Projects Funded by the Montana SBIR/STTR Matching Funds Program
Montana Molecular, LLC
Anne Marie Quinn
Stage 1 MSMFP funds will be used in conjunction with the completion of a National Institutes of Health Phase 1 project entitled, “Live Cell Assays to Identify and Interrogate Stressed Neurons in Models of Neurodegenerative Disease”. The goal is to develop tools to identify and interrogate stressed cells in models of neurodegenerative disease when they can still be rescued from dying.
Montana BioAgriculture, Inc.
Stage 1 MSMFP funds will be used in conjunction with the completion of a National Institutes of Food and Agriculture Phase 1 project entitled, “Curvularia: Fungal Symbiosis For Drought Protection in Wheat”. The objectives of the SBIR phase 1 research will demonstrate commercial feasibility of C. protuberta or wheat.
xD Bio, Inc.
Stage 1 MSMFP funds will be used in conjunction with the completion of Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health Phase 1 project entitled “Integrated Web Interface For Cloud-based Computational Reproducibility Using the ENCODE Analysis Pipeline Architecture”. The goals include the development of web interface for describing input parameters to run computational pipelines for varying activities.
Reflect Red Storm LLC, dba Reflex Protect
Stage 1 MSMFP funds will be used in conjunction with the completion of Phase 1 USAF AFWERZ SBIR Contract entitled “US Air Force Open Topic Award”. The specific objective of the SBIR Phase 1 project is to prove the existence of potential military application to their non-lethal active defense products and to identify actual interest for the product within the Department of Defense.
Blocky McChainerson LLC
Stage 1 MSMFP funds will be used in conjunction with the completion of National Science Foundation Phase 1 project entitled “Microservices Approach To Low-Latency Process Interaction Through Distributed Ledgers”.
NWB Sensors, Inc.
Stage 1 MSMFP funds will be used in conjunction with completion of a National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) USDA Phase I project entitled, "Intelligent Mapping of the Farm Using Low-Cost, GPS-Enabled Cameras During Existing Farm Activities". Specifically, the funds will be used to conduct a grower study focused on organic growers. The research will develop a report that will help understand how to target to reduce weed management costs.
Resodyn Corporation has received a NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Phase I SBIR award to develop a commercially-viable device (Acoustic Scaffold Bioreactor - ASB) that uses micro-scale acoustic streaming to enhance mixing and mass transfer in the interior of three-dimensional scaffolds. MSMFP Phase I funding will be used in comjunction with this NIH to evaluate the effectiveness of using acoustic resonance technology to enhance the productivity of suspension and adherent stem cell cultures conducted within biomaterial scaffolds.
MSMFP funds will enable Prime Labs to submit a Phase II proposal in two ways: (1) By providing extra development time to complete the program milestones of Phase I in time to submit the Phase II proposal in February 2019; and (2) By supplying the funds necessary to write, revise, and submit the NSF SBIR Phase Ii proposal, which covers a commercialization plan, a project proposal, and letters of support.
Meadowlark Science and Education, LLC
MSMFP Stage 1 funding will be used to assist in accomplishing the National Institute of General Medical Sciences STTR Phase I , "Improving STEM learning through digital technology simulating authentic research". The goal of the project is the creation of a biomedical sciences and STEM interactive digital learning (IDL) game using mosquito-borne diseases as its subject matter. IDL enhances learning by creating a more interactive environment that connects the digital world and the real world of the student.
Anne Marie Quinn
Montana Molecular is developing a new assay platform to identify drugs that target G-protein coupled receptors and activate beneficial effects while minimizing adverse effects. The Company developed a prototype assay in Phase I of its NIH-SBIR project and has submitted a Phase II application to further research and develop the assay. MSMFP Stage 2 funds will be used to further validate the prototype and work toward the Phase II.
MSMFP Stage 1 funding will be used to assist in accomplishing the overarching goals of the NIH-STTR Phase I project. The objective is to design and deliver topically Cav3.2 blockers that will decrease abnormal neuronal hyperactivity of intradermal Cav3.2 channels and examine their potential as novel therapeutic agents to treat paclitaxel-induced neuropathy.
Golden Helix, Inc.
