A local biotech startup and its 22 year old CEO — with support of local industry veterans — are trying a no-strings-attached funding model to finance their research on a potential cancer vaccine.
“If we raise money at this point in the preclinical stages, the venture capitalists or investors are going to take a large portion of our shares,” President and CEO Samuel Wagner said. “If we want to have the biggest payout for the founders, it’s really in our benefit to raise the least amount of capital in the early stages of the company.”
Batu’s new cancer vaccine is designed to target and kill blood vessels that feed tumor growth. In doing so, Batu expects white blood cells to invade the tumor site and encourage immune-based remission. Without being able to form new blood vessels, a tumor cannot grow bigger than about 1 millimeter, Wagner said, adding that tumors need those blood vessels to become malignant. “Everybody has been attacking the tumor directly,” Wagner said. “We’re choosing a different approach. … We’re trying to choke it of this blood supply.”