When he was hired on as chief executive officer of ZyStor Therapeutics Inc., Loren Peterson had a directive to help the company gain the funding needed to bring its pharmaceutical product to market.
He did that, raising $8.5 million from venture capital firms, mainly in the Milwaukee area, and then moved the company from St. Louis to Milwaukee in 2005. In 2010, ZyStor was acquired by BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. for $22 million upfront, with another $93 million promised if certain milestones were met in the ensuing years. It stands among the largest exits by Wisconsin entrepreneurs in recent years.
ZyStor developed replacement therapies for lysosomal storage disorders. One of the main challenges of growing it was raising capital to fund its clinical trials. And once it had taken on investor funds, ZyStor ultimately was headed toward a sale to provide them with a return.
“The assumption was all along and I think for most of these early stage (companies), at least in the drug development industry, you’re never going to raise enough capital to become a revenue producing company, so the endgame is always to sell to a larger pharmaceutical company,” Peterson said. Read the full story here.