We’re expecting that this could be a quite significant veterinary drug,” he said.

If all goes well, VetDC could commercialize its drug in two years, Roy said.

“There’s nothing that’s ever been approved specifically for veterinary use for lymphoma,” he said.

UNC to offer software
engineering degree

The University of Northern Colorado will offer a Bachelor of Science in software engineering beginning next fall.

The College of Business and the College of Natural and Health Sciences/Computer Science will partner to offer the degree.

“This major is ideal for students who are detail-oriented problem-solvers and feel most at home in front of a computer,” said Don Gudmundson, dean of the Monfort College of Business.

DA2 gets 2nd round of
tech-transfer funding

DA2 Consulting will receive an additional $120,000 in the next year from the city of Loveland to aid technology companies.

The Loveland City Council earlier this month approved an extension of the city’s contract with David Lung, a 25-year veteran of the aerospace, defense and energy industries. Lung over the past year or so has connected Loveland tech companies with NASA officials as well as the government agency’s technologies.

Thirty companies participated in the original program, for which the city budgeted $150,000, with $100,000 slated for consulting services and the remaining $50,000 for city costs such as meetings, travel and marketing.

After participating in the program, many of the companies reported that they expected to create additional jobs with technologies they plan to commercialize.

In the year ahead, Lung will assist 10 technology companies, including Vergent Products, CADEKA, RoadNarrows Robotics, Numerica and Scion UAS. He also will look to work with 10 new companies.

Lung will work one-on-one with them as well as lead various workshops, including those on the Small Business Innovation Research Program, a federal contracting initiative.

Steve Lynn covers technology for the Northern Colorado Business Report. He can be reached at 970-232-3147, slynn@ncbr.com or twitter.com/SteveLynnNCBR.


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