Loans from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center totaling $1 million will help three bioscience companies develop novel products for better human health.

The awards, made in the first quarter of the Center’s 2018-19 fiscal year, will support development of therapies for type 1 diabetes and a chronic skin disorder, and a medical device for better hemodialysis in patients with kidney disease.

  • Avior of Cary received a $250,000 Small Business Research Loan to support pre-clinical and regulatory activities for its novel treatment for chronic kidney-associated prurigo nodularis, a highly itchy skin disease. The company’s novel nanoparticle and thin-film formulation technology offers rapid-onset-of-action, avoidance of first-pass metabolism and high bioavailability of candidate therapeutics.
  • Dualogics of Chapel Hill received a $250,000 Small Business Research Loan to optimize its lead product candidate, a treatment for type 1 diabetes and other T-cell mediated diseases. The novel bispecific antibody therapy will be tested for efficacy in mouse models of T cell-mediated diseases.
  • InnAVasc Medical of Durham received a $500,000 Strategic Growth Loan to support a U.S.-based clinical study of its hemodialysis graft required for FDA and European Union approval. The medical device is an immediate-access graft that assures error-free cannulation (needle insertion) and reduces bleeding and perforation risks for hemodialysis patients.

There were 15 Biotechnology Event Sponsorships awarded to 10 organizations across the state during the quarter, ranging from $510 to $3,000, for a total of $34,926.

Six postdocs also received the Pfizer-NCBiotech Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship in Gene Therapy. That program is a partnership between Pfizer NCBiotech, supporting the scientific and professional development of exceptional postdoctoral fellows interested in establishing careers in gene therapy.

Competitive awards fund two-year fellowships that enable early career scientists to conduct research in the laboratories of gene therapy-related investigators at any North Carolina university. Details on those Fellows are forthcoming.

Company follow-on funding

The first quarter was a robust funding period for life science companies in North Carolina, with 82 companies raising $952.5 million from public and private sources.

Of that total, $34.8 million went to 25 companies that previously received loans from NCBiotech.

Leading the way for those 25 portfolio companies was Morrisville-based Locus Biosciences, which raised $7 million in venture capital, and Durham-based Cereius, which raised $6.5 million in venture capital.

(C) N.C. Biotechnology Center