Building Life Science Companies in Our Own Backyard

Several years ago, Rev1 set out to support research-based healthcare innovation with a continuum of professionally managed, organized capital. The idea was to help support and increase the throughput of life science technology from The Ohio State University (OSU) and Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH) into startup companies.

Rev1 Catalyst Fund and Rev1 NCH Fund, our first two funds focused on life science spinouts, have generated more than $450 million in exits—startups with the potential to transform the lives of thousands.

The quality and substance of the opportunity and the ability of these institutions and Rev1 to partner, spinout, and capitalize on new ventures are having an incredible impact on our region. Nearly 100 spinouts have raised over $100 million in follow-on rounds and co-investments.

Two of those companies, STAQ Pharma and Lentechs, have significant fourth-quarter news.

STAQ Pharma: State-of-the-Art Clean Room Technology, Robotics, Visionary Problem-Solving

Observing the impact that STAQ Pharma is having on the availability, doses, and quality of compounded medications for children and adults, it can be hard to believe that just a few short years ago, this exciting business was just starting up.

STAQ Pharma is a compounding pharmaceutical/contract manufacturing operation. With experienced leadership, visionary ideas, and commitment to technology-driven innovation from the ground up, STAQ has progressed from a walk-through rendering in 2018 of the company’s first state-of-the-art facility in Denver to the grand opening of a second, brand new, $50 million cleanroom manufacturing and distribution location that opened in Columbus in October.

STAQ Pharm ships to over 400 locations daily. When the Columbus location is at full capacity, STAQ can produce up to 30,000 syringes daily and thousands of IV bags.

The firm provides adult and pediatric medications in ready-to-use forms that match specific patient needs. STAQ’s capability solves an unmet need—especially for pediatric patients and hospitals, as most drugs arrive in doses from manufacturers not approved for children.

By providing compounded pharmaceutical medications designed specifically for the patients who receive them, whether pediatric or adult, STAQ can significantly impact medical treatment and patients’ lives, especially when there are drug shortages.

For example, in partnership with Angels for Change, STAQ Pharma helped make two critical medications available to young cancer patients. CNN told the story of this mother’ for her daughter, and how STAQ Pharma’s responded. Earlier this year, STAQ was able to help provide a continuous, stable supply of albuterol, an essential drug for treating respiratory conditions,  for children’s hospitals.

STAQ Pharma raised over $40 million in equity capital through a Series C round to fund the Columbus buildout. Rev1 Ventures, JobsOhio, Nationwide Childrens’ Hospital, and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital among others, participated.

Lentechs Advances Development Objectives with Significant Investment Round

Lentechs, a clinical-stage ophthalmic medical device company, is developing a new class of suspended, soft contact lenses that offers a true glasses-like progressive vision for presbyopia. This condition, which affects about 2 billion people worldwide, causes blurred vision. It is fairly well treated with bifocal eyeglasses but not contact lenses.

The company completed a $6 million investment round, which the company says will be used to finalize industry-leading manufacturing methods —randomized clinical trials test Lentechs’ APIOC® versus multifocal contact lenses that are in the marketplace.

“Only about 4 percent of the people over sixty years old are wearing contact lenses as a means of correction for presbyopia,” said Robin Sears, Lentechs President and CEO. “Lentechs aims to provide this population the first and only fully translating soft contact lens.”

Fully translating means that the eye can move freely up and down behind the contact lens, as it does behind a pair of bifocal glasses because the lens is suspended from the upper eye instead of laying directly on the cornea. In trials, users say the APIOC® feels more comfortable than a tight lens  With fifteen innovations on the front and back of the APIOC® lens, the Lentechs solution allows discrete vision correction at all distances: far, intermediate, and near. The APIOC® is FDA-approved and is in clinical trials.

Rev1 Catalyst Fund III Expands Support of Life Science Spinouts

Rev1 Ventures is expanding support for life sciences companies commercializing technologies from The Ohio State University (OSU) and Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH) with the launch of Rev1 Catalyst Fund III. The $30 million fund invests capital and provides strategic services for pre-seed, seed-stage, and early-stage healthcare innovators.