Date: Sep 25, 2018 Source: bizjournals (
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Chicago biotech company Oxalo Therapeutics, which is developing a drug to treat and prevent kidney stones, has made it to the final round of a high-profile startup accelerator competition while also picking up some new funding to grow.
Oxalo, launched by faculty and students at the University of Chicago, announced that it has been awarded $2.3 million from the National Institute of Health and is one of 26 startups competing for shares of $1.5 million in equity-free prizes in the finals of the MassChallenge, a startup accelerator in Boston.
Oxalo was one of 128 companies that were chosen to participate in the program out of more than 1,600 applications from around the world. In the program, startups receive mentors, tailored programming and connections to potential corporate partnerships.
Founded last year by Hatim Hassan, an assistant professor of medicine at UChicago, and Yang Zheng, an MBA student at UChicago's Booth School of Business, Oxalo makes a drug that mimics a microbe found in the body that helps to prevent kidney stones by removing oxalate, the toxic molecule that, when combined with calcium, causes most kidney stones.
"MassChallenge has provided a great opportunity to grow Oxalo over the past few months," said Zheng, the startup's chief operating officer, in a statement. "We are honored to be selected as one of the finalists from such a strong group of startups, and look forward to competing in October."
As for the funding, Oxalo said they will use it to help accelerate the formulation of their drug and pay for pre-clinical animal studies.
Last year, Oxalo received a $250,000 investment from the UChicago Innovation Fund. And this spring, Oxalo competed in UChicago's New Venture Challenge, where it won $25,000 as a finalist.