Catching up with Stacy Blain '89

Written by
Claire Shin '25
June 27, 2022

Blain and her biotech startup Concarlo Therapeutics have made a great deal of progress over the past year and a half. 

The company recently changed from an LLC to a CC and made a small change to its name, part of a process that Blain likens to “growing up,” in her words. Additionally, Concarlo received Small Business Research Innovation (SBIR) Phase 1 funding. They are currently in the process of preparing their Phase II SBIR application.

Concarlo has also renewed a contract with the NIH nanoparticle characterization laboratory, which Blain describes as a grant but even better –  not only will Concarlo receive funding, but the NIH’s scientists would also help perform important research on the physio-chemical properties of the nanoparticle-based drug Concarlo is producing. 

The company closed a seed round of $6.6 million in funding and is doing a $4 million Series AA (or pre-A) round with plans to start a Series A round this summer. They have also continued work on their C-suite with the goal of being in a strong position for their upcoming Series A raise; Concarlo recently brought in Dr. Krishna Allamneni, who has experience at companies like Jazz Pharmaceuticals and Turning Point Therapeutics, as Chief Development Officer. Concarlo is still looking for a Chief Business and Operating Officer (CBOO), who, among other things, will be helping with fundraising. In terms of branding and messaging, Concarlo’s new website is now live:

Another point of preparation that Blain says she’d like to patch up before the Series A round is to use the Series AA funds to initiate the manufacturing of her peptide liposome drug, which she says is a little atypical in the oncology space. In order to pre-empt pushback from venture capitalists who might say that such a drug might be difficult to manufacture, Blain has plans to partner with Bakken Americas, a world leader in peptide manufacturing and X-Elite, two world-class manufacturers that produce a significant portion of Pfizer vaccines. Once Concarlo has had its product manufactured, they plan to start testing in Australia. They project that they will begin their first patient tests in 2024 — an impressive timeline. 

Blain has connected to the Princeton entrepreneurial ecosystem in several different ways. Blain shared her genomics expertise at PEC’s TigerTalks in the City “How Genomics Are Driving Novel Therapies” panel discussion in late 2019, and then presented Concarlo during PEC’s inaugural Princeton Women Founders Startup Showcase in 2020. And then last month, she presented Concarlo’s progress at the Reunions 2022 Tiger Entrepreneurs Conference startup showcase by PEC and Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network. The biggest thing that Princeton can help with, according to Blain, is connections. She firmly believes that Concarlo is making unique products with great potential; the key at this point, Blain says, is getting the foot in the right door.

In that vein, Concarlo is currently making even greater efforts to differentiate its brand and its story. Blain told us in an interview that her ultimate goal is to make a better future for people like her children. “The company is named after my children,” she said with a smile. “Connor (Mraz ’23), Carly (Mraz ’25), and Logan. We dare to think boldly. And we dare to imagine a world where cancer is a different beast for our children. So, for me, the name reminds me every day of why I do this and why my colleagues do this.”