The North Carolina Biotechnology Center awarded 21 grants and loans totaling $2.5 million to companies, universities and nonprofit organizations across the state during the third quarter of its 2015-2016 fiscal year ending March 31.

The funding will support research infrastructure, product development and commercialization, and business and technology events – all vital to growing the state’s bioscience industry and creating high-paying jobs.

Four bioscience companies received loans totaling $1.25 million to support product research and commercialization:

  • A $500,000 Strategic Growth Loan to bioMASON of Research Triangle Park will support the commercialization of technology that reduces energy use in the building and construction industry by growing better, cleaner, and cost-effective biologically based cement for pre-cast and masonry building materials.
  • A $250,000 Small Business Research Loan to Mimetics of Durham will support the development of equipment incorporating company technology that solves critical problems for bioprocessing and commercial fermentation. Mimetics will also continue development of a new type of anti-fungal treatment.
  • A $250,000 Small Business Research Loan to BioMedomics of Research Triangle Park will support the development of a low-cost, point-of-care test for hemoglobin variants in blood, to aid in effective treatment decisions for sickle cell disease.
  • A $250,000 Small Business Research Loan to Locus Biosciences of Raleigh will support the further development of novel antibiotics.

Six universities received seven Institutional Development Grants totaling $1.2 million for the purchase of research equipment that serves multiple investigators:

  • East Carolina University received $142,421 for an automated digital slide scanner for the tissue science and translational pathology core facility to streamline operations and enhance productivity in human disease research programs at ECU.
  • Davidson College received $70,768 for an isothermal titration calorimeter that will allow researchers to study interactions between large molecules. This equipment is necessary for the discovery of more effective influenza treatments and for studies of tumor invasion and metastasis in cancer.
  • North Carolina Central University received $200,000 for the development of a high-throughput screening zebrafish core facility that will enable researchers to perform drug efficacy and toxicity screening using the zebrafish model. Studies will be aimed at discovery of new drugs to treat breast cancer and pathologic anemia.
  • Duke University Medical Center received $199,507 for high-performance computing equipment that will allow researchers to reproducibly analyze large genomic data sets for biological, biomedical and clinical research studies.
  • North Carolina State University received $192,000 to add an analytical ultracentrifuge to its structural biochemistry core facility. The equipment will advance research in an array of projects including discovery of new cancer drugs, finding new ways to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and enhancing biomass production in plants.
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received $200,000 for a high-content digital cell imager that will allow researchers to study the effects of drug candidates on cellular processes. The instrument will enable high-throughput studies to identify new drug treatments for cancer, neurological disorders and infectious diseases.
  • UNC also received $200,000 for a light sheet fluorescence microscope capable of quickly producing three-dimensional images of whole mouse tissues or patient biopsies. The system is necessary for developmental studies of heart and brain disease in mouse models.

Other Q3 Awards

Baebies of Durham received $3,000 to host a business intern through the Industrial Internship Program.

The UNC General Administration received a $5,000 Grantsmanship Training Grant to support faculty and graduate student attendance at a defense medical research conference, “Military Medicine in a Complex Environment” which was co-sponsored by the National Defense Industry Association and the US Army’s Medical Research and Materiel Command.

The Biotechnology Center also underwrote eight biotechnology meetings and events with grants totaling $33,560.

(C) N.C. Biotechnology Center