LifeX Holdings, LLC will receive a $1 million grant from the state’s Angel Investment Venture Capital Program (Program), according to Senate Majority Appropriations Committee Chairman Pat Browne (R-Lehigh), who developed the Program in coordination with the Governor’s office and the Office of the Budget.
The Program, which Senator Browne crafted that was included in Act 24 of 2021 (the state Fiscal Code), was established to create a business environment that attracts and encourages early-stage financing for businesses located in Pennsylvania.
“LifeX is grateful for receiving this award, which enables us to continue building out all facets of our commercialization model de-risking early-stage life science companies from inception across the entire commercialization process,” Jerry Vardzel, President and CEO of LifeX, said. “LifeX’s expertise as an extension of a portfolio company’s team will now be further enhanced by allowing LifeX to assist with providing the necessary early-stage risk capital these young companies require to achieve commercial success – one of the main missing pieces in our ecosystem’s growth. We are thankful to Senator Browne and the Commonwealth for their support empowering LifeX to make an even more meaningful impact on the life science community in Pennsylvania.”
The goal of the Program is that these businesses, which have the potential for high growth, are going to increase capital investment in the Commonwealth and encourage job creation in Pennsylvania by making investments in Pennsylvania-based companies that focus on commercializing research and development, technology transfers, or the application of new technologies.
“I am pleased to work with Governor Tom Wolf to establish this Program and provide this funding to these Angel Investors who have made a commitment to provide funding or resources to help startup businesses get established in the Commonwealth, create jobs and contribute to the state’s economy,” Senator Browne said. “This program recognizes the challenges that new businesses and industries often face with significant startup costs, lack of resources, expertise and physical space to flourish. Given those challenges, this program will help stimulate growth in Pennsylvania through this type of venture between investors, startups and the Commonwealth.”
LifeX Holdings, LLC is the Angel Investor with the goal of de-risking the commercialization and growth of early-stage companies by providing critical resources and guidance.
LifeX Ventures, LLC is the Qualified Business Venture (QBV) which was formed to provide early-stage funding for transformational life sciences startups in Western Pennsylvania to accelerate their progress by providing seed capital to support them at their most critical stages of commercial development and growth.
The LifeX entities are designed to work together to increase the likelihood of success for portfolio companies.
“This funding, which instantly strengthens LifeX’s capacity to seed new companies and innovations, advances the state’s efforts to become a leading life sciences hub,” University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said. “To Governor Wolf, Senator Pat Browne and all the leaders in Harrisburg who are working to put the right pieces in place to transform Pennsylvania into a powerful life sciences engine: Thank you. We are grateful for this funding and excited for the opportunities ahead.”
LifeX and its affiliates provide a group of startup experts from across the country who provide guidance on a wide range of matters including product development, business operations, governance, investment planning, legal, and strategic marketing, to name a few. It has clear investment criteria and a defined selection process for funding. Qualifying technologies include devices, therapeutics, diagnostics, software, and combination products.
Currently there are twelve companies in their portfolio that they are guiding through the startup process.
“LifeX and the University of Pittsburgh have developed a tremendous partnership with a goal of providing early-stage funding for Western Pennsylvania life science companies,” Senator Browne said. “I am pleased to provide state funding to help them in their mission, which aligns perfectly with the goals of the Angel Investment Venture Capital Program and the efforts to grow businesses in and attract businesses to Pennsylvania.”
LifeX Holdings, LLC was one of six Angel Investors receiving grants through the $5 million Angel Investment Venture Capital Program that will support 12 Qualified Business Ventures.
An Angel Investor is a person or entity that makes qualified investments, either a payment of money or its equivalent, for a private equity interest in a Qualified Business Venture (QBV).
A Qualified Business Venture (QBV) is a business that:
(1) Is primarily focused on commercializing research and development, technology transfers, or the application of new technology;
(2) Has at least 51% of its employees employed in this Commonwealth at the time the angel investor or QBV applies for a qualified investment;
(3) Has fewer than 100 employees at the time the angel investor or QBV applies for a qualified investment;
(4) Has operated in a physical location within this Commonwealth for not more than five consecutive years at the time the application is submitted;
(5) At the time of application for a qualified investment, has not received more than $2,000,000, in the aggregate, in private equity investments of which not more than $1,000,000 was invested by a single investor; and,
(6) Is not engaged in a business involving real estate, real estate development, insurance, professional services provided by an accountant, a lawyer, or a physician or retail sales, except when the primary purpose of the business is the development or support of electronic commerce using the Internet.
The Program is administered by the Office of the Budget on behalf of the Executive Offices of the Governor.
Other Angel Investors include Baruch S. Blumberg Institute, Blue Daffodil Investments, LLC in Chester County, Bucks County Industrial Development Authority in Bucks County, Nissen Isakov in Delaware County and Shanken Investments, LLC in Chester County.
Other Qualified Business Ventures include Cirna Diagnostics LLC, Harlingene Life Sciences, MERLIN Biotech, Naturaz Inc., Pentrávalent LLC, Pippy Sips, LLC, Pression, LLC, RimmSting Life Sciences, Safisto, LLC d.b.a Hydring, EmpathED, and SAIL Fusion, LLC.