Tim Curtis//October 10, 2019
//October 10, 2019
The University of Maryland BioPark and proximity to key stakeholders were two of the top reasons KaloCyte decided to move to Baltimore, its CEO said.
The company that is developing an artificial red blood cell moved to Baltimore from St. Louis last month.
“While we benefited greatly from our roots at St. Louis … as we started looking at comparing point-by-point the resources and the opportunities available with the move, it very quickly became a very easy business case to move,” said Elaine E. Haynes, KaloCyte’s CEO. “Staying behind would have just exacerbated our challenges.”
The embrace of Maryland’s startup and biotech communities has been a pleasant development for KaloCyte, but Haynes said that three factors were the main reasons KaloCyte moved to Baltimore.
First, moving to Baltimore allowed the entire KaloCyte team to work together. They had been spread across multiple research institutions, Haynes said.
But co-founder Allan Doctor formed a new research center at the University of Maryland, Baltimore: the Center Blood Oxygen Transport and Hemostasis.
The rest of the business came to Baltimore as well, bringing the entire team together. That was important at a critical time for the company, Haynes said.
“We’re so much more efficient with fixing issues that come along or making progress and really just building the team and advancing product development,” she said.
The firm also found that the resources in Baltimore and specifically at the university made the city a good place to be.
The university has access to more resources, including special equipment and facilities that can help save KaloCyte money while it is still in the research phase.
The BioPark also offers a community of people who are working on similar companies in similar areas.
“We’re delighted to be here,” Haynes said. “It’s been clear that the community is happy to have us here and is motivated to help us be successful, the university in particular.”
Baltimore’s proximity to key stakeholders, like research institutions and the government, also played a role in the move, Haynes said. Before, to have a meeting with a group like the National Institutes of Health, the company would have to plan travel well in advance.
Now, meetings are easier to schedule and there’s a chance of bumping into people from agencies at networking events.
KaloCyte has been funded to this point by a $800,000 seed funding round and $5 million grants from the NIH and the Department of Defense.
Haynes believes the company can continue to be funded mostly through those government sources but may need a bridge round soon to help cover some expenses that cannot be paid with government money. She also believes a Series A round could happen by late spring or early summer.
KaloCyte has three full-time employees now and plans to grow to six by the end of the year, mostly on the science side of the company.
The company has demonstrated proof of concept in small animal models and is working its way up to larger animals. It expects to be getting to humans in two-three years, Haynes said.
The company’s artificial red blood cells would allow for nonrefrigerated artificial blood to be used when natural blood is not available. Potential applications include use on the battlefield and in natural disasters.P