The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center awarded $1.5 million in loans to local startups Wednesday, including a maximum credit to a company using silk proteins to preserve vaccines for global shipping without the need for cold storage.
The center, a quasi-public agency, loaned $1 million to Vaxess Technologies, developer of the vaccine preservation system. That’s the most a single business can receive under the Accelerator Loan Program, which aims to help promising life science companies speed up their development.
I met the Vaxess team in September and was impressed by their blend of innovation and humanitarianism. Consider that curable diseases still ravage remote parts of the world simply because it is difficult for aid groups to keep vaccines refrigerated in the field. Preserving immunizations with silk proteins, as Vaxess aims to do, could solve that problem.
“We’re thrilled and honored to receive the award,” chief executive Michael Schrader wrote in an e-mail. “The $1 million Accelerator loan will enable Vaxess to grow the company’s internal R&D capabilities and deliver heat-stable vaccines to patients around the world even sooner.”
Vaxess also was among the first group of life science companies accepted to the new LabCentral shared workspace, which opened in Cambridge last month, and was a finalist in this year in the “startup to watch” category of the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council Awards.
It’s been a good year for this group from Harvard.
A second company, Guided Surgery Solutions of Wellesley, picked up a $520,000 loan on Wednesday. Guided Surgery is developing a three-dimensional imaging device to help dentists drill and place implants more accurately.
As someone with two fake teeth that will likely need to be replaced at some point, I’d like to thank the MLSC for investing in a business that could spare me some pain.
The new loans bring the Accelerator program’s totals to 25 companies and $16.2 million since 2009. The program reports that previous loans already have added $105 million in equity or acquisition proceeds to their recipients.