Semba Biosciences among 8 companies to receive SBIR grant

Semba BiosciencesSemba Biosciences, a University Research Park resident company, was one of eight Wisconsin companies to receive $75,000 grants from the SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) Advance Program, a $1 million initiative that provides capital to entrepreneurs to help commercialize high-tech innovation.

High-tech companies get commercialization boost via $75,000 grants

A novel treatment to heal chronic wounds is among the innovations being funded through the second round of grants from the SBIR Advance Program, a $1 million initiative that provides capital to entrepreneurs to help commercialize high-tech innovation.SBIR Advance partners Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the UW-Extension Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC) selected eight winning proposals—in addition to the seven previously funded last fall—to receive $75,000 each.

The wound treatment is being developed by NitricGen Inc. The Madison-based company is pioneering technology for producing gaseous nitric oxide to heal wounds including diabetic foot ulcers, which lead to poor quality of life for roughly 1 million patients a year and more than 80,000 amputations annually in the U.S.

Like other SBIR Advance grant recipients, NitricGen will receive CTC training and individualized assistance. CTC consultants and local mentors support recipients through Lean Startup training, commercialization plan development and review, matching products with market needs, and other customized assistance.

“This program is perfect for helping early-stage companies like NitricGen make meaningful progress towards commercialization at a time when funding is at its tightest,” said Fred Montgomery, one of the company’s co-founders. “The state SBIR matching award will allow our company to develop a robust commercialization plan, which will improve the likelihood of our raising investor funding and develop a successful phase II SBIR proposal.”

Other businesses selected in the most recent round of grants include Radom Corp. of Hales Corners, in Milwaukee County; Northside Enterprises of Black Creek, in the Fox Valley; and five other Madison-based companies: Swallow Solutions, AmebaGone LLC, Semba Biosciences, Medical Engineering Innovations Inc. and inseRT MRI. Half of the recipients are high-tech medical companies.

They are among the Wisconsin companies already receiving federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants. The federal government created those programs to stimulate domestic high-tech innovation that can be commercialized, providing $2.7 billion of federal research funding each year. Those federal funds may be used only for technology development.

SBIR Advance aims to fill critical funding gaps for activities such as market research, customer validation, patent development and regulatory assessment restricted under federal awards. WEDC is funding and CTC is administering SBIR Advance, which was launched in July.

“Competition was intense, which illustrates the demand for what this program offers,” said CTC Director Bon Wikenheiser. “SBIR Advance helps early-stage companies focus on customer development and validation and secure further private and federal funding. It also prepares them to commercialize products and obtain customers.”

“Once again, SBIR Advance is playing a vital role in helping early-stage Wisconsin companies take that next step toward commercialization,” said Reed Hall, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development organization. “Through this joint effort with CTC, we are filling a crucial gap for companies that have qualified for federal funding but still need assistance with areas that cannot be funded with federal dollars.”

For information on SBIR Advance, visit www.wisconsinsbir.org or contact Todd Strother, program manager, at todd.strother@uwex.edu.

SBIR Advance is part of a new Start-Seed-Scale (S3) initiative WEDC is pursuing with the help of the UW System and other business leaders throughout the state to remove barriers to high-tech commercialization. Under the S3 umbrella, WEDC and its economic development partners are implementing financial and operational assistance programs designed specifically to address Wisconsin’s business startup and seed-funding challenges. One such initiative—also a collaborative effort between WEDC and the UW System—is a seed fund called Ideadvance also managed by UW-Extension’s CTC. Selected SBIR Advance participants have joined the Ideadvance cohort in Lean Startup training.

– Re-posted from the Wisconsin Technology Council

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