Here are just a few of the successful companies that have received funding from NIAID Small Business Programs to help them advance their innovative technologies. These summaries are drawn from NIH’s Small Business Success Stories portal.
BlueWillow Biologics is working to develop vaccines that have traditionally been difficult to make, including a vaccine for anthrax and one for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), a virus that mostly infects children and the elderly.
Years of vaccine research have also led to a very different but timely product. NanoBio Protect is an over the counter nasal antiseptic that reduces the risk of respiratory infection. BlueWillow CEO David Peralta describes it as “alcohol-free hand sanitizer for your nose.”
Learn more about the company's research at BlueWillow Biologics and in NIH’s June 30, 2020 story Vaccine Company Develops Nasal Antiseptic That Kills Coronavirus in Lab Studies.
Lyndra Therapeutics has developed a new form of capsule that can release medication not over the course of a day, but over a week or longer. The company is using the platform to develop ultra-long-acting medications that could enable patients to replace their daily drug regimens with taking a single pill once a week, once every other week, or even once a month.
Lyndra is researching how to apply their technology to HIV, organ transplants, and malaria. Other applications include ultra-long-acting oral medications for schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, hypertension, opioid use disorder, and contraceptives.
Find out more about Lyndra Therapeutics and read NIH’s June 10, 2020 story Weekly Pill Formulation Could Help Treat Schizophrenia, HIV, Malaria, and More.
In engineering, an actuator turns a signal into mechanical action or motion. Actuated Medical applies knowledge of actuation and materials to improve medical devices and patient outcomes.
They have commercialized two products through the SBIR program: GentleSharp and NeuralGlider. GentleSharp vibrates the needle with low-frequency motion, making needle insertion smoother and less painful. NeuralGlider uses quiet vibrations to reduce potential damage when applying neural implants to the brain.
Sylvatica Biotech, a North Charleston-based company, is trying to extend the shelf-life of organs for transplantation by freezing them—something that currently damages organs beyond use due to ice crystal formation. Sylvatica is working on ways to protect organ cells and tissues from ice crystal damage.
The company recently cryopreserved a section of liver for five days, extending its shelf life ten times. These shelf life extensions will not only save more lives, they could help doctors ensure an organ is healthy so it won’t be rejected.
Find out more about Sylvatica Biotech and check out NIH’s March 20, 2020 story Advances in Cryo Medicine Could Extend the Shelf Life of Donated Organs.
The biotherapeutic company GigaGen has developed a new way to screen for drug candidates, with the promise that it will lead to the discovery of more potent, less toxic treatment options targeting a variety of diseases.
GigaGen is currently developing a less toxic alternative to the drug Ipilimumab, which treats patients with late-stage skin cancer. GigaGen’s ultimate goal is to develop a new generation of drugs to treat all forms of immune system disorders.
Learn about the company’s research at GigaGen and NIH’s March 16, 2020 story Pharmaceutical Company Aims to Develop Better Drugs for Immune System Disorders.
The traditional gold-standard test for influenza vaccine potency, known as SRID or single radial immunodiffusion, is time consuming, labor-intensive, and imprecise. It also requires specialized reagents derived from sheep’s blood.
Using NIAID SBIR funds, InDevR built a faster, more accurate vaccine potency test. InDevR’s VaxArray® Platform is a table-top sized imaging unit that provides vaccine potency test results 24 times faster and 100 times more sensitive than that of SRID.
Find out more about InDevR and read NIH’s February 14, 2020 story Fast and Accurate Vaccine Potency Testing on a Machine the Size of a Desktop Printer.
Diagnostics for the Real World
Diagnostics for the Real World (DRW) was founded in 2002 to develop tools for monitoring infectious diseases in rural areas with limited infrastructure. DRW used SBIR funds to develop easy dip-stick tests for HIV, Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV).
After a clinician draws a patient’s blood and separates out the plasma, DRW’s Simple Amplification Based Assay (SAMBA) device can either give an HIV diagnosis or give a semi-quantitative viral load reading.
Learn about Diagnostics for the Real World and get details in NIH’s February 9, 2020 story A Molecular Test at the End of a Dirt Road—HIV Testing For the Resource Poor.
Mapp BioPharmaceutical was founded in 2003 to develop antibody-based drugs. NIAID small business grant funds helped the company show that antibodies were a promising treatment option to combat viral infections such as Marburg.
The team previously used NIAID SBIR funds to develop its drug Zmapp, which was administered for both compassionate use and in a Phase I clinical trial during the 2013 to 2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Recently the company has identified an antibody candidate against Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).
Find more on Mapp BioPharmaceutical’s research in NIH’s January 31, 2020 story BioPharm Company Tackles “Neglected” Infectious Diseases.
With support from a series of NIAID small business grants, ImmuNext has focused on reducing the early drug development risk for pharmaceuticals that control a malfunctioning immune system. Both immune overreaction, such as in autoimmune diseases, and underreaction, as in cancers, lead to disease.
The company’s drugs treat cancer and prevalent autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
Check out ImmuNext research and read NIH’s January 31, 2020 story Small Company Makes Big Strides in Treating Autoimmune Diseases and Cancers.
Sanaria hopes to use its new biotechnology to protect people against malaria and perhaps someday eradicate the disease for good. Their unique malaria vaccine uses intact parasites, weakened to prevent illness, and dissected directly from infected mosquitoes.
Sanaria has conducted more than 30 clinical trials in the U.S., Europe, and in seven African countries. Five of these trials showed 100 percent effectiveness against malaria infection. After Phase III trials and licensing, the vaccine could be available as early as 2022.
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