Lateral Capital Management, LLC

Acme Thin Film Therapeutics

Acme Thin Film Therapeutics (ATF) developed a revolutionary semi-permeable plastic film technology which offers great potential for skin cancer treatment. Basically, therapeutic materials are placed between layers of this material, which controls the rate of absorption. Very elegant. We recommended that they start with a boring, unregulated application in foot ulcers for diabetics; this to bring cash in the door while they pursued the long regulatory path to approval as a skin cancer treatment device. However, the company decided to keep raising money against a melanoma application. As a result, they did not have a “finished product.” We did not invest.

  • Assessment: The management at Acme seemed unwilling to start small; to “make a little, sell a little, learn a lot.” We saw the cost of getting FDA approval for a new skin cancer treatment as simply too big for an Early Stage company without some way of keeping the company afloat in the meantime. This approach also gives the company experience in manufacturing scaleup; what we call Early Stage road miles.
  • Outcome: About five years after we met, the company took our advice, but in a very different way. They launched an application in fishing lures. Their permeable film was also great at slowly releasing fish attractant. But too little, too late. They ran out of money and went out of business.
  • Learning: This Company had great technology, but without a development plan that made sense. Our “finished product” investment requirement is often a good one.