RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – The North Carolina Biotechnology Center provided 21 grants and loans to universities, biotech companies and other organizations totaling more than $ 1.9 million in the fourth fiscal quarter.
The awards, awarded in April, May, and June, will support life science research, technology commercialization, and entrepreneurship across North Carolina. The funding will also help universities and companies attract additional funding from other sources.
Five biological companies received Small Business Research Loans totaling $ 1 million to promote its research, product development, and commercial viability.
- Belhaven biopharma from Raleigh received $ 250,000 to fund in vivo research on its first drug candidate, dry powder, intranasal adrenaline for the treatment of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction.
- EncepHeal Therapeutics from Winston-Salem received $ 150,000 for the selection of a clinical candidate drug that reduces the risk of cardiotoxicity. The company is developing low molecular weight atypical dopamine transporter inhibitors as cocaine replacement therapy.
- Helixomer of Raleigh has received $ 100,000 to support the production of its new anticoagulant and reverse agent for use in preclinical research and bioanalytical test development.
- Durham-based NabGen has received $ 250,000 to develop a scalable bio-manufacturing process and begin pilot production of its molecules. The company’s technology could temporarily “block” neutralizing antibodies that could reduce the effectiveness of gene therapy.
- RainBIO of Raleigh received $ 250,000 to support initial process development, manufacturing, and regulatory filing for a recombinant adeno-associated virus gene therapy strategy to prevent and reverse vision loss often associated with lysosomal storage disorders.
Economic Development Award
Durham County received the $ 100,000 Economic Development Award to support staff training and undergraduate internships for local students in GRAYL a new laboratory in Research Triangle Park. GRAIL is an innovative medical company dedicated to detecting cancer early when it can be cured.
Portfolio Companies Raise $ 90 Million
Fourteen biotech companies that previously received loans from the Biotech Center raised $ 90.6 million in additional funding from other sources in the fourth quarter, according to a study by Life Science Intelligence.
More than half of this amount was in Durham. Humacyte, which received up to $ 50 million in secured debt financing from a Silicon Valley bank, at the close of which $ 20 million was funded. Humacyte develops universally implantable bioengineered tissues and human organs.
Another Durham company Baby, raised $ 9.5 million in capital through Series B venture funding, totaling nearly $ 28.3 million to date. Baebies conducts newborn screening and pediatric tests for a wide range of medical conditions.
Third Durham Company, Izolere Bio, a subsidiary of Duke University, has raised $ 7 million in seed funding from lead investor Nortpond Ventures. Funding will support the development, scale-up and commercialization of Isolere purification technology for adeno-associated viral vectors used in gene therapy.
Extended animal diagnostics of Morrisville has also raised $ 7 million in venture capital to develop its rapid diagnostic and data collection platform for animal and human health. Mountain Group Partners led the round, which included new investors Alexandria Venture Investments and Herbert Group Ltd., as well as Intersouth Partners from Durham, Murphy Family Ventures from Wallace, Labcorp from Burlington and others.
During the fourth quarter, eight universities received 15 grants totaling $ 843,961 for the development of biological research.
The awards were presented in three programs: FLASH grantsthat support creative ideas that show early signs of commercial potential; Translation Research Grantsthat fund projects that investigate potential commercial applications or initiate early commercial development of university inventions in the life sciences; and Innovation Impact Grantsthat support the acquisition of research equipment for major businesses, fostering innovation.
Universities received nine FLASH grants totaling $ 175,765:
- Appalachian State University received $ 20,000 to test two approved drugs, procarbazine and dasatinib, to see if they suppress cholesterol responses of the cytochrome P450 27A1 enzyme, while maintaining the enzyme’s role in vitamin D3 metabolism. A new strategy for the treatment of breast cancer is to lower 27-hydroxycholesterol levels by inhibiting the enzyme.
- The state of Appalachia received $ 19,543 to develop nanoreactor technology that can produce peptides faster at commercially significant scales while maintaining the required purity.
- East Carolina University has received $ 20,000 to develop a new therapeutic vaccine platform that will target SARS-CoV-2 viruses during active infection, regardless of the strain. The therapeutic drug is designed to block viral replication and facilitate virus-specific immune responses.
- North Carolina State University of Agriculture received $ 18,000 to develop a device to remove the PFAS environmental pollutant from water.
- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received $ 20,000 to develop a new patient-friendly dosing method for oral administration of therapeutic microbes to treat gastrointestinal conditions.
- Charlotte from the University of North Carolina received $ 20,000 to develop a new method for separating and analyzing carbohydrates, including glycans attached to proteins. Carbohydrates have tremendous structural diversity, and many important biological pathways (probably including entry into SARS-CoV-2 cells) take advantage of this.
- UNC Charlotte has received $ 18,222 to develop software that will allow scientists to quickly incorporate information about recently published scientific discoveries into their new research.
- UNC Charlotte received $ 20,000 to study the key determinants of protein expression in malaria, which helped identify potential targets for new therapeutics against malaria.
- The University of North Carolina at Wilmington has received $ 20,000 to synthesize and test inhibitors of a critical microbial enzyme in an effort to discover new antibacterial or antifungal compounds.
Universities received five translation research grants totaling $ 531,020:
- Duke University Medical Center received $ 106,642 to develop a flexible therapy needle delivery system designed to navigate the bony spine.
- East Carolina University has received $ 110,000 to develop a new molecule that can make the immune system recognize and eliminate melanoma tumors.
- North Carolina State University has received $ 110,000 to research a new biomaterial that mimics platelet function to treat bleeding after injury.
- UNC-Chapel Hill received $ 110,000 to develop a new speech therapy device to help patients with speech impairments.
- UNC-Chapel Hill received $ 94,378 to develop a new X-ray delivery method for dental computed tomography.
- One University in North Carolina received an innovation support grant of $ 137,176 to support the purchase of a state-of-the-art fast scanning microscope for its cell and molecular imaging center. This equipment will significantly speed up the collection of research data and will serve researchers from several departments of the university.
(C) NC Biotechnology Center