Friday, April 20, 2012

Peter Thiel-backed program boosts 'breakout' companies

Tanya Jones wanted to find a way to improve the odds for transplant patients, and knew the cooling methods she was developing to help preserve organs had to move out of a friend’s barn in Phoenix.
“You can imagine doing organ work in a stable – it’s a dusty environment,” said Jones, co-founder and CEO of Arigos Biomedical. “So now we’ve upgraded to a garage.”
Soon, Arigos will move into lab space in Mountain View, boosted by funding from a new program called Breakout Labs. There, the startup plans to move its technology beyond the idea stage and prove it works. That way, transplant recipients will have the time to get an organ from across the world, if necessary, and an organ that’s not a perfect match for a transplant can be saved for someone who will need it later.
Arigos is one of six companies in the initial class from Breakout Labs, a new initiative through the San Francisco-based Thiel Foundation. The initiative, backed by Paypal founder and investor Peter Thiel, aims to give small amounts of funding to very early stage science startups. The premise is that just a little bit of money can help get these early startups to their first milestones, aided by the prestige of a high-profile investor. The hope is this will help the company raise more money in the future.

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