Seed fund attracts personalized therapy firm
Panacea BioMatx Inc. co-founders Edison Hudson and L. Staton Noel III might not have considered expanding their personalized therapy company to Danville if they hadn’t received a $250,000 seed-fund investment from The Launch Place.
In return for the investment, the company committed to creating at least five jobs paying an average of $50,000 annually within three years.
“Certainly the resources offered through The Launch Place were an important incentive,” says Panacea CEO Hudson. “We looked at the lab and production facilities [in Danville], and the cost compared very favorably to Research Triangle Park” in North Carolina where the company is based. Another plus is that Danville is only an hour’s drive away.
Eva Doss, president and CEO of The Launch Place, has been watching Panacea’s progress for more than a year. She finds it a good fit for the organization, which helps develop entrepreneurs by providing seed money and consulting services. “We try to invest in companies in green technologies, IT, medical device firms and manufacturing,” she says.
Founded in early 2013, Panacea develops and manufactures personalized therapies. It creates personalized dietary supplement formulations in a single easy-to-swallow pouch. “The whole idea behind personalization is that different people have different needs. We personalize to the individual,” says Hudson. “It allows people to take just what they need — the right thing in the right amount.”
The company employs a robotic system in its manufacturing. “We only have one of these now, and it can serve about 8,000 to 10,000 clients per month,” Hudson says. “As we increase our customer base, we will place additional compounding robots in other locations. At some point, we will want to have a formulations robot in Virginia.”
The company’s supplements include vitamins, micro-minerals such as zinc, iron and selenium along with herbals and beneficial oils such as Omega 3. “At some point in the future, we expect to add a limited range of pharmaceuticals,” Hudson says.
The start of the company’s Danville operations will depend on its production rate and how fast it outgrows its current production area. “We will get tight by the end of the year, and then we will be forced to look for more manufacturing space,” Hudson says.
“The potential in the size of their market is huge,” Doss says of Panacea. “They already employ 12 people in Research Triangle Park. They have a solid management team.”