State Awards $1.5 Million in R&D Grants to 29 Companies

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Twenty-nine technology companies across North Carolina – about half of them working in the life sciences – have received grants totaling $1.5 million to foster job creation and promote research and technological development in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grants were awarded by the One North Carolina Small Business Program with funds from the state’s share of the $2.2 trillion federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020.

The program is administered by the Office of Science, Technology, & Innovation, a division of the N.C. Department of Commerce, on behalf of the Board of Science, Technology & Innovation, which encourages, promotes, and supports scientific, engineering, and industrial research applications in the state.

“As a champion and promoter of job creation and technological innovations in our state, the Board implemented this year’s program to provide strong support to as many businesses as possible,” said Michael Cunningham, chair of the Board of Science, Technology & Innovation. “As a result, one-third of our grants went to companies directly working to solve the coronavirus pandemic, another third were indirectly working to address the issue, and the remaining third of the grants went to companies that experienced significant costs of employment or experienced consequential business or technological interruptions. The need is great, and we hope to be able to support additional companies with additional funding for the program.”

The program, one of the longest running of its kind in the nation, has a long track record of supporting innovative companies that bring new technologies to market. It provides state grants to match federal funds awarded through the highly competitive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, which help small companies develop innovations that have high potential for commercialization.

Since 2006, the One North Carolina Small Business Program has helped more than 270 companies in 45 cities, resulting in nearly one thousand jobs and bringing to market hundreds of high-tech products in a wide variety of sectors, including life sciences, chemicals, agriculture, computers, communications, military/defense, pharmaceuticals, energy, materials and others.

The program’s grants support companies at a critical stage of their growth, shortening the time needed to become larger, successful companies. Many recipients have said the grants are vital injections of capital they need to put their companies on a successful trajectory. Three of the grant recipients (identified with an asterisk) are life sciences companies that have also received loans from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

The following companies received grants:

