RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — With its chief executive officer in place,
has closed on $6 million in Series A financing.
The Wakefield Group led the financing. Other investors include Firelake Capital Management, Siemens, and private investors W. Lowry Caudill Alfred Childers, and William Starling. Caudill and Childers were founders of Magellan Laboratories. Caudill serves as Liquidia's chairman.
Liquidia, the latest startup launched by entrepreneur, scientist and professor Joseph DeSimone, hired Todd Pope as its CEO. Pope is a former executive officer with Boston Scientific.
Pope, who joined Liquidia in April before the company presented to potential investors at the annual Council for Entrepreneurial Development's venture conference program, is returning to his North Carolina roots. Pope attended Millbrook High School in Raleigh and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
"We've been aggressively looking for just the right executive to lead the company and are thrilled to have Todd join us as he brings a unique blend of leadership skills and business background," said DeSimone, the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University.
"Todd brings 20 years of experience - working with Fortune 250 medical device companies, a specialty pharmaceutical company, a Fortune-500 consumer goods manufacturer, and two technology startups," DeSimone added.
Pope's most recent position was as vice president of global sales and marketing in the neurovascular division of Boston Scientific. He also has worked for Johnson & Johnson and Newell Rubbermaid where he served as president of the firm's American Tool division. He has also worked for Duramed Pharmaceuticals and Divine Interventures, an Internet incubator.
"I am thrilled to be joining the Liquidia team," Pope said in a statement. "The combination of the founders, the truly breakthrough technology, and the size of the addressable markets makes this an extremely unique opportunity."
Another recent addition to the Liquidia management team is Luke Roush, a Duke University graduate, as director of business development.
Liquidia was launched in 2004 and closed on an initial $2.5 million in financing in 2005. Its offices and labs are located in Research Triangle Park.
The company's technology is based on materials known as fluoropolymers that are liquids at room temperature but cure to transparent solids when exposed to lights. Liquidia has developed a material platform technology called Fluorocur, which enables the mass production of precise and uniform micro-sized and nano-sized particles. Fluorocur is based on research done at UNC Chapel Hill and NCSU.
"The diverse prospects of our material platform, Fluorocur, require a CEO with a wide variety of experiences in our targeted markets," said Caudill, the chairman. "Todd's unquestioned success in technology, manufacturing, and the life science arena is an ideal fit for our applications."
The company plans to use the new funds for hiring of additional personnel, the construction of manufacturing capabilities, and to increase capacity for large-scale Fluorocur production.
"Liquidia Technologies has a rare combination of breakthrough and industry-changing technologies, multiple nascent and fast-growing markets, and very strong and experienced management," said Steve Nelson of Wakefield Group. "The addition of Todd as the CEO provides the critical foundation needed to accelerate the company to tremendous heights."
DeSimone has been involved in entrepreneurial ventures in the past, including the launching of a chain of dry cleaners that did not rely on chemicals. In 1996, he launched Micell Technologies, which focused on using carbon dioxide as a solvent.