RELAY Life Science LLC, a technology commercial development company, has launched in Nashville and is preparing to raise capital, after two years perfecting their model.
Co-founder and CEO Jim Monsor confirmed for Venture Nashville his co-founders in Relay Life Science are President Russ Pagano PhD and Marcus Henschen R.N., its VP for business development. The company was registered with the state in September 2016. Monsor's most recent corporate role was that of COO for BioMimetic Therapeutics, the Nashville firm bought several years ago by Wright Medical.
The company licenses technologies in order to move each of them toward regulatory approval and/or commercialization, with inventors and licensors retaining rights negotiated in each instance, with deals including one or more equity, royalty or other variables.
Technologies of great interest currently include, but are not limited to, devices, diagnostics, animal health and, longer term, therapeutics including biotech and pharmaceuticals.
Relay's advisory board includes advisory board includes George Dunbar, of ISTO Biologics, etc.; Mark Cherney, of Prologic Healthcare, Shore Capital Partners, etc.; and, Stayko Staykov, of VentureGrove and FiveStone Ventures.
Monsor said the target for the capital raise has not yet be locked-in.
Capital will be deployed by a single Relay Life Science team across the company's entire development portfolio, rather than requiring outside investors to invest in individual special-purpose vehicles for each tech-commercialization candidate product.
Monsor said he suspects individual investors, Angel groups and VCs with or without previous lifescience experience will be attracted to Relay's risk-mitigating model, and will recognize that -- while the language of lifesciences certainly differs from that of other industries -- it's a language successful investors routinely master.
Asked whether Nashville-based NueCura, a medical- and health-centric Angel group might be interested, Monsor said they eventually might. Mark Cherney, the advisor mentioned earlier in this story, is a senior advisor to NueCura, according to his Linkedin.
Relay's model calls for licensing or selling rights the company or its subsidiaries hold to much larger corporates or other entities.
The Relay team has identified "8 or 10" technologies that are of particular interest, from a total 60 or more validated technologies the company has reviewed, said Monsor.
Monsor, 58, said substantial synergies have been proven between Relay Life Science and the Life Science Mentor Network, which he directs in behalf of Life Science Tennessee, the trade association. There are about 60 mentors in the network, now.
He explained, "The Mentor Network is perfect for technologies that have great clinical merit and commercial potential" when that is in the hands of a reasonably qualified management team that has crafted a well vetted business plan." In those cases, the Network's mentors can readily help the company's team with presentations, investor decks and related matters.
However, when inventors -- professors, researchers, physicians, et al -- or other tech entrepreneurs do not have CEO skills aboard or have no personal interest in commercializing a technology and-or launching a business, then Relay is likely to be a better steward of their asset's future.
Monsor said he believes Relay will be an attractive partner to university-based and other tech transfer and commercialization offices and possibly university endowment funds, among others.
Above-mentioned advisor Staykov recently told Startup Week Nashville conferees that his VentureGrove unit has developed technology for supporting tech transfer on campuses. When asked, Monsor said Staykov's technology might become useful to Relay. Staykov also authored a commercialization report for Launch Tennessee, here.
Relay is operational and prepared to talk with both innovators and potential capital sources, the CEO emphasized. The company already has sufficient talent and resources aboard to handle tech-dev and commercialization process, he emphasized.
Asked about competing or comparable organizations in the sector, Monsor said traditional competition is not a major factor in the business, but cited as relevant Fannin Innovation Studio in Houston.
Relay Life Science is advised by attorney Steve Wood of Baker Donelson and accountants with Blankenship CPA Group in Brentwood, and the company banks with Pinnacle Financial Partners. VNC