Stage 1 funding will help offset expenses occurred in conjunction with the National Institute of General Medical Sciences Phase I entitled "Automated and Guided Workflows for Clinical Testing Using NGS Assays". The intention of the work is to support Clinical Cancer Workflows better. Specific goals for the Phase 1 are: (1) Curation of COSMIC Database; (2) Identify and implement automation of curation process to updates of this database; and, (3) Integration of COSMIC in the product VarSeq.
NanoValent Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Stage 2 funds will be used to assist in accomplishing the overarching goals of the NIH SBIR Phase II project to develop a novel, nanoscale technology to treat and monitor the efficacy of treatment in cancer patients. The ultimate product is proof-of-principle that an optimized nanoparticle based targeted delivery vehicle can be successfully demonstrated for the treatment of Ewing sarcoma.
Montana BioAgriculture Inc.
Stage 1 funding will allow the company to extend the time for research in the Phase I USDA project, enhancing the ability to meet objectives and demonstrate proof of concept. This will extend the work in to the spring and summer season for beatle collection, assays and field tests. Additional testing will provide results to support the Phase II proposal and ultimately commercialize the technology. Stage 2 funding will be used to continue experiments during the interim before USDA Phase II begins and to improve the beta glucan recovery process.
Stage 2 funding will be used to enhance the prospect of receiving the Phase II NASA award for space-hardened seed lasers in high spectral resolution lidar systems. The Phase II will accelerate AdvR's effort toward commercialization of its wavelength locking technology.
Agile Focus Designs
The objectives for the MSMFP Stage 2 funding are to assess three potential utility patent filings around the inventions developed during the NSF Phase I SBIR and to determine and file the most valuable one.Provisional patents may be filed on the other two as well.This will better protect the NSF Phase I and II technology and future product, provide opportunity for licensing in the future, and make outside investment from federal or private entities more probably in the future.
Yellowstone Scientific Instruments
MSMFP Stage 2 funds allowed YSI to begin sample collection for the Phase II NIH biomarker testing protocol and to continue the prototype development program while awaiting a decision on the NIH/NIDA Phase II proposal.YSI has reviewed options for optimizing the design features with its prototype development partners, Montana Manufacturing Extension Center and Ocean Optics, as the Phase I progressed and plans to continue this during the interim period.
Bridger Photonics Inc.
MSMFP Stage 1 funds complements a National Institute of Standards and Technology SBIR to prove the feasibility of a new and disruptive metrology system. The MSMFP aspect of the project proposes to develop a key capability of the metrology system essential for commercialization. This effort will design, construct, test and integrate a new electronic circuit for controlling new laser sources with low noise and high precision. The Stage 2 effort will continue development of a new electronic circuit for controlling laser sources, which is a key capability of the metrology system.
NanoValent Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
MSMFP Stage 1 funds will be used to assist in commercializing NanoValent Pharmaceutical’s technology by obtaining a “Gap Analysis” for its oncology product.This analysis will lay out preclinical to clinical development costs.The nanoparticle oncology drug being developed through this project, and funded through the current STTR NIH grant, is considered the flagship company product and the funding is critical to the product development pathway.
The project is in conjunction with a Phase 1 USDA SBIR with the goal of demonstrating technical feasibility of integrating production of one or more alternative co-products into the existing barley protein concentrate (BPC) process to add to or replace ethanol. A commercial scale production facility producing BPC plus one or more high value products would provide a stable long term market for barley growers and manufacturing in a rural area.
MSMFP Stage 1 funding allows MBAI to extend the time for research in the Phase 1 project, enhancing the ability to meet objectives and demonstrate proof of concept. The timing of the Phase 1 award does not coincide well with field seasons for bark beetles. In particular the Stage 1 funding will allow MBAI to extend work in spring and summer season for beetle collection, assays and if results warrant one or more field tests. Conducting additional testing will significantly strengthen MBAI’s ability to obtain results supporting a Phase II proposal and ultimate commercialization of the technology.
MSMFP funds enhances AdvR’s NASA Phase I “Space-hardened, seed laser for use in high spectral resolution lidar systems”, the prospect of receiving the Phase II award, and accelerate the effort toward commercialization of AdvR’s wavelength locking technology.Specifically, the MSMFP Stage 1 will be used to begin the development of integrated control electronics to make the current system compact and more user-friendly.
