Date: Jan 22, 2018 Author: Thad Moore Source: (
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The Mount Pleasant pharmaceutical firm FirstString Research has landed $15 million in investments as it finishes testing on its first product.
FirstString is developing a gel that's intended to heal wounds by essentially forcing cells to "reboot" and jump-start communication with the rest of the body, says Gautam Ghatnekar, the company's co-founder and chief executive.
The company thinks its gel, which is called Granexin, could have a wide range of applications, but it's primarily focused on testing its effectiveness on foot ulcers caused by diabetes. For that use, Granexin is in its final stage of testing.
The latest round of funding tacks onto $12 million the firm had previously raised, bringing its all-time haul to $27 million. The new investments were led by two California-based funds, Park West Asset Management and Sophos Capital Management.
"FirstString's team has developed impressive data for Granexin across a wide range of wound healing indications," said Tony Bartsh of Park West, in a statement. "We believe the ... capital will allow FirstString to accelerate the development pipeline in several promising areas."
The financing is intended to bring Granexin's foot ulcer testing to conclusion, and while the company is eyeing other uses, Ghatnekar says he thinks healing foot ulcers could be a lucrative business in its own right. Roughly one in seven diabetics suffers foot ulcers, a population that includes hundreds of millions of people.
The company also plans to hire three more employees, bringing its total headcount to 10.
"This financing helps us drive our clinical programs to fruition, at least the lead programs," Ghatnekar said. "It positions the company well, and it helps us build the team out."