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ZS Pharma

Fort Worth, Texas

Incubator: TECH Fort Worth

Alvaro Guillem and Jeff Keyser, founders

Employees: 14

www.zspharma.com

Pharmaceutical start-ups face many hurdles, including funding challenges, numerous phases of clinical trials and approvals, and manufacturing issues. ZS Pharma  ̶  a company focused on developing drugs for patients with kidney and liver disease  ̶  has navigated many of these hurdles and is close to the finish line. The company is currently conducting Phase 3 clinical trials to confirm the effectiveness of its product, monitor side effects and compare with commonly used treatments. ZS Pharma has received $2 million in funding from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, $4.3 million from angel investors and $46 million in venture capital investments. ZS Pharma was named the 2010 Fort Worth Small Business of the Year by the chamber and was a finalist for the 2011 Tech Titans Emerging Company Award, presented by the Metroplex Technology Business Council. Assuming its Phase 3 clinical trials are successful, the company will, in the coming year, begin to manufacture locally and distribute the drug both nationally and worldwide once the appropriate approvals are in place.

Incubator’s role: TECH Fort Worth assisted ZS Pharma with its application to the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, creating its slide presentation and coaching the founders on their pitch. The incubator also advised the founders on public speaking and arranged for videotaped presentation coaching, as well as made introductions to local leaders and professionals who helped support ZS Pharma’s funding application. In addition, TECH Fort Worth arranged for discounted Independent Review Board services, lab space and services related to the preclinical studies, as well as assisted with managing many of the company’s clinical and regulatory operations. “TECH Fort Worth provided the introductions, credibility and advice we needed to successfully raise funding,” says Alvaro Guillem, co-founder. We have reached many of our milestones to date because of the assistance that TECH Fort Worth provided.”

 

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