May 31, 2016

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The U.S. health care system has a tremendous need for novel high- (and low-) tech solutions to increase its quality, agility and affordability.

To meet this need, the National Science Foundation (NSF) supports research and early-stage development of novel biomedical products, processes and services.

Fifty NSF-funded startups and small businesses with innovative biotech, based on fundamental research, will be on display in San Francisco June 6-9 at the 2016 BIO International Convention, the world's largest gathering of the biotechnology industry.

Companies will be part of BIO Innovation Zone, an exhibit space dedicated to early-stage companies with frontier biomedical technologies.

Small business innovation

The exhibitors are companies supported through the NSF Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program, a $188 million activity that catalyzes commercialization of high-risk technological innovations via research and development grants to small businesses and startups.

"The biotechnology industry is a fast-paced, high-stakes environment because of its critical, far-reaching human health and economic impacts," said Jesus Soriano, NSF program director. "Federally supported, fundamental scientific and engineering research plays a pivotal role in this arena, due to the government's ability to invest in high-risk projects with long-term, big-payoff potential. Companies funded by NSF SBIR/STTR have the benefit and added credibility of having undergone NSF rigorous merit review."

NSF seed funding provides the critical first step to biotech startups, while the Innovation Zone gathers potential investors, industry partners, service providers and mentors to make connections for commercialization.

The zone will also include companies supported by the National Institutes of Health SBIR/STTR program, meaning more than 100 companies in all will showcase emerging biotech at the convention.

Legacy of support

The Innovation Zone was first launched at the 2014 BIO Convention with 35 companies. Since then, it has more than tripled in size due to growing interest from the public in early-stage, federally funded projects.

NSF's role in the Innovation Zone is a continuation of a three-decade legacy of support for innovation and the high-tech small business community. In particular, large-scale trade shows provide startups and small business exhibitors with opportunities to connect with a multitude of like-minded partners and investors.

"The Innovation Zone is a prime example of effective public-private partnership established between the Federal government and the private sector for the benefit of small businesses and patients alike," Soriano said.

Read NSF company profiles on the BIOtechNow blog.

NSF-funded companies at 2016 BIO Innovation Zone

Diagnostics and Monitoring

  • Aperiomics Inc. -- identification of more than 40,000 unique genomes in one single test.
  • Cytomag -- microfluidic systems for rapid cell isolation and analysis.
  • Gamma Therapeutics -- a product platform based on a naturally occurring clotting protein in human blood that is associated with cardiovascular disease.
  • InnSight Inc. -- point-of-service device to diagnose the severity of anterior eye injures with an objective measure of ocular tear film.
  • Nanoview Diagnostics -- simple biological nanoparticles characterization.
  • MetalloPharm -- bacterial point-of-care diagnostics with a rapid, visual yes/no response.
  • MicroDevice Engineering Inc. -- faster, portable, affordable, reliable blood typing and red blood cell concentration test.
  • Montana Molecular -- genetically encoded fluorescent biosensors and probes for cell-based assays and live cell imaging.
  • NanoHybrids -- gold nanoparticles for functionalization and antibody conjugation.
  • Pharmaseq Inc. -- radio p-chip for real-time, intracellular sensing in living cells.
  • ROPAmedics LLC -- non-invasive device to objectively measure acute pain.
  • Sanguina, LLC -- patient-operated, color-based, disposable and affordable diagnostic self-test for anemia.

Drug Discovery and Development

  • AxumBIo -- genome engineering of model organisms for a novel anti-parasite drug discovery platform.
  • Carmot Therapeutics Inc. -- rapid identification of novel drugs through evolutionary lead-identification paradigm.
  • Extend Biosciences Inc. -- drug discovery and delivery platform technology that improves pharmacokinetic properties of peptides and proteins.
  • Longevity Biotech Inc. -- peptide technology for development and delivery of new drugs.
  • LayerBio -- stabilization of small molecule, protein and nucleic acid therapeutics within an ultrathin polymer film for controlled release to target tissue.
  • Nano3d Biosciences Inc. -- tissue engineering technology based on magnetic nanoparticles for better testing of drug candidates.

