NCBiotech awards $1.5 million in grants, loans in latest quarter

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center awarded 19 grants and loans totaling more than $1.5 million to universities, bioscience companies and non-profit organizations in the second quarter of its fiscal year.

The awards, made in October, November and December 2023, will support life science research, technology commercialization and entrepreneurship throughout North Carolina. The funding will also help universities and companies attract follow-on funding from other sources.

Company loans

Five bioscience companies received Small Business Research Loans totaling $800,000 to advance their research, product development and commercial viability.

Atlantic Fish Co. of Raleigh received $100,000 to develop cell lines for production of cultivated seafood.

Elysia Creative Biology of Raleigh received $100,000 to validate its biotechnology-based, grain-production solution for livestock methane elimination.

DNAli Data Technologies of Raleigh received $100,000 to automate and scale a modified DNA manufacturing process.

EydisBio of Durham received $250,000 to develop a highly potent and selective TAK1 inhibitor therapeutic.

Lindy Biosciences of Morrisville received $250,000 to advance a micro-glassification technology through clinical Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) process development.

Portfolio company raises nearly $1.3 million

One bioscience company that previously received loan support from NCBiotech raised $1.285 million in follow-on funding in the second quarter, according to research by NCBiotech’s Life Science Intelligence staff.

Phinite of Tar Heel received venture capital funding to support commercialization of its regenerative, low-carbon fertilizer products made from animal manure.

Including Phinite, 19 life science companies across North Carolina collectively raised over $330 million during the quarter from federal grants, venture capital equity investments, debt financing and exit deals. Accounting for over half of that total was the $175 million acquisition of Propella Therapeutics of Pittsboro by Astellas in November 2023.

University grants

Four universities and one non-profit health system received nine grants totaling $726,615 during the second quarter to advance bioscience research.

The awards were given through two programs: FLASH Grants, which support creative ideas that show early indications of commercial potential, and Translational Research Grants, which fund projects that explore potential commercial applications or initiate the early commercial development of university-held life sciences inventions.

Two universities and one hospital system received FLASH Grants totaling $66,652.

  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received $19,352 to develop a soft, biocompatible, microelectronic, three-dimensional structure to enclose an organoid for real-time communications.
  • UNC Charlotte received $27,500 to investigate a novel therapeutic to prevent neuroinflammation and improve antibiotic treatment for bacterial meningitis.
  • WakeMed Health and Hospitals received $19,800 to develop a virtual platform to deliver cognitive behavioral therapy materials and tools to pediatric patients suffering from disorders of gut-brain interaction.

Three universities received six Translational Research Grants totaling $659,963.

  • Duke University received $110,000 to develop an inhalable nanoparticle capable of delivering a safe, RNA-targeting gene therapy for the treatment of Covid-19 and potentially other coronaviruses.
  • Duke received $109,963 to develop a novel method for the treatment of pancreatic cancer using both traditional chemotherapy drugs as well as a novel approach to implanting radioactive iodine-131 directly into the tumor.
  • Duke received $110,000 to develop safety systems for use with an intravascular membrane oxygenator catheter system.
  • North Carolina State University received $110,000 to develop a new, plant fiber-based, biodegradable seed coating technology.
  • UNC received $110,000 to develop a unique technology that greatly decreases the cost and time to manufacture Chimeric Antigen Receptor T (CAR-T) cell therapies.
  • UNC received $110,000 to develop a novel pulse oximeter to automatically adjust for skin melanin variations to produce more accurate readings of blood oxygenation across all skin tones.

Biotechnology event sponsorships

Two universities and two non-profit organizations received Biotechnology Event Grants totaling $13,000 to support life sciences-focused events held primarily for a North Carolina audience.  

  • UNC received $3,000 to support the 2024 Integrative Vascular Biology & UNC McAllister Heart Institute Research Symposium. This event provides opportunities for established and emerging cardiovascular scientists to present and discuss their most recent cutting-edge research in cardiovascular biology and related disciplines.
  • NC State received $3,000 to support the 2024 Integrated Sciences Training Grant Symposium. This event will bring together five National Institutes of Health-funded T32 training programs for a day of trainee talks and poster presentations.
  • NC State received $3,000 to support the 2024 Water Resources Research Institute annual conference. This event brings together students and professionals from all sectors and disciplines to explore the diverse array of water resources across North Carolina.
  • First Flight Venture Center of Research Triangle Park received $1,000 to support the March Madness Open House, an event featuring start-up companies from North Carolina Central University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill, NC State and Wake Forest University for a pitch competition on university innovations.
  • The Organic Growers School of Asheville received $3,000 to support its 2024 Spring Conference. This conference fosters connections and knowledge exchange between scientists, educators, farmers and gardeners through science-based workshops on organic growing and sustainability.
Barry Teater, NCBiotech Writer
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