MSMFP Stage 1 funds complements a USDA Phase I titled “Creating an advanced, economical, environmentally friendly measurement of snow water equivalence using observed GPS signals beneath the snowpack”.The company is focused on implementing high-tech solutions to problems that face Montana in agriculture and natural resources and is using these funds to process data collected during the 2016-2017 Winter and to develop a complete commercialization plan for its GPS snow sensing technology.Overall, the funds will assist NWB Sensors in the preparation of its Phase II proposal.
MSMFP Stage 1 funds assist in accomplishing the overarching goals of a NIH STTR Phase I project. DermaXon, located in Missoula, has outlined a strategy for developing novel inhibitors of certain enzymes that are responsible for the clearance of retinoic acid as a therapeutic approach to treat ichthyosis. Ichthyosis is a family of rare and neglected genetic disorders characterized by persistently dry, rough and scaly skin.The STTR Phase I will generate the data necessary to develop the most promising selective inhibitor.Upon successful demonstration, DermaXon will seek additional private or non-dilutive investment in the research and development of this novel class of compounds for moving into human clinical trials.
S&K Global Solutions, LLC
S&K Global Solutions, LLC, Polson, has been awarded a Phase I SBIR/STTR contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to design a visualization tool, Fault Management (FM) Viewer, to address the inadequate grasp of fault management functions early in the development cycle.This tool will make it easier to see the relationship among FM concepts and to identify computational and estimation functions that can help designers to see the implications of FM decisions they are considering during system design.
S&K Global Solutions, LLC
S&K Global Solutions, LLC, Polson, has been awarded a Phase I SBIR/STTR contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to design a tool suite, the Autonomy Requirements Tester (ART), to address the difficulty of stating autonomous requirements and the links to clear testing plans in manned missions involving large distances.The S&K Team proposes to design a toolkit that helps developers test autonomy requirements and eases compliance with conventions for test construction.
Flat Earth Incorporated
Flat Earth Incorporated was awarded a SBIR grant from the National Institute of Health division on Deafness and other Communication Disorders. The project aims to create an open computational framework for developing algorithms that will help accelerate acoustic and hearing science research and permit researchers to more rapidly and easily test new algorithms with greater control, performance, and ease. The open platform will help the research community create the next generation of hearing aids and sound processors.
Antibiotic resistance among common bacterial pathogens is a serious public health problem as it compromises our ability to treat infectious disease.Promiliad Biopharma Incorporated (Alberton, MT) has received a STTR Phase I award from the National Institutes of Health to develop a natural product analog with potent antibiotic activity to combat this resistance problem. MSMFP funds will primarily be used to supplement the salary of a key researcher on the NIH project and to purchase a more efficient fermenter.
Resonon is a Bozeman company that has received a NASA SBIR Phase I award to design a satellite-based instrument that will be used to calibrate lunar irradiance. The motivation for this calibration is that it will allow the moon to be used as an exo-atmospheric calibration source for a wide range of earth-viewing instruments, thereby normalizing results and improving accuracy for earth-viewing instruments on satellites. Ultimately, this will improve weather predictions and improve the accuracy of climate change models. The MSMFP funds allow Resonon to devote additional resources to the opto-mechanical design that will benefit both this project as well as Resonon's long-term technical capability.
Advanced Microcavity Sensors
MSMFP funds were awarded in conjunction with a Phase I SBIR grant from the National Science Foundation entitled "A Miniaturized Spectral Imaging Sensor for Biomedical Diagnostics". The project aims to develop and commercialize an innovative new hyperspectral imaging sensor for early detection of skin cancer and other diseases. The primary objectives of the MSMFP funding is to enhance the performance of the technology, further commercialization efforts, and help in accomplishing Phase I SBIR goals and pursuing the Phase II NSF SBIR award. Stage 2 funds were awarded to protect and further enhance the intellectual property portfolio that AMS is developing.
Agile Focus Designs
With support from a NSF Phase I SBIR, this company is developing novel 3D microscopic imaging capability. This will enable fast observation of biological phenomena at a cost less than half of competing technologies. The MSMFP Stage 1 will provide funding to build a prototype. It will also provide basic equipment to reduce the company's costs and time associated with testing and characterization of the technology. The prototype and improved efficiency in testing will ensure a compelling Phase II application.
