The Importance of Milestones in Early-Stage Company Growth


As president and CEO of Tosk, Inc., Brian Frenzel leads an enterprise that develops biopharmaceutical products in the fight against cancer. Having successfully led more than a dozen startup companies, Brian Frenzel is a member of the early stage angel group, the Band of Angels.

One key element to the viability for any early stage venture involves setting and attaining appropriate milestones. This requires developing realistic timelines to guide the startup’s growth trajectory. Typical early milestones include additions to the team and attaining product development objectives. Milestones can also revolve around product launches and early profitability metrics.

These milestones are not simply for use in setting internally driven goals. Properly detailed and explained, they offer investors vital information on how to minimize risk while not losing out on the opportunities that early-stage investments present. The ideal time to reach out to investors to raise capital is just before or just after a key marker is met. This makes fundraising easier and increases the likelihood that the team can achieve more ambitious long term goals.


All About Angel Investing

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Band of Angels

Brian Frenzel is an entrepreneur and investor based in San Francisco, California. Having worked at the highest levels of management in several successful businesses, Brian Frenzel joined the Band of Angels, an elite group of angel investors located in Menlo Park California, to provide capital to early stage, life science and high tech ventures.

Angel investors, known simply as angels, invest into start-ups with large upside potential. Although angel investing is one of the oldest forms of business funding, only a select group of businesses receive funding from sophisticated groups like the Band of Angels each year. Angel investors tend to seek companies that can grow on a large scale, and they look for opportunities that carry the promise of very high financial returns.

In addition to providing funding, angel investors can offer the benefit of their business experience and network of contacts to help young entrepreneurs and early stage companies. Having their own money on the line, angel investors have a strong motivation to see each of their investments succeed.

Acute Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury

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Biotechnology executive Brian Frenzel is a director at SanBio, Inc., a cell therapy developer focusing primarily on neurodegenerative diseases. Under the leadership of Brian Frenzel, SanBio, Inc. has initiated research and development projects into traumatic brain injury (TBI).

TBI is a serious medical problem that can result in disability and death. Acute treatment following TBI usually focuses on life support and reducing secondary injuries that can arise from altered brain function. For example, physicians may insert a device in the brain cavity to stabilize intracranial pressure, or they may place the patient in a medically induced coma to minimize agitation. Acute treatments may also include mood stabilizers such as carbamazapine which can be used to control agitation, while atypical antidepressants such as amitryptyline can mitigate certain aggressive behaviors.

Other than physical therapy, there currently is no effective treatment for long term disability resulting from TBI. SanBio is developing a cell therapy product derived from mesenchymal stem cells to help patients recover from TBI disability. The product, known as SB623, is currently undergoing clinical studies in the US and Japan.

Cardiomyopathy in Chemotherapy Patients

As president and CEO of Tosk, Inc., Brian Frenzel oversees research into blocking drug side effects that can be dose-limiting and potentially fatal. Focused largely on the chemotherapy field, Brian Frenzel has managed the development of compounds that reduces the cardiotoxicity of drugs such as doxorubicin, also known as Adriamycin.

Designed to kill cancer cells throughout the body, chemotherapies also attack healthy cells and cause painful and debilitating side effects. When these drugs attack the heart muscle, the patient may develop a condition known as cardiomyopathy. This condition can result in arrhythmia or chronic disease of the heart. In some cases, chemotherapy-induced cardiotoxicity can lead congestive heart failure, which is potentially fatal.

Most chemotherapy-related cardiomyopathies develop as a result of the use of doxorubicin or its derivatives. Since the damage to the heart is permanent, the risk of heart disease limits the recommended lifetime dose of doxorubicin to 450-550 milligrams per square meter, or about a gram for a typical patient. Even at this limited dose, 3-5% of patients experience congestive heart failure, and 25% have some degree of cardiomyopathy.

Tosk is developing drugs to reduce or eliminate the cardiotoxicity of doxorubicin and thereby improve outcomes for cancer patients.

Possible Side Effects of Cisplatin

An experienced investor and entrepreneur in the healthcare field, Brian Frenzel received both bachelor of science and master of business administration degrees from Stanford University. He currently serves as President and CEO Tosk, Inc., a biopharmaceutical discovery and development company. Under Brian Frenzel’s leadership, the company works to improve outcomes for cancer patients by developing new drugs that block the adverse side effects of chemotherapeutic agents, such as cisplatin and carbonation.

Designed to treat and destroy cancer cells in ovarian, bladder, and testicular cancers, among others, cisplatin is an intravenous drug administered under the supervision of an oncologist. Although it is effective in fighting cancer, especially testicular cancer, it can cause a range of side effects, including unusual tiredness and weakness, bleeding and bruising, and hearing loss. Common serious side effects include a loss of balance, joint pain, and swollen or sore legs and feet. Less common serious side effects include convulsions (seizures), loss of reflexes, loss of taste, numbness or tingling in fingers or toes, and trouble in walking. Tosk aims to eliminate most of all of these serious and potentially debilitating side effects.

Understanding Cariotoxicity

Brian Frenzel has over 30 years of experience managing and advising companies in the medical products arena. Currently, Brian Frenzel serves as a Director of SanBio, Inc., a company developing regenerative therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. The Company’s lead product is SB623, which is derived from donor bone marrow cells.

SanBio researchers issued a report in April 2014 stating that they had successfully injected SB623 cells into the brains of 18 patients who suffered disability due to ischemic cerebral strokes. All 18 patients exhibited signs of improvement, and several showed dramatic improvement. The authors of the study reported no adverse reactions due to the procedure.

SB623 cells have also proven effective in recovering neurological function in animal models of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and Parkinson’s disease.

Brian Frenzel: SanBio, Inc. – Improving the Lives of Patients with Neurological Disorders

A successful investor and life sciences entrepreneur, Brian Frenzel serves on the Board of Directors of SanBio, Inc., a regenerative medicine company.

Advances in medical technology have improved the quality of life and life expectancy for sufferers of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injury, as well as for patients who have had cerebral strokes. SanBio, Inc., in Mountain View, California, develops new therapies to help patients with these conditions to recover function and lead more comfortable lives. These therapies are designed to repair and regenerate damaged neuronal cells and tissues with the objective of reversing neurological damage and restoring normal function.

The core component of SanBio’s technology is the use of bone marrow stromal cells harvested from donors. When these cells are genetically manipulated and delivered to damaged tissue, they stimulate recovery. An important advantage of using donor bone marrow cells is that they are readily available and the cells from a single donor can be multiplied in cell culture to treat thousands of patients.

SanBio is developing products to treat cerebral stroke, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and traumatic brain injury. San Bio’s most advanced product, SB623, is undergoing human clinical trials in the United States to improve function in cerebral stroke patients.