TechLounge: Central Ohio Technology | Entrepreneurs | Innovation
The Angel Capital Association (ACA), the trade association of leading angel investment groups in North America, announced that AssureRx Health, Inc. of Mason, OH, and an Ohio TechAngels (OTAF) portfolio company, is the winner of the 2012 Luis Villalobos Award.
AssureRx Health is a personalized medicine company that specializes in pharmacogenomics—the study of genetic factors that influence an individual’s response to drug treatments. AssureRx Health is dedicated to helping clinicians determine the right drug for individual patients suffering from neuropsychiatric and other disorders. Many of the estimated 25 percent of adults who will suffer from a mental disorder during their lifetime go through months or years of trial and error to find appropriate medications, with many of them discontinuing treatment without finding relief. That’s because patient responses to drugs are very diverse, based on genetics. While many FDA-approved medications exist to treat psychiatric disorders, clinicians can now use objective, evidence-based standards to select the right medication for each patient.
“We have a technology that can help transform treatment,” James S. Burns, president and CEO of AssureRx Health. “Our company is a model of where individualized diagnostic medicine is going. The biology and variability is so complex that you need information technology to put the information together.”
From an investment perspective, AssureRx Health also represents a significant achievement in the manner in which it has gained statewide angel and venture investments which have seeded its growth and contributed to its ability to attract funding from outside the state. A syndication of angel and venture capital investors participated in Series A and Series B rounds. Queen City Angels and the Blue Chip Validation Fund led the first Series A round, with Ohio TechAngel Fund II, North Coast Angel Fund, CincyTech, Lake Street Capital, and almost two dozen sidecar angel investors investing in round extensions. The Series B investment was led by Claremont Creek Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Allos Ventures, CincyTech, and others joined for a round that exceeded $11 million.
“This is what angel investing is all about—the ability to leverage investments for good returns by building real companies with solid management teams to deliver innovative products that create high quality, high paying jobs,” said Victor M. Thorne, director of Ohio TechAngel Funds.
“It has been great dealing with the angels,” Burns said. “If we hadn’t gotten angel support early on, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Their backing kept us going for three years. It’s one thing to get money; it’s a whole other thing to get money and support.”
AssureRx Health is also creating jobs. From a handful of employees, the firm now has more than fifty and expects to employ 100 people by end of year.
“The Luis Villalobos Award recognizes angel portfolio companies that are startlingly innovative,” said Marianne Hudson, executive director of ACA. “AssureRx Health has created a solution based on cutting edge technology that helps clinicians significantly improve patient outcomes while offering improved efficiency and economics to the healthcare industry.”
AssureRx Health received the award at the 2012 ACA Summit in Austin, TX.