In collaboration with Boston University and in conjunction with a NIH Phase I, this company is developing a commercially viable ultrasound contrast reagent that will allow the noninvasive identification of newly forming abdominal adhesions after surgery. Despite the existence of several preventative commercial products, the incidence of post-surgical peritoneal adhesions has not declined over the last 20 years, and they remain a highly significant clinical problem. Successful implementation of this reagent would have significant impact because it would remove the impediment to clinical testing of anti-adhesion therapies while simultaneously improving post-surgical monitoring of the patient.
This project complements a National Institutes of Health Phase I STTR. The long-term goal of the effort is to produce a growing library of highly marketable and effective educational video games with immersive graphics and audio, challenging game play, and a well-rounded delivery of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) focused content related to environmental health. The specific objective of this MSMFP project is the development of a fully functional game module that incorporates STEM principles and current biomedical research and focuses on asthma-related health effects.
This project complements a Phase I SBIR award with the Department of Air Force to further develop a visual tire pressure indicator. The Company has eight years of experience developing visual tire pressure indicators. Research and engineering development has resulted in an existing product - an effective, patented product for civilian vehicles. The Company holds three US patents for devices with the purpose of monitoring and maintaining proper tire pressure. Popular Mechanics magazine recognized the product design with an Editor's Choice Award in 2011. RightPSI was selected to be included in the Air Force SBIR Technology Acceleration Program, one of only a handful of companies to be chosen for this pilot program aimed at increasing the likelihood of successful commercialization.
Bridger Photonics, Inc.
This projects complements a US Navy Phase I SBIR titled "Metrology of Visibly Transparent Large Aspheric Optics". Under the federal award, Bridger Photonics, Inc. will prove the feasibility of a laser-based probe capable of measuring distance with unprecendented precision. The Company will utilize MSMFP funds to develop a key capability of the metrology system that will be essential for commercialization.
Yellowstone Scientific Instruments
This project complements a National Institutes of Health National Institute on Drug Abuse SBIR Phase I to determine the feasibility of a new portable testing device for the on-site detection of substances of abuse. The primary goal of the Phase I program is to demonstrate that the surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) approach using the company's proprietary gold surface chemistry has sufficient selectivity and sensitivity for monitoring multiple metabolites in urine samples at anticipated clinical levels.
Sustainable Bioproducts is a Bozeman company working in collaboration with Montana State University and Montana Emergent Technologies, Inc. (Butte). This MSMFP Stage 1 extends the ongoing work funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) SBIR Phase I grant. The USDA research capitalizes on a proprietary process for conversion of manure to lipids for biodiesel and high value oil-based products. These MSMFP funds will be used for determining the effectiveness and value of waste from Sustainable Bioproducts process as a high-value fertilizer.
The MSMFP project is an extension of ongoing work funded by an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SBIR Phase I grant, which capitalizes on a proprietary process for conversion of municipal organic waste to lipids to biodiesel and high value oil-based products. The MSMFP funds will be used for determining the effectiveness and value of waste from the company's process as a high-value fertilizer. Residual biomass from this process has significant market value as a high-quality fertilizer based on nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium content of the biomass. Fertilizer has high demand from farmers in Montana and feedstock suppliers have expressed strong interest in this valuable biofertilizer. A primary objective of the MSMFP funding is to analyze the fertilizer and determine the economics of selling this as a secondary product from the waste to oil process.
Bridger Photonics, Bozeman, has been awarded a Phase 1 SBIR contract from the Department of Energy to develop a prototype laser sensor for airborne 3D imaging and remote gas sensing. The DoE is planning to use this sensor for environmental terrestrial monitoring research at the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment (NGEE) site near Barrow, AK. According to the Phase I work plan, the prototype sensor will be able to detect and quantify both CO2 and water vapor concentrations. Bridger intends to use MSMFP Stage 1 funding to develop new fiber laser technology which will extend the gas sensing capability of the prototype sensor to include methane. The methane sensing capability will both enhance the DoE's ability to track carbon transport at the NGEE site, and allow Bridger to pursue commercial remote gas sensing applications such as methane leak detection from pipelines, well platforms, and holding tanks for the petroleum industry.
DermaXon LLC is a Missoula company that will use this funding in conjunction with a Phase I NIH STTR award to develop a new therapeutic strategy targeted toward Alzheimer's disease. In this project, DermaXon will use inhibition of retinoic acid clearance, instead of the typical treatment with retinoic acid itself, as a novel therapeutic strategy to treat or prevent progression of cognitive impairments associated with Alzheimer's.