  • Altis Biosystems of Durham: $75,000.00 to develop and optimize novel methods for generating fluorescent protein-based cell lines to promote healthy human intestine physiology and facilitate treatment of human diseases. This SBIR project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Atom Bioworks of Cary: $72,054.11 to develop a rapid COVID-19 detection kit using a proprietary patented DNA nanostructure, the Pattern-Recognition Enhanced Sensing and Therapeutics (PEST) concept. This SBIR project is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
  • AURA Technologies of Raleigh: $75,000.00 to develop a new wearable device for soldiers that reduces cumbersome and potentially dangerous bulk, weight, and snag-prone cable connections in current wearable devices. This SBIR project is sponsored by the Department of the Army, Department of Defense.
  • Baebies * of Durham: $56,216.07 to develop a new rapid and cost-effective medical test to screen newborn babies for mucopolysaccharidoses, a group of rare metabolic diseases that cause a life-threatening buildup of glycosaminoglycan complex sugars in the body. This SBIR project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services.
  • BEAR FIBER of Wilmington: $70,829.64 to develop a new method for processing clothing-grade hemp fibers that uses less water and energy, is more environmentally friendly than traditional fiber production, and could be used in the production of face masks and shoe coverings to combat COVID-19. This SBIR project is sponsored by the Department of Agriculture.
  • Bedrock Therapeutics of Raleigh: $9,565.40 to develop a method to improve the success of human corneal transplants by controlling the human body’s immune response and reduce transplant rejection. This STTR project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services.
  • BENANOVA of Cary: $75,000.00 to develop safe and cost-effective breathable coatings for respiratory personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks, that can be applied to destroy the COVID-19 virus or block harmful chemicals. This SBIR project is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
  • BioMojo of Cary: $46,715.75 to develop cutting-edge human modeling software that provides whole-body simulations of humans for medical, design, and other uses. This SBIR project is sponsored by the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense.
  • EpiCypher * of Durham: $75,000.00 to develop a fast, quantitative and ultra-sensitive analytic procedure for mapping proteins used in protein-based therapeutics. This SBIR project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Innatrix of Durham: $73,551.19 to develop rapid and reliable diagnostic tests and therapeutic treatments for COVID-19 using a cutting-edge technique for directed protein evolution. This SBIR project is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
  • Mucommune of Carrboro: $36,531.01 to develop and assess an inhaled immunotherapy approach to treat COVID-19. This SBIR project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Murano Corp. of Research Triangle Park: $47,381.06 to develop a tablet-based repair management system using artificial intelligence to improve speed and accuracy in supply chain software. This SBIR project is sponsored by the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense.
  • MuukLabs of Raleigh: $51,372.35 to develop a tool that uses artificial intelligence to increase the efficiency of software testing. This SBIR project is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
  • Onda Vision Technologies of Raleigh: $39,068.09 to develop a Safety-as-a-Service product to minimize unnecessary youth fatalities, reduce medical costs and minimize the risk of long-term health conditions associated with exertional heat stroke. This SBIR project is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
  • OpiAID of Wilmington: $74,465.42 to develop an advanced wearable device to aid in treatment for opioid abuse by detecting biological indicators of overdose, withdrawal and relapse, allowing for more effective prevention and treatment. This SBIR project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Perotech of Chapel Hill: $17,711.14 to design new solar cells that are low cost, flexible, efficient, lightweight and capable of generating electricity across different substrates. This SBIR project is sponsored by the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense.
  • PhotoCide Protection of Apex: $16,236.11 to develop new, antimicrobial materials to reduce the spread of harmful bacteria and viruses in a variety of settings, particularly for self-disinfecting personal protection equipment against SARS-CoV-2 to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. This STTR project is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
  • Plakous Therapeutics of Winston-Salem: $72,991.96 to develop a stem cell technology for the prevention and detection of small-intestine necrosis in premature babies. This SBIR project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Predictive of Raleigh: $18,464.25 to develop artificial intelligence methods and software to improve safety of chemical products entering the marketplace. This SBIR project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Pulvinar Neuro of Durham: $13,716.56 to develop a device for studying transcranial current stimulation, a non-invasive form of brain stimulation that shows great promise for treating psychiatric disorders such as depression and schizophrenia. This SBIR project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Qatch Technologies of Chapel Hill: $30,345.41 to enhance its existing viscosity measurement technology to better determine the injectability and manufacturability of drug formulations to advance drug discovery. This SBIR project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Ramona Optics of Durham: $65,550.56 to develop its Micro-Camera Array Microscope, a gigapixel microscope that captures cellular-level detail over hundreds of square centimeters, to advance scientific discoveries. This SBIR project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Redbud Labs * of Research Triangle Park: $74,215.49 to develop a rapid and sensitive test to detect filoviruses (such as the Ebola virus) compared to other infections with similar symptoms in order to quickly diagnose and treat patients. This SBIR project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services.
  • SinnovaTek of Raleigh: $75,000.00 to develop a clean, cost-effective technology to recover and convert photoactive fruit compound residual into shelf-stable ingredients that have versatility for multiple applications in soft-solid foods and beverages. This SBIR project is sponsored by the Department of Agriculture.
  • SonoVol of Durham: $73,681.16 to build and validate a novel renal fibrosis imaging platform to advance treatments associated with chronic kidney disease. This SBIR project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Susteon of Cary: $74,989.01 to develop a direct air capture (DAC) technology for capturing and converting carbon dioxide directly from large emitting sources. This SBIR project is sponsored by the Department of Energy.
  • TeleSwivel of Durham: $21,200.63 to develop an autonomous hitch system for use in military trucks and trailers to reduce time, fuel and risk associated with the existing, outdated design. This SBIR project is sponsored by the Department of the Army, Department of Defense.
  • Triangle Biotechnology of Chapel Hill: $20,256.89 to establish a proof-of-concept using sound energy technology to improve efficiency in bacterial and fungal disease diagnostics. This SBIR project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services.
  • WISER Systems of Raleigh: $47,890.76 to develop a smart system to automatically track the location of tools, equipment, etc., within a wireless mesh network with a unique ability to work in challenging settings such as underground or around metal, for use in a variety of civilian and military settings. This SBIR project is sponsored by the Department of the Air Force, Department of Defense.

Barry Teater, NCBiotech Writer
Sun, 02/07/2021 - 14:53