Next week in San Diego at the BIO International Convention, BIO will be partnering with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science foundation (NSF) to host the first-ever BIO Innovation Zone. The Zone will feature Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funded early-stage biotech companies.
The SBIR/STTR program provides U.S. federal funding to small businesses engaged in research with the potential for commercialization. Companies are rigorously vetted through the NIH and NSF SBIR review process prior to receiving the funding. The majority of participating companies in the Innovation Zone have received SBIR Phase II grants, which provide up to $1 million dollars in funding to engage in R&D that has the potential for commercialization.
Today, we spoke with Jim Powers, the CEO of Charlottesville, VA-based HemoShear, LLC, a small business supported by NIH’s SBIR program.
What is your company’s vision for impacting human health?
HemoShear’s goal is to become the world’s leading human disease biology company. We are changing the way drugs are discovered and developed, departing from traditional scientific methods and animal studies in favor of translational tissue systems that more accurately replicate human response. HemoShear collaborates with major pharma and biotechnology companies to provide a powerful lens to interpret human disease, uncover biological mechanisms and select drug candidates with superior efficacy and safety profiles. Our mission is to develop and apply first-in-class human disease systems to create safer and more effective drugs in a broad range of therapeutic areas.
How does your company differentiate itself from the competition?
No other company in the drug discovery space combines physiologically accurate disease systems with sophisticated discovery and predictive BioAnalytics and world-class interdisciplinary scientific expertise. Furthermore, unlike any other approach, HemoShear’s foundational science incorporates multiple human primary cell types and principles of physiological blood flow (hemodynamics) that have a profound influence on human cell survival, tissue metabolism and response to drugs.
How has the NIH and its various funding programs helped your company grow?
The Company has received approximately $9 million in funding from four separate institutes of the National Institutes of Health, including the largest SBIR grant ever awarded by NHLBI. NIH funding has helped HemoShear validate its vascular and liver systems, is now funding development of HemoShear’s tumor and iPSC tissue systems, and is supporting the development of comprehensive genome-based, human drug response databases for new drug discovery.
Tell us something about your company that investors might not know.
HemoShear is moving rapidly toward strategic, multi-year collaborations with select major pharma companies. This milestone demonstrates pharma’s recognition of the robustness of the HemoShear platform and HemoShear’s drug discovery value. In addition, HemoShear is accelerating development of new translational human tissue systems, including tumors and rare diseases, which will form the basis of larger, value-sharing collaborations.
What do you hope to gain out of your participation at the 2014 BIO International Convention?
We look forward to gaining wide recognition of the value of HemoShear’s science and to meeting news editors, new collaborators and new drug discovery partners.