Engineering Biology

  • Enevolv -- the engineering of better microbes to produce bio-based chemicals.
  • Ginkgo Bioworks -- a foundry for flexible industrialized organism engineering.
  • IGG -- technology to produce hypoallergenic peanuts devoid of the most common allergens.
  • PhylloTech LLC -- innovative biopesticides to inhibit diseases but limit environmental impact.

Manufacturing and Distribution

  • Advanced Polymer Monitoring Technologies Inc. -- a new tool for biopharmaceutical stability analysis.
  • Boston Mountain Biotech -- a way to reduce host cell protein load in downstream processing through targeted cell line modifications.
  • ConsortiEX -- software and services to manage ordering, distribution and tracking of pharmaceuticals for hospitals and affiliated networks.
  • Continuus Pharmaceuticals Inc. -- pharmaceutical manufacturing technologies to deliver more affordable medications to patients faster and with better quality.
  • Covaris -- tools and technologies to improve pre-analytical sample preparation, enable novel drug formulations, and manage compounds in drug development.
  • Life Magnetics -- RNA isolation and quantification with graphene magnetic beads.
  • Miromatrix Medical Inc. -- development of a biological mesh for hernia repair.
  • Protein Dynamic Solutions LLC -- protein characterization for development of viable, stable biological drug products.
  • Tangible Science -- contact lens coating that maintains the tear film for more comfortable contact lenses.
  • Teselagen -- DNA design and fabrication integrating modern cloning, PCR, direct synthesis and gene editing methodologies.
  • Vaxess Technologies Inc. -- a silk biopolymer platform to enable storage and distribution of vaccines.

Treatments

  • Arytha Biosciences -- therapeutics using nanoscale particles that mimic properties and functions of living cells and organisms.
  • Camras Vision Inc. -- new ophthalmic medical device for people with glaucoma.
  • Cardiovate Inc. -- technology that replaces damaged or obstructed blood vessels with healthy tissue without using human cells or drugs.
  • Gigagen Inc. -- a way to capture complete immune repertoires as DNA and express them as millions-diverse recombinant protein libraries.
  • Glauconix -- a developing approach for ex-vivo, dynamic 3D human tissue models.
  • Hospi Corporation -- practical, high-impact medical devices that enhance terminal patient comfort and well-being, ease caregiver burden, and reduce cost.
  • Inserogen Inc. -- treatments for orphan diseases such as AAT deficiency and cystic fibrosis.
  • Lambdavision Inc. -- protein-based retinal implant to restore vision to people with age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.
  • LAP IQ -- biodegradable medical device solutions for laparoscopic surgery.
  • NanoValent Pharmaceuticals, Inc. -- targeted nanoparticle-based, drug delivery technology to re-position and enhance cancer therapies.
  • Prolynx -- drug-delivery technology to extend half-life of proteins, peptides and small molecules.
  • Otomagnetics -- non-invasive drug delivery to the hard-to-reach middle and inner ear.
  • Remedium Technologies -- care for severe hemorrhage control.
  • Stem Cell Theranostics -- genetically targeted therapies for heart failure.
  • Tevido Biodevices -- custom, bioprinted nipple areola grafts made from a person's own cells for breast cancer survivors.

About the NSF small business programs

At NSF, SBIR/STTR is an approximately $188 million program that catalyzes commercialization of high-risk technological innovations via research and development grants to small businesses and startups. In addition, NSF supports faculty in translational research activities through the PFI:AIR- Technology Translation program.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Sarah Bates, NSF, (703) 292-7738, sabates@nsf.gov

Program Contacts
Jesus V. Soriano, NSF, (703) 292-7795, jsoriano@nsf.gov

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