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16 Bioscience Companies Awarded $1 Million in State Grants

By Barry Teater, NCBiotech Writer

Sixteen life science companies throughout North Carolina have received just over $1 million in grants from a state program to support their development of new technologies and products.

They are among 32 technology-oriented companies in total that received $1.9 million in funding from the One NC Small Business Program, administered by the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Office of Science, Technology & Innovation.

“These grants are a critical tool to help spur new products and industries, increase the number of high-paying jobs across the state, and improve quality of life in our communities,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a news release announcing the grants.

The state grants match federal funds awarded through the highly competitive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. These federal programs help small companies develop new and innovative technologies that have high potential for commercialization.

North Carolina’s matching funds help companies hire additional employees, purchase equipment, materials and services and cover some expenses not provided for under the federal programs.

“The One NC Small Business Program is North Carolina’s seed fund for innovative companies creating and bringing to market new technologies,” said Commerce Secretary Anthony Copeland.

Since 2006, the program has helped more than 250 companies in 47 cities and 25 counties across the state develop and commercialize hundreds of high-tech products.

A 2016 analysis by the Department of Commerce confirms that the program helps young technology companies survive. Since the program’s creation in 2005, 85 percent of grant recipients are still in business, and 98 percent of the surviving companies are still based in North Carolina.

The department’s analyses also show that the small businesses receiving the grants generate $9 for every state grant dollar by attracting follow-on federal funds and external investment from private sources, such as other companies and venture capital. Each new job created directly from the grant program is expected to indirectly create 1.5 additional new jobs from an increase in demand down the supply chain and a general increase in demand for consumer goods.

The state’s General Assembly did not fund the One NC Small Business Program for fiscal year 2018.

Of the 16 life science companies receiving grants in the latest funding cycle, three of them have also previously received company investment from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center: Redbud Labs, MAA Laboratories and Cell Microsystems.

The 16 companies are:

  • AI Tracking Solutions of Carrboro: $65,000 to further optimize and test a particle-tracking platform that has lower time and labor costs versus traditional particle-tracking experiments and can more efficiently describe the specific behaviors of proteins. This project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health in the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Applied LifeSciences & Systems of Raleigh: $65,000 to develop imaging systems for the screening of healthy animals and the delivery of vaccinations in the poultry industry. This project is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
  • AxNano, an affiliate of Greensboro's Triad Growth Partners: $62,196 to develop a remediation technology to treat contaminated groundwater sources that will lower risks of exposure during deployment and have higher effectiveness levels during treatment. This project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health in the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Cell Microsystems of Durham: $65,000 to develop, manufacture, and commercialize products and tools for the isolation, recovery, and analysis of single cells for improvement in genome editing. This project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health in the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Celldom of Durham: $65,000 to develop the first cell biology computer system that tests new treatments on microchips containing tens of thousands of living cells, analyzes and combines their behavior and genome data, and provides clear results on how broadly effective a treatment will be. This project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health in the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Creative Scientist of Durham: $65,000 to develop a nitric oxide testing service that can be used to assess the causes of cardiovascular diseases. This project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health in the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • EncepHeal Therapeutics of Winston-Salem: $65,000 to develop a medication agent that blocks cocaine’s inhibitors for individuals with cocaine addictions. This project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health in the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Falcon Therapeutics of Chapel Hill: $59,291.50 to develop personalized stem cell therapies to treat cancer. This project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health in the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • MAA Laboratories of Raleigh: $65,000 to create a stable nanoformulation alternative to the common cancer-treatment drug Dasatinib, which will improve solubility and oral bioavailability. This project is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
  • Metalytics of Cary: $65,000 to develop software tools and procedures that helps investigators fully integrate specific metabolic experimental techniques into their design strategies to more quickly engineer cells for biomanufacturing. This project is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
  • Nanodiagnostic Technology of Concord: $50,000 to develop a paper/nanotechnology-based bioanalytical system for rapid detection of pesticides in food and water. This project is sponsored by the Department of Agriculture.
  • Qatch Technologies of Burlington: $65,000 to develop a sensor technology that can measure blood coagulation times at point-of-care (POC). This project is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
  • Redbud Labs of Chapel Hill: $65,000 to improve the existing processes on understanding genetic differences by using less complex instruments, fewer delicate biological samples, and simpler timely protocols. This project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health in the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • ScitoVation of Durham: $65,000 to develop an in vitro analysis to detect DNA damage caused by chemical exposure. This project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health in the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • SeaTox Research of Wilmington: $59,975 to develop a sensor for the detection of paralytic shellfish toxins acquired through human consumption. This project is sponsored by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration in the Department of Commerce. This is the company's second One NC grant.
  • TriboFilm Research of Raleigh: $65,000 to create an advanced coating system for plastic pharmaceutical containers that provides oxygen-barrier properties to extend the shelf life of oxygen-sensitive pharmaceutical products. This project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health in the Department of Health and Human Services.

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