The MSMFP matching funds were awarded in conjunction with S2 Corporation's Phase I SBIR contract from the Naval Sea Systems Command entitled "Very Wide Bandwidth RADAR/EW Components and Characterization". This SBIR effort will evaluate S2's existing signal generation and spectrum analysis capabilities. The primary objectives of the MSMFP Stage 1 funding are to extend the performance of the technology and to pursue a Phase II SBIR award. The ultimate goal of this project is the development of a portable rugged photonic hardware system for military and commercial applications in a typical test and measurement packaging. The near-term impacts of the S2 system are to advance the state-of-the-art for Navy RF Signal Intelligence and Electronic Intelligence capabilities.
Gradient Engineering, Inc.
William Riddle III
Gradient Engineering, Inc. is a research & development firm dedicated to providing analysis, product development and testing solutions to the fiber reinforced polymer composites industry. In addition to offering services to the composites industry, the Bozeman company is developing a proprietary line of chopped natural fiber reinforcement materials. Gradient is optimizing its novel and proprietary manufacturing and surface treatment protocols that are solving the main barrier to entry issue for plant fibers in the composite materials market. These products will integrate into current chopped fiber manufacturing lines and compete directly with fiberglass for many applications. The MSMFP funding complements a SBIR Phase I from the National Science Foundation.
Resodyn Corporation, located in uptown Butte, has received a DOD Phase I SBIR from the U.S. Army to develop a novel cold chain container with a Lifetime Warranty. The container is a system that includes a passive energy efficient vessel that is used to transport cooled blood and pharmaceuticals at 40 degrees F. through hot environments at 105 degrees F. for up to three days. The system also includes a module of phase change material to passively absorb heat. The new system will save money by eliminating logistical problems associated with the current system which requires containers to be retired after only two years of service. Resodyn Corporation plans to manufacture, sell, and support the product in Butte. MSMFP matching funds will be used to produce durable all metal prototypes that were deemed too expensive to fabricate under the current DOD budget. These prototypes will provide compelling data for a strong Phase II proposal.
Promiliad Biopharma Incorporated
Promiliad Biopharma, located in Alberton, is an innovative drug discovery company that creates novel natural product-like small molecules in combinatorial arrays. The company has discovered a class of molecules that is an important lead in the discovery of a new treatment for infectious disease. This MSMFP funding will supplement a NIH SBIR Phase 1 to design, synthesize and assay bioisosteric analogs which display improvements in potency, metabolism and physical properties. The data will be used to evaluate the potential of a subsequent Phase II SBIR application. The ultimate goal is to obtain the data necessary for the filing of an IND application.
Yellowstone Scientific Instruments
Yellowstone Scientific Instruments is a for-profit sole proprietorship located in Big Sky, Montana. It was founded in 2009 to develop a new class of instrumentation for chemical analysis. The focus of the Company is on designing, developing and manufacturing portable, easily-operated, handheld instruments that may be readily used in the field for on-site, eal-time analysis. A recent Phase I SBIR contract with the Air Force utilizes the Company's expertise in chemical analysis and instrumentation. The Company will utilize its expertise in chemical analysis and instrumentation to develop a lightweight, compact Cetane sensor for automated control of engine settings in internal combustion engines operating on heavy fuels.
Paul J. Taylor
This is a collaborative research agreement between a Montana-based small business, GeneSearch, Inc., Bozeman, and an embryologist/molecular geneticist at Montana State University. The goal of this Phase I STTR NIH project is to prepare the Mouse Dracula tool, a novel embryo manipulation device, to move on to Phase II market-oriented development within a one-year period. Existing methods of mouse embryro manipulation are highly technically challenging and expensive, putting these technologies out of reach for most biomedical research labs. The Mouse Dracala tool will provide an affordable, user-friendly system that will empower even the smallest embryology or reproduction labs to generate chimeric mice and cryporeserve embryos.
Montana Emergent Technologies, Inc.
Bryan T. Park
Montana Emergent Technologies, Inc., of Butte, in collaboration with the Center for Biofilm Engineering at Montana State University, has received a Phase 1 Release 2 STