Pappas Capital and Wake Forest Innovations Announce First Investments by the Catalyst Fund

Six novel technologies to receive combined $595,000 to fund early-stage development

Jan 11, 2017, 10:00 ET from Wake Forest Innovations

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., Jan. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pappas Capital and Wake Forest Innovations today announced the first technologies to receive initial investment from the Catalyst Fund, the $15 million technology development program established by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in October 2015.

Six early-stage novel technologies, all invented at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and being developed through Wake Forest Innovations, will receive a combined $595,000 investment from the Catalyst Fund to support their initial development.

The proprietary technologies are:

  • Primary Hyperoxaluria Two orally bioavailable small molecules targeting a novel metabolic pathway with the potential to prevent and treat recurrent kidney stones in a rare genetic disorder that often requires kidney and liver transplantation. Inventor: William T. Lowther, PhD.
  • Mechanical Tissue Resuscitation – Invented by the originators of the successful V.A.C.® technology, Mechanical Tissue Resuscitation applies a novel negative-pressure approach to heal and preserve vital tissue in the heart, brain and spinal cord that has been compromised or injured. Inventors: Louis Argenta, MD and Michael Morykwas, PhD.
  • KPC34 – An orally active, small molecule orphan disease therapeutic with a novel dual mechanism of action for the treatment of blood and other cancers that overcomes common cancer resistance mechanisms. Inventor: Gregory Kucera, PhD. Innovator: Timothy Pardee, MD, PhD.
  • eCOMPASS – An Electronic Health Record-integrated electronic application for chronic medical conditions, like stroke, that allows health care providers to generate patient-centered care plans based on social and functional determinants of the individual's health at the point of care. Lead Inventor: Pamela Duncan, PhD, PT. Research team: Cheryl Bushnell MD, MHS; Allison Brashear, MD, MBA; Scott Rushing, BS; Ralph D'Agostino Jr., PhD.
  • Fix8 non-migrating stent – A non-migrating stent that uses anchoring hooks to secure the device in a desired location to avoid unwanted migration, promising to improve patient outcomes in a number of clinical applications including colorectal, biliary, ureteral diversion, pancreatic duct, and bariatric surgery. Inventors: Clifford Howard, MD; Philip Brown, MS, PhD.

Each project will receive initial support from the Catalyst Fund of between $50,000 to $150,000 to help advance the technology to the next stage of development. Pappas Capital's Peter Young, the Program Manager of the Catalyst Fund, said the program expects to support up to 25 early-stage technologies at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center over the next three to five years.

"This inaugural round of project funding launches a new and innovative way of developing life science technologies within an academic medical center," said Young. "One of the Catalyst Fund's most significant and exciting points of differentiation from other early-stage development approaches is its flexibility to continue investing in promising technologies to maximize their impact and value."

The Center for Technology Innovation & Commercialization, part of Wake Forest Innovations, works with faculty and staff at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center to help move product ideas through the various stages of technology evaluation, development and commercialization. Services provided include patent protection, market analysis as well as preclinical and clinical development, all culminating in the potential licensing of technologies to industry, including startups. The Center handles all proprietary technologies of the Medical Center, including therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics, medical devices and digital health technologies.

"The goal of the Catalyst Fund is to maximize the clinical impact and value of new technologies invented at the Medical Center, make them attractive to industry and medical practice, and build awareness of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and Winston-Salem as a high-profile hub for life science innovation," said Jeff Brennan, vice president, technology innovation & commercialization, Wake Forest Innovations. "It is designed to attract both interest in our technologies and direct participation in their development by industry and community partners.  We are extremely excited to begin putting the Catalyst Fund to work."

About Pappas Capital
Since 1994, Pappas Capital has been investing in and nurturing promising companies, products, technologies, ventures and other significant entrepreneurial opportunities. Through its Pappas Ventures business unit, it manages a family of life science venture capital funds, whose more than 60 portfolio companies across the United States and Canada have included Afferent (2016 M&A), Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical (2014 IPO), Chimerix (2013 IPO), TESARO (2012 IPO) and Plexxikon (2011 M&A). In 2014 Pappas Capital launched a new specialized fund management initiative, which includes a strategic collaboration with Chiesi Group that focuses on investing in rare disease opportunities. Its recently-announced relationship with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center further places Pappas Capital at the nexus between researchers, university tech transfer offices, pharmaceutical companies, and disease-focused philanthropic organizations – a unique vantage point from which the firm is positioned to help select, guide, and manage academic-based translational product candidates to early development milestones that will attract private investment or industry interest. Pappas Capital also supports philanthropic interests in the realms of life sciences, public education and entrepreneurial endeavors.

About Wake Forest Innovations – Wake Forest Innovations improves health through collaborative innovation between industry and the faculty and staff of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. We accomplish this through our three centers: the Center for Technology Innovation & Commercialization, which accelerates the development and commercialization of inventions; the Center for Industry Research Collaboration, which expedites access to specialized clinical and research capabilities; and the Center for Applied Learning, which promotes best clinical practices through experiential training. (


SOURCE Wake Forest Innovations