Interview with Nancy Briefs, CEO at Cambridge, MA-based Altrix Bio Finalist at the Featured Company Pitch Session at RESI San Francisco

6 Feb

Nancy Briefs

An interview with Nancy Briefs, CEO of Altrix Bio

– By Greg Mannix, VP of International Business Development, LSN

Greg Mannix

RESI has recently added an all-day pitch track in which entrepreneurs can deliver their short presentation to an investor audience and get instant feedback and questions from investors. In January at RESI SF, Altrix Bio was selected as one of the pitch session finalists. You can now apply to pitch at RESI Europe. You can also apply for a poster spot in the RESI Innovation Challenge.

Nancy Briefs, CEO of Altrix Bio

trategic business leader with extensive experience creating value, driving strategy and launching product commercialization in diverse life science companies. Deep general management and fundraising expertise having raised over $500 M in equity including IPO. Innovative, collaborative and entrepreneurial, strong communicator and tenacious. Energized by turning innovation into commercial reality, working with creative scientists, and communicating value to partners and investors.

Greg Mannix: Nancy, congratulations on being a finalist in the first ever Featured Company Pitch Session dedicated to women CEOs. What are your thoughts on this focus?

Nancy Briefs: I think it was timely and important. Especially being in California, one of the first places to really push for more diversity. I thought it was a refreshing change!

GM: What can be done to increase gender diversity in leadership roles at life sciences companies?

NB: I think a lot of women fall off the path between senior management positions and the C-suite, partly because of family commitments and other factors. Another thing might be the lack of role models to look up to when they are coming up the corporate ladder.  And finally, it doesn’t help that the large majority of investors are also men, and are probably more prone to invest in people that look like them.  Events like this RESI pitch session dedicated to women in CEO roles, which gives visibility to women role models and successful leaders, is a good thing. It is a fact that women make most of the healthcare decisions in their families, so it would seem to make sense that they play a more prominent role in healthcare companies.

GM: How did the Pitch Session go?

NB: It was well attended; I think there were 100 to 120 people in the auditorium. The moderator did a good job keeping everyone on schedule. It was a well run session.

GM: And how did you do in this new pitch format at RESI?

NB: Really well! I love to pitch and we got really positive feedback from several people. We got great visibility for the company and two of the investors in the audience reached out to me afterward. We are currently in conversations with them, so we are pleased with the result.

GM: Why do you think Altrix got traction with investors?

NB: I think Type 2 diabetes it is such a huge global problem, and our solution LuCI™ AJN 003 is an elegant drug without any systemic effects.  That is important for the 50% of patients who do not reach glycemic control.   And our experienced team really knows what it will take to get us through Phase II clinical trials.   Also, Dennis Ford (Founder & CEO, Life Science Nation; Creator of RESI Conference Series), who we’ve been working with on our fundraise, really helped us focus our story. That made a difference as well.

GM: So you would pitch again at RESI?

NB: You bet!

AltrixBio has developed LuCI™, a novel substance that transiently coats the GI mucosa to block nutrient absorption, independent of the pH environment, temporarily mimicking the effects of Gastric Bypass (RYGB). LuCI is comprised of a sucrose octasulfate aluminum complex engineered into a complex coacervate formulation linked via pH-independent electrostatic interactions. When exposed to gastrointestinal fluid, LuCI forms a sticky paste that binds to the mucosa to form a coating on the site of GI tract. LuCI 1) can be orally administered, 2) rapidly binds to the luminal surface of the stomach, duodenum, and small intestine, 3) forms a continuous barrier coating to block nutrient contact, 4) has shown in vivo efficacy in a rodent model to significantly lower postprandial glucose response, and 5) has shown no systemic absorption or toxicity, thus minimizing the risk profile. Furthermore, by adjusting viscosity and dosing of the drug, we can alter duration of exposure, thus creating a family of drug formulations to coat the intestine and alter glucose homeostasis for different periods of time. The company is advancing AJN 003 for the treatment of type 2 Diabetes. Additionally, LuCI’s unique attributes may provide an ideal platform for delivery of drugs to the GI tract.

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