NCBiotech Awards $883,978 in Latest Quarter


By Barry Teater, NCBiotech Writer

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center awarded 17 grants and loans totaling $883,978 to companies, universities and nonprofit organizations across the state during the first quarter of its 2015-2016 fiscal year ending September 30.

Five bioscience companies received loans totaling $799,975:

  • A $250,000 Small Business Research Loan to Camras Vision Inc. of Research Triangle Park will support final design and testing of the company’s patented shunt technology for the treatment of glaucoma in preparation for first-in-man clinical trials. 
  • A $249,975 Small Business Research Loan to SynShark LLC of Cornelius will fund the scale-up of chemical production in tobacco plants from a half-acre to 10 acres in the next two years and potentially product sales and more than 100 acres of planting in 2018.
  • A $150,000 Small Business Research Loan to Symmune Therapeutics LLC of Durham will support the development for a new type of probiotic treatment for chronic asthma and respiratory allergies. 
  • A $75,000 Small Business Research Loan to BaseTrace LLC of Research Triangle Park will support the evaluation of the company’s industrial DNA tracers in extreme conditions for application in oil and gas production and nuclear energy.
  • A $75,000 Company Inception Loan to Indexus Biomedical LLC of Research Triangle Park will support the development of a multi-function blood analyzer that will perform critical diagnostic tests ranging from complete blood count to advanced diagnostic tests for infectious diseases such as HIV and vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue.

Company Follow-on Successes

During the latest quarter, 17 bioscience companies previously funded by NCBiotech loans raised $27.9 million in follow-on funding from other sources.

Leading the pack was Durham-based Baebies Inc., which completed $13 million in equity financing to commercialize technology that can screen for genetic disorders in newborns from tiny amounts of bodily fluids such as dried blood or saliva. The financing followed a $500,000 Strategic Growth Loan from NCBiotech last year.

Benson Hill Biosystems of RTP raised $7.3 million in a Series A round of financing.  The funding will be used to develop its computational and systems biology-based platform that helps technology developers and breeders identify promising strategies to increase genetic gain in crop plants. 

In 2012 Benson Hill Biosystems received a $50,000 Company Inception Loan from NCBiotech, and earlier this year it received a $52,000 Industrial Fellowship Program award for research to demonstrate and validate technologies for improved photosynthetic efficiency in plants.

On average, every dollar that NCBiotech loans to young life science companies is met with $112 in additional funding to those firms from government grants, angel and venture capital investment, disease philanthropy and other financial support. Every grant dollar to a university or nonprofit organization is met with an average $28 in additional funding.

Other Q1 Awards

Other NCBiotech awards made in the most recent quarter include:

A $50,000 Technology Enhancement Grant to Duke University Medical Center, where investigators have developed a polio virus-based immunotherapy that is ending Phase 1 clinical studies for the treatment of recurrent glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer for which no effective treatment is available. The funding will be used to transfer the small-scale manufacturing of the vaccine from the National Cancer Institute to a large-scale, contract-manufacturing facility. 

Eight Biotechnology Event Sponsorships totaling $19,503. Host organizations included East Carolina University (two awards), High Point University, the N.C. Association for Biomedical Research, North Carolina State University, the Research Triangle Environmental Health Collaborative, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Wake Forest University Health Sciences. 

Three Biotechnology Meeting Grants totaling $14,500. Host organizations were the N.C. Natural Products Association, the Society for Translational Oncology and UNC-CH.

Thu, 10/08/2015 - 00:00