Lynn Clark

Mines faculty-founded biomaterials company wins inaugural Mines Venture Fund I investment

GelSana Therapeutics was founded by Melissa Krebs, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering
Melissa Krebs works in the lab with a student

Colorado-based biomaterials company GelSana Therapeutics has received seed equity funding from Mines Venture Fund I, which invests in startups led by Colorado School of Mines faculty, staff, alumni, students and formal partners.  

It’s the Mines Venture Fund’s first investment since it launched in December 2023. 

GelSana was founded in 2020 by Dr. Melissa Krebs, associate professor in chemical and biological engineering at Mines. GelSana’s first product is a novel polymer-based gel called Cleragel, designed to improve wound healing by reducing inflammation. 

Krebs said the company will use the seed funding to push Cleragel to FDA registration and then to the clinical market next year. 

“We are thrilled to receive this investment, as it highlights support for Mines-based entrepreneurs to translate the technologies we’re developing on campus to the market,” Krebs said. “I’m excited to watch Cleragel make a much-needed improvement in the care of chronic wounds.” 

She said GelSana initially focused on resolving diabetic foot ulcers, which pose serious health and financial burdens for people with diabetes. In 2020, the company published peer-reviewed research that indicated hydrogel bandages could be game-changing in diabetes treatment worldwide.  

Now, the company is developing a pipeline of hydrogel-based products that can be applied more broadly in wound healing. One will deliver time-released topical medications to reduce dressing changes and speed up wound healing. 

“GelSana aligns with the Mines Venture Fund’s mission to invest in companies that have converged academic excellence, entrepreneurial spirit, rigorous discipline and a strong network of Mines alumni to cause innovation,” said Todd McLean, managing director, Mines Venture Fund Management. “We’re particularly pleased to invest in a biomedical firm that will improve the lives of many people.” 

He said the fund will continue to invest in biomedical companies along with other disciplines Mines inventors are expert in, such as quantum computing and AI, robotics, energy technology and materials science. 

“Working on the Mines campus gives us access to brilliant people who are going to change the world with their products and innovations,” he said. “We’re here to help them do it.” 

“We are incredibly grateful for the investors and investment committee members that have created Mines Venture Fund 1 to advance the innovations and companies being developed by our faculty, students, alumni and partners” said Mines President Paul C. Johnson. “We expect the number of opportunities to grow exponentially with time given how well-aligned our expertise is with the world’s needs and with the growth of our research enterprise and the launch of our Labriola Innovation District, Beck Venture Center, and their associated programming.” 

The Mines Venture Fund 1 is a critical resource for the Mines Entrepreneurship & Innovation ecosystem, which will support students, faculty, staff and alumni at every step of the entrepreneurial process. The support comes full circle with the Grand Opening of the Beck Venture Center on April 4. The Beck Venture Center is where the Mines community will launch companies and products coming from the activities in the Labriola Innovation District. 

For more information, visit Venture Center Funding - Beck Venture Center

Lynn Clark headshot

Lynn Clark

Advancement Communications Writer, Colorado School of Mines Foundation
About Mines
Colorado School of Mines is a public R1 research university focused on applied science and engineering, producing the talent, knowledge and innovations to serve industry and benefit society – all to create a more prosperous future.