Up-and-Coming AxoSim Hiring Scientists After Landing Research Grants to Speed Research
8/15/2016 6:13:26 AM
August 15, 2016
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
AxoSim, a biotech company headquartered in New Orleans, recently received two government grants totaling $455,000.
The company was founded in 2014 by two Tulane University researchers, J. Lowry Curley, co-founder and chief operating officer, and Michael Moore, co-founder and chief science officer. Lowry received his doctorate at Tulane in biomedical engineering, performed postdoctoral studies in Belgium, and returned to New Orleans to commercialize AxoSim’s technology. Moore is a professor of Biomedical Engineering at Tulane, and received his doctorate from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
AxoSim’s technology, which is patent-pending, is a nerve-on-a-chip, which uses micro engineering and biomaterials to create a 3D cell-based model that mimics living tissue. The tech platform will theoretically provide an alternative to animal testing, and, according to the company’s website, “pharmaceutical companies will have access to high content data faster and earlier than currently possible.”
The first grant the company received is for $225,000, and is a National Science Foundation Small Business Technology Transfer grant. Once a company receives a Phase I SBIR/STTR grant, it is then eligible to apply for a Phase II grant up to $750,000. Businesses that receive Phase II grants are then eligible for up to $500,000 in matching funds with third-party investors or sales qualifiers.
The second grant, for $230,000, is from the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS). In July 2011, NASA chose CASIS to increase the use of the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory through 2020.
“The grants from the NSF and CASIS provide critical capital and resources to demonstrate the incredible potential of our technology as models for neurological diseases,” said Curley, to The New Orleans Advocate. “Our groundbreaking platform will be an innovative tool for pharmaceutical companies in developing the next generation of cures for neurodegenerative diseases such as MS.”
The year the company was founded, in 2014, it won the Louisiana BioChallenge business pitch, which gave it national recognition and a $25,000 prize. The money from the NSF is expected to be used to generate more data on how the company’s technology can improve drug development, which will then be used to develop more customers.
The CASIS grant
was for a project titled, “3D neural microphysiological system for investigating myelination processes in microgravity.” It is designed to show that the company’s technology can be used to study disorders that affect myelin, an insulating layer around nerve fibers, specifically amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis (MS), and Alzheimer’s disease.
As the result of these funds, the company plans to hire at least two people to work on these projects. Two positions posted are Laboratory Scientist (Salary: $35K – $40K) and Research Scientist (Salary: $45K – $50K).
“The National Science Foundation supports small businesses with the most innovative, cutting-edge ideas that have the potential to become great commercial successes and make huge societal impacts,” said Barry Johnson, director of the National Science Foundation’s division of industrial innovation and partnerships, to The Advocate. “We hope that this seed funding will spark solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time across all areas of science and technology.”