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 $43.5 million in more than 101 presenting companies.

National Cancer Institute Awards Grant to NuvOx Pharma for Phase II Clinical Trial in Brain Cancer

by Curtis Gunn on September 29th, 2017 at 6:44pm

The National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded a grant for up to $3 million to NuvOx Pharma to initiate a Phase II clinical trial for the investigational drug, NVX-108, in the brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

NVX-108 is an injectable drug that travels through the bloodstream, arriving first at the lungs to pick up oxygen and finally to hypoxic tissue, where it passively delivers the oxygen. It is designed to reduce tumor hypoxia in order to make tumors more sensitive to radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

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HTG Announces Issuance of Two Method Patents Related to its Technology

by Curtis Gunn on September 21st, 2017 at 8:55pm

HTG Molecular Diagnostics, Inc. (Nasdaq:HTGM), a provider of instruments, reagents, and services for molecular profiling applications, today announced the United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued two U.S. Patents covering HTG’s technology and applications of its technology.

“The newly issued patents substantiate the proprietary nature of our business and represent an important step in protecting our technology and its applications,” stated TJ Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of HTG. “As we grow, we will continue to pursue additional protection around our instrument portfolio and our testing methods and their applications in the U.S. and in other regions and countries.”

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Tucson Tech: Calimmune deal is latest in string of tech startup buyouts

by Curtis Gunn on September 3rd, 2017 at 3:25pm

**Calimmune, Instant BioScan and Medical Referral Source were all Desert Angels deals and fall into the “string of tech startup buyouts”**

This week’s $91 million acquisition of Tucson biotech drug startup Calimmune Inc. by a global drug company is fresh evidence of the Old Pueblo’s ability to nurture promising tech companies.

The deal by Australia-based CSL Ltd. for Calimmune is the biggest and latest in a string of buyouts of Tucson-based tech startups in the last few years.

In addition to a $91 million upfront payment, CSL could end up paying up to $325 million in performance payments over several years for Calimmune.

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Tucson’s Calimmune to be acquired by Australian drug giant

by Curtis Gunn on August 29th, 2017 at 7:53pm

**Desert Angels have invested in over 100 companies and Calimmune is the largest investment ever made by the group.**

Calimmune Inc., a gene-therapy drug startup company co-founded by a University of Arizona alumnus, will be acquired by Australian-based biotech drug giant CSL Ltd. for $91 million.

The deal, which will make Calimmune part of Pennsylvania-based CSL Behring, also includes up to $325 million in potential performance based milestone payments over eight or more years after the transaction’s close, expected within the next two weeks.

Calimmune, co-founded by UA biology grad and entrepreneur Louis Breton in 2006, is developing stem-cell gene therapy to strengthen patients’ own immune systems.

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NuvOx Pharma to be Honored with 2017 AZBio Fast Lane Award

by Curtis Gunn on August 28th, 2017 at 7:43pm

The Arizona Bioindustry Association will honor NuvOx Pharma with an AZBio Fast Lane Award at the 2017 AZBio Awards.

Arizona life science and business leaders as well as guests from across the country will be on hand to applaud the NuvOx Pharma team for their progress in developing new therapies for patients.

NuvOx Pharma is a biotechnology company based in Tucson, Arizona that is developing an innovative nanotechnology for oxygen delivery to treat life-threatening diseases where hypoxia plays a role. The company is ready to start a Phase II clinical trial in brain cancer, is in a Phase Ib/II clinical trial in stroke, is Phase Ib ready in sickle cell crisis, and has animal studies in heart attack, hemorrhagic shock, and traumatic brain injury.

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Commerce Bank is on rebound after millions in investments by locals

by Curtis Gunn on August 13th, 2017 at 3:02pm

Tucson’s only locally owned bank has nursed itself back to financial health with the help of local residents who invested millions of dollars to shore up the bank’s balance sheet.

Commerce Bank of Arizona, which weathered huge losses on small-business loans following the Great Recession, announced recently that state and federal regulators had lifted a 2013 consent order requiring the bank to significantly raise its capital reserves.

After raising $3.5 million in new capital in 2015, Commerce’s parent, CBOA Financial Inc., raised about $10 million in capital earlier this year, boosting the bank’s capital-reserve ratios beyond the requirements in the consent order by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions.

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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-based Vector test launches rocket in Georgia

by Curtis Gunn on August 3rd, 2017 at 3:07pm

Tucson-based Vector successfully launched its latest prototype rocket for micro-satellite space launches Thursday, Aug. 3, at Spaceport Camden in Georgia.

Vector’s suborbital flight of a full-scale prototype of the company’s Vector-R launch vehicle was the first customer-funded launch operation for the new space commercial launch industry, the company said.

It also was the first launch out of the historic Spaceport Camden, near the Atlantic coast in the southeastern corner of Georgia, which was originally used by NASA in the 1960s for ground-based testing of large solid rocket motors.

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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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