The U.S. Small Business Administration has joined the ranks of those who really admire a small business in Durham.

Executives of Parion Sciences collected a Tibbetts Award from the SBA at a recent ceremony on the steps of the White House.

The SBA said the development-stage biopharmaceutical company got the award, affectionately referred to as the “Tibbie,” for its ability to turn federal research grants into technical innovations with economic impact.

Parion, a portfolio company of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, is developing treatments for problems with the body’s mucus production, primarily in the eyes and lungs. Mucus is an important defense material to protect sensitive bodily tissues.

The privately held company was founded in 1999 on technology from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It has received grant funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics, Inc., a non-profit drug discovery and development affiliate of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The Tibbetts Award is named for Roland Tibbetts, who was instrumental in developing the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program that has proven to be a lifesaver for many small life science companies like Parion.

“The Tibbetts Award recognizes Parion’s commitment to scientific excellence” said Paul Boucher, Parion’s president. “We are honored to be recognized by the SBA with this prestigious award. The National Institutes of Health SBIR program has been instrumental in the progression of multiple Parion novel therapies from concept to the clinic.”

Parion has received nine SBIR grants to develop five different therapies for unmet medical needs in pulmonary, ophthalmic, and oral diseases. Boucher said the SBIR grants generated key proof-of-concept data leading to follow-on investments through several corporate partnerships.

M. Ross Johnson, Parion’s co-founder, and Bill Thelin, executive director of research, accepted the Tibbie award June 16 in Washington, D.C.

(C) N.C. Biotechnology Center