Georgia Tech startups leading the way

In January 2016, Google Capital led a $75 million funding round for Pindrop Security, a Georgia Tech spinout. In June, another Georgia Tech spinout, Clearside Biomedical, focused on drug delivery, went public and raised $60 million. VentureLab is proud to be part of the innovation success ecosystem, which brings business experience, funding, and people together to create startups based on Georgia Tech research.

To understand how these large successes happen, here is Clearside’s story: Mark Prausnitz received his doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a Georgia Tech Regents Professor, has a large lab filled with researchers and is credited with more than 30 patents. He runs Georgia Tech’s Laboratory for Drug Delivery. To quote his lab’s website:

“Dr. Prausnitz and his colleagues carry out research on biophysical methods of drug delivery, which employ microneedles, ultrasound, lasers, electric fields, heat, convective forces and other physical means to control the transport of drugs, proteins, genes and vaccines into and within the body.”

Prausnitz’ approach to drug delivery is disruptive, innovative and constantly evolving. He collaborates with researchers at Emory, the Centers for Disease Control, and major pharmaceutical companies. In one of his many collaborations he worked with the late Dr. Henry Edelhauser, former Emory Eye Center director. Together, they developed a microneedle to solve a drug delivery problem for patients who suffer from eye diseases. The challenge was to control drug doses to a small area in the back of the eye. By delivering the drug in such a targeted fashion, patient outcomes were expected to be better because of a smaller dose resulting in fewer adverse side effects.

VentureLab worked with Prausnitz and Dr. Edelhauser to arrange a series of Georgia Research Alliance commercialization grants in 2010 and 2011. When the technology proved capable in laboratory tests, VentureLab then helped identify CEO Dan White in 2011 and with his leadership, Hatteras Ventures invested $4mm in founding equity. The IPO came 5 years later. More innovations for a variety of diseases are expected from Clearside.

Future or current entrepreneurs, researchers and business leaders are welcome to become part of this Georgia Tech VentureLab process. Please reach out to any of our Principals at info@venturelab.gatech.edu or http://venturelab.gatech.edu/about-us/.