Welcome to the Desert Angels™. We are a Tucson, Arizona based non-profit organization of accredited investors who seek opportunities to invest in Southwest regional startup or early stage companies. The organization serves as a forum for its over 80 members, who invest individually from their personal funds. Since 2000, Desert Angel members have invested over $41.5 million in more than 99 presenting companies.

Stimwave’s MRI-safe, injectable neurostimulator gets FDA nod

by Curtis Gunn on August 9th, 2017 at 12:05am

Stimwave scored FDA clearance for its tiny, MRI-safe neurostimulation device for the treatment of chronic peripheral nerve pain. Now, patients implanted with the device may undergo full-body MRI scans without needing to remove the implant.

The StimQ Peripheral Nerve Stimulator system is placed through a needle and is designed to stimulate any peripheral nerve below the head and outside the spinal cord.

The wireless device is designed to treat chronic pain, including shoulder pain, mid- and lower back pain and neuropathy in the upper and lower extremities. It delivers small electrical pulses through a set of electrodes to the targeted nerve. It is powered by a small external unit.

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Tucson drug startup launches gastric-cancer trial

by Curtis Gunn on July 17th, 2017 at 9:33pm

Tucson-based drug startup Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals Inc. has announced the launch of a Phase 2 clinical trial at Vanderbilt University Medical Center to test the company’s flagship drug candidate for preventing gastric cancer.

The drug, CPP-1X, will be studied in patients with precancerous gastric lesions who are at high risk for gastric cancer, the company said Monday.

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SpaceX Vet’s Startup Readies Small Rockets for Takeoff

by Curtis Gunn on June 29th, 2017 at 8:22pm

Before Elon Musk started SpaceX, he held a series of salons in Los Angeles and Silicon Valley, asking experts in the field for ideas on what a new-age rocket company should look like. A handful of people advising Musk urged him to make small, cheap rockets that would bring the cost of getting something into orbit down to $5 million from the going rate of about $100 million. In the years that followed, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. did manage to lower launch prices drastically, but it stuck to making bigger spaceships instead of pursuing the radical approach that some of Musk’s advisers desired.

A couple of these space dreamers, who helped get SpaceX off the ground, have now turned up with their own rocket startup called Vector Space Systems. They have radical plans and then some. Vector’s goal is to make a $1.5 million rocket that can carry small satellites into orbit. It expects to conduct 100 launches per year—a figure that would match the annual capacity of the entire aerospace industry.

To help meet this goal, Vector told Bloomberg that it raised $21 million from some of Silicon Valley’s largest venture capital firms, including Sequoia Capital, Shasta Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners. “While Elon made space safe for investors, he did not fix the launch problem,” said Jim Cantrell, co-founder and chief executive officer of Vector. “We are making the rockets as simple as they can be made, building them like sausages and launching by the hundreds.”

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Tucson micro-sat launch firm Vector gets $21M investment

by Curtis Gunn on June 29th, 2017 at 8:19pm

Vector, a Tucson-based micro-satellite launch company, announced it has landed $21 million in new investments to to help fund testing toward the launch of orbital customer missions in early 2018.

The Series A funding round was led by California-based Sequoia Capital, with participation from Shasta Ventures and Lightspeed, bringing Vector’s total funding to date to $31 million, the company said.

The investment follows Vector’s successful flight test of the full-scale prototype Vector-R launch vehicle in May, one of the first successful launches in the budding commercial space-launch industry. Vector also closed a $4.5 million bridge financing round in April.

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Tucson Tech: New radiation treatment for eye disease advances

by Curtis Gunn on June 21st, 2017 at 10:58pm

The medical instrument that Tucson-based startup Salutaris Medical Devices is developing can give you the willies, with a hook designed to be inserted behind the eye.

Despite the high yuck factor, Salutaris’ new method for radiation treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration offers new hope for patients with a major cause of age-related blindness.

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Independent Data Monitoring Committee Recommends Continuation of Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals’ Phase 3 Trial for Familial Adenomatous Polyposis Patients

by Curtis Gunn on June 12th, 2017 at 7:37pm

Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (CPP), a private biotech company developing novel therapeutics to prevent cancer and other diseases, announced today that an Independent Data Monitoring Committee (IDMC), following a planned interim futility analysis, recommended continuation of the company’s pivotal Phase 3 trial, CPP FAP-310, evaluating CPP-1X/sulindac for adults with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP).

“The IDMC’s recommendation to continue this ongoing pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial is an important win for FAP patients and an important clinical milestone for CPP,” said Jeff Jacob, Chair and CEO of the company. “We look forward to completing the trial and bringing to market a first-in-class pharmaco-prevention therapeutic.”

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Arizona Commerce Authority Announces Grant Awardees in the Spring 2017 Arizona Innovation Challenge

by Curtis Gunn on June 6th, 2017 at 5:30pm

*Desert Angel Portfolio Companies ClickIPO and Codelucida receive AIC grants*

The Spring 2017 round of the Arizona Innovation Challenge (AIC) has concluded as the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) today announced six awardees in its bi-annual business plan competition.
The ACA provides $3 million in grants annually to the most qualified, innovative startups and early-stage companies. Each company receives up to $250,000 in capital to grow their business — advancing innovation and technology commercialization opportunities in Arizona.

Companies located anywhere in the world may apply, so long as they plan to establish operations and commercialize their product or service in Arizona if they are awarded an AIC grant.

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NuvOx Pharma: Breathing new life into an old contrasting agent

by Curtis Gunn on June 2nd, 2017 at 5:35pm

In 2008, Evan Unger acquired rights to a contrasting agent approved for use in Europe, dodecafluoropentane emulsion (DDFPe).

It was never marketed for competitive reasons, the story goes, but Unger saw potential beyond imaging. So after negotiating rights, he launched his third startup, NuvOx Pharma, with an aim to treat various forms of hypoxia (oxygen deficiency).

It was a good idea, according to judges of the Pitch Perfect competition at the MedCity INVEST conference in May. Unger’s pitch took first place in the biopharma track.

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Arizona Technology Council Rallies the Technology Community to Successfully Recapitalize the Angel Investment Tax Credit

by Curtis Gunn on May 22nd, 2017 at 5:38pm

Governor Doug Ducey signed House Bill 2191 today, authorizing $2.5 million a year for the next four years into the Angel Investor Tax Credit program for capital infusions into early-stage startup companies. The Arizona Technology Council and its Public Policy Committee were successful in gaining support for the bill by rallying Arizona’s technology community and leading efforts to lobby for recapitalization.

“The recapitalization of the Angel Investor Tax Credit program has been a top priority for the Council since the original $20 million in tax credits ran out in 2015,” said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “The initial program showed a direct return on investment of more than 2.2 to 1 in tax revenue. Today’s signing is a major success for our startup technology community and reinforces that Arizona is open for business.”

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Tucson’s Vector successfully launches rocket

by Curtis Gunn on May 17th, 2017 at 9:11pm

Vector, a Tucson-based startup that plans to launch micro-satellites in space, successfully launched a prototype of its Vector-R rocket for the first time Wednesday from a site near Mohave, California.

The flight makes Vector the first of a cadre of emerging small-launch companies to successfully test a launch vehicle.

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