NC Biotech Center awards more than $3.3 million in grants and loans statewide

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – The North Carolina Biotechnology Center awarded 32 grants and loans totaling $3,304,543 to universities, bioscience companies and nonprofits during its fiscal fourth quarter.

The awards, presented in April, May and June, will support life science research, technology commercialization and entrepreneurship throughout North Carolina. The funding will also help universities and businesses attract follow-on funds from other sources.

Business loans

Eight bioscience companies received small business research loans totaling $1,850,000 to advance their research, product development, commercial viability and funding efforts.

  • Cytex Therapeutics (DBA CytexOrtho) of Durham has been awarded $250,000 to help support a first-in-man clinical trial for its bioabsorbable, acellular, flexible, form-fitting hip resurfacing implant designed to stimulate cellular infiltration and restoration natural cartilage tissue, bone structure and joint function.
  • Morrisville’s Epigenos Biosciences has been awarded $250,000 to develop a precision epigenetic drug for Friedreich’s Ataxia, a rare and progressive genetic condition that leads to poor neurological development and cardiac complications.
  • Raleigh’s GeneVentiv Therapeutics has received $250,000 for proof-of-concept studies of its gene therapy for the two main forms of hemophilia (types A and B), a genetic bleeding disorder.
  • Clinton’s Phinite received $250,000 to optimize a sludge drying system that converts hog waste into dried fertilizer.
  • Plakous Therapeutics of Winston-Salem has been awarded $250,000 to support an investigational new drug filing for an orally administered regenerative medicine therapy, Protego-PD, for the prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis, an inflammatory bowel disease occurring in low birth weight premature babies.
  • Hillsborough’s Quadridox has been awarded $250,000 to develop an X-ray diffraction imaging scanner for applications in pathology, including cancer detection.
  • Raleigh’s SelSym Biotech received $100,000 for the production, biocompatibility/safety studies and stability evaluation of SymClot, a hemostatic hydrogel to treat uncontrolled bleeding.
  • Chapel Hill’s Triangle Biotechnology has been awarded $250,000 to optimize the performance and stability of reagents used in acoustic sonication, or sound energy, technologies for better DNA sequencing in scientific research.

Portfolio companies raise $81.4 million

Nineteen bioscience companies that had previously received loans from the Biotech Center raised more than $81 million in follow-on funding from other sources in the fourth quarter, according to a study conducted by staff at the Biotech Center’s Life Science Intelligence. .

Accounting for nearly half of that total, Durham-based Baebies has raised more than $37.5 million in venture capital and an additional $1.2 million in two National Institutes of Health research grants. The company specializes in newborn screening and pediatric testing for congenital disorders using digital microfluidics and other technologies that require small volumes of plasma, whole blood or saliva.

Two other companies have raised significant venture capital. Raleigh’s Contego Medical has raised over $15 million and Durham’s Deep Blue Medical Advances has raised over $7 million. Contego is developing new medical devices for cardiovascular and peripheral vascular procedures that protect against embolism, a blockage of blood vessels. Deep Blue Medical develops medical devices for hernia repair.

Partnership Development Grants

The City of Holly Springs has received two Partnership Development Grants for life science projects in collaboration with growing businesses.

A $100,000 prize will help launch the Amgen Biotech Experience, a global science education program, at Holly Springs High School. The program helps teachers integrate biotechnology into their classrooms and aims to inspire local high school students to pursue careers in the life sciences through hands-on experiences. Amgen plans to create 355 new jobs in Holly Springs.

Another $200,000 prize will help raise awareness of careers in biomanufacturing and life sciences. This partnership with FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies will facilitate professional development and experiential learning opportunities for teachers and middle and high school students in Wake County schools, strengthening the local workforce development ecosystem ‘work. FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies plans to create 725 new jobs in Holly Springs.

University scholarships

Eight universities have received grants totaling just over $1.1 million to advance bioscience research.

Five universities have received FLASH grants, which support creative ideas that show early signs of commercial potential.

  • Davidson University received $25,367 to study the use of polymers containing usnic acid to increase the antimicrobial properties of polymers for the treatment of microbial infections.
  • East Carolina University received $27,500 to develop small molecule inhibitors of certain human antibodies and immune systems.
  • ECU also received $27,500 to develop a rapid test for immune cell energy consumption as an indicator of antibody production.
  • ECU also received $25,249 to develop a micelle-based delivery system for a cancer drug that is not normally soluble, allowing the drug to be delivered by injection.
  • ECU also received $27,496 to conduct a proof-of-concept study of new imaging technology to rapidly measure pulsed pressure waveforms and pulse wave velocity as predictors of stiffness. of the arterial wall.
  • High Point University received $27,500 to develop aminopyrimidines to reduce or eliminate penicillin resistance in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria.
  • HPU also received $21,000 to develop a therapeutic compound to treat cancerous peripheral nerve sheath tumors.
  • North Carolina State University has received $19,890 to study new proanthocyanidin compounds that could replace antibiotics commonly added to animal feed.
  • NC State also received $20,000 to develop a bioengineered mechano-responsive gel material to treat enterocutaneous fistula, a painful and debilitating opening between the gastrointestinal tract and the skin.
  • NC State also received $20,000 to develop several antibody-based therapies that bind to and inhibit the tumor-supporting activity of vasoactive intestinal peptide, a signaling molecule with anti-inflammatory properties.
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has received $20,000 to study the potential commercial market for a new sound therapy device that treats bacterial biofilms formed in open wounds.

Four universities received Innovation Impact Grants, which support the purchase of research equipment for core facilities at academic or nonprofit institutions that foster innovation.

  • Duke University’s Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility has received $150,000 to acquire a surface plasmon resonance instrument for rapid, high-throughput characterization of biomolecular interactions. This equipment will help researchers develop new drugs and diagnostic tests.
  • Duke University Medical Center has received $150,000 to purchase a small animal radiation system that will allow researchers to develop new radiation treatments and study the effects of radiation on normal tissue.
  • Fayetteville State University received $36,216 to purchase an imaging system that will expand research capacity and encourage collaboration at the university.
  • The Advanced Translational Pharmacology and Analytical Chemistry Laboratory at UNC-CH has received $150,000 to purchase a triple quadrupole liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry system that will provide bioanalytical support for studies at UNC and beyond. of the.
  • UNC-CH also received $111,625 to purchase a microscope to capture high-resolution images of the gut microbiome, the trillions of microorganisms and their genetic material that live in the intestinal tract and affect health and well-being. be.
  • The University of North Carolina at Wilmington has received $148,500 to acquire a continuous-flow thermal sterilizer to support the large-scale cultivation capability of the university’s Algae Resource Collection, a repository of marine microalgae living organisms used for a variety of applications such as nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals or biomass. studies.

One university has received a Translational Research Grant, which funds projects that explore potential commercial applications or initiate early commercial development of academic life science inventions.

ECU has received $110,000 to develop a gene therapy treatment for chronic limb ischemia aimed at reducing major amputations and improving survival.

Biotechnology Meeting Grants

Two universities and one nonprofit organization have received Biotechnology Meeting Grants, which support national or international life science meetings held in North Carolina.

  • The Nutrition Research Institute at UNC-CH received $10,000 for the Short Course in Nutrigenetics, Nutrigenomics, and Precision Nutrition.
  • UNC-CH also received $10,000 for the regional meeting of the Southeast Society for Developmental Biology.
  • Wake Forest University Health Sciences was awarded $10,000 for the Regenerative Medicine Foundation’s 9th Annual Essentials of Regenerative Medicine Meeting and Stem Cell Summit.
  • The North Carolina Association for Biomedical Research received $6,700 for the three Is (IACUC, IBC, and IRB): Biosafety and Research Integrity – Promoting Responsible Conduct of Research, Partnership, Ethics, Best Practices, and exploring current trends.

(C) NC Biotechnology Center

About Evelyn C. Heim

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