Excell Partners invests again in biosensor startup
Linden Oaks-based Excell Partners Inc. has invested in two companies, including a second round of funding for Physiologic Communications LLC, a Rochester firm that designs and develops implantable biosensors that monitor drug therapies. Excell also provided seed funding for e2e Materials LLC, an Ithaca developer of an environmentally friendly alternative to particleboard. The funding amounts were not disclosed. Excell typically invests $100,000 to $250,000 in seed-stage companies, Excell officials said. The investment in PhysioComm, created in 2004 by University of Rochester Medical Center cardiologist Spencer Rosero, follows a round of pre-seed funding. "We continue to evaluate our investments in his technology," Excell CEO Theresa Mazzullo said. "We obviously feel comfortable at this stage in continuing that investment." PhysioComm biosensors are designed to integrate living cells with electronics to create biological chips that enhance medical monitoring technology and device therapy for patients. The chips can be used by patients with disorders such as congestive heart failure, life-threatening heart rhythms and epilepsy. "This round helps us add to the final phase of building a functioning prototype," Rosero said. "To this point, we've been physically building and testing the individual components, and trying to integrate the biology with the electronics. That's what takes a very long time. This round helps us really get those components of integrated biology and electronics actually working together." E2e Materials was founded by Cornell University's Anil Netravali, a professor of fiber science and apparel design. Netravali developed biodegradable composites made entirely from plant materials. The composites eliminate the need for formaldehyde, a chemical used to produce glue to make particleboard and plywood. Formaldehyde has been classified as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "We like them a lot because they help us to diversify our portfolio," Mazzullo said of e2e Materials. "We have done a lot of biotech. This is something a little bit different, but we're very excited about it because it's a biodegradable product. It's very strong. This is the wave of the future." The composites are made from renewable sources such as soy protein and natural fibers such as bamboo, jute, flax and kenaf, e2e Materials states.