Image credit: PhylloTech LLCTwenty-four small businesses funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) with innovative biomedical technologies based on fundamental research will be showcased later this month, June 23-26, in San Diego at the 2014 BIO International Convention, the world's largest gathering of the biotechnology industry.
The companies will be part of the newly established Innovation Zone, an exhibit space dedicated to businesses with cutting-edge biomedical technologies supported by NSF's Directorate for Engineering's Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs.
Ready for the next phase
While still early-stage, the companies are primed for investor and partnering opportunities. Nearly 50 companies in all will make up the Innovation Zone, a space jointly created by NSF, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This event follows on the heels of the 12th Annual BIO Investor Forum, for which NSF partnered with BIO to help connect entrepreneurs with investors.
"Small businesses are incubators for the most pioneering biomedical technology," said Grace Wang, director of the NSF Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP). "World-class gatherings like the BIO International Convention give SBIR/STTR entrepreneurs, who have been vetted by NSF's rigorous merit review system, an opportunity to make connections that could help them get one step closer to the market."
Inaugural zone hot topics
The Innovation Zone companies span a broad portfolio of fundamental scientific and engineering research headed for commercialization.
They include the discovery of new drug candidates, novel treatments for health conditions such as blood-borne toxins and diabetes, detection and monitoring of cancers and other illnesses, and the cost-effective engineering of organisms to benefit society.
"Each of these technologies holds the promise to significantly improve people's lives," said Jesus Soriano, a program director for NSF's SBIR/STTR program. "That's why high-risk, high-reward funding is so important--because the potential long-term gain is enormous for society and investors alike. Thanks to our partnership with BIO and NIH, these technologies are being given the exposure they need to compete in the market."
NSF's role in the Innovation Zone is a continuation of a three-decade legacy of support for the small business community. In particular, large-scale trade shows provide exhibitors with opportunities to connect with a multitude of likeminded prospective partners and investors. Like the Eureka Park TechZone at the 2014 International CES® and the NSF pavillion at the upcoming International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) conference, special exhibit spaces such as Innovation Zone make these up-and-coming technologies easier to find.