Six Wisconsin companies who developed technologies ranging from defense products and education software to novel agricultural pest control methods will each receive a $100,000 grant, from a combination of state and federal funds, to commercialize their innovations.
Among the businesses to receive funding is NanoAffix Science, a Wauwatosa-based company that developed graphene-based sensors to detect contaminants in drinking water such as lead.
The companies receiving the grants include:
- AmebaGone Inc. of Madison is developing proprietary technologies that use a novel biocontrol method to destroy intractable bacterial infections for agriculture and human health applications.
- Imbed Biosciences Inc. of Fitchburg is a privately held medical device company emerging as a leader in the development of advanced therapies for the treatment of burns, chronic ulcers, gastrointestinal defects and soft-tissue repair.
- NanoAffix Science of Wauwatosa has developed technology for real time detection of contaminants in drinking water. Graphene-based sensors with nanometer thick layers enable rapid and inexpensive quantitative onsite testing for lead in tap water.
- NCD Technologies of Madison specializes in engineering and optimizing new diamond and diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings for new applications. NCD Technologies’ coating technologies enable the coating of standard and generally un-coatable parts.
- Stem Pharm of Madison leverages its expertise in biomaterials and cellular interactions to develop high-value applications of organoids (3D in vitro models) for drug discovery and cell-friendly coatings for the manufacture of cell-based therapies.
- Filament Games of Madison develops award-winning digital learning games. For this award, Filament is developing RoboCo, a virtual robotics sandbox designed to make engineering education fun, easy and affordable.
These six companies were selected to receive funding through the federal Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs, which allow small businesses to explore their technological potential while providing these businesses with the incentive to profit from the commercialization of their inventions.
Funds earned by Wisconsin companies are matched by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation through the SBIR Advance program. This is the 16th round of SBIR Advance funding since this collaboration by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC) began in 2014.
“Innovation is one of the key ingredients for supporting our future economic potential and a critical piece of emerging from the challenges caused by COVID-19,” WEDC vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation Aaron Hagar said in a statement. “SBIR Advance helps those businesses innovative enough to capture highly competitive federal funding to convert their research into new products and businesses growth,.
Over the past six years, 111 awards totaling nearly $8.8 million have been given. Those businesses reported obtaining more than $30 million in additional capital since receiving the grants, according to a press release.
The U.S. government created SBIR/STTR programs to stimulate domestic high-tech innovation, providing $2.5 billion in federal research funding each year. Because those funds cannot be used for commercialization activities, the SBIR Advance program fills the gap.
Funds can be used to pursue market research, customer validation, intellectual property work or other areas that speed commercialization. SBIR Advance grant recipients receive CTC staff support available throughout the commercialization process, including Lean Startup training, business plan review and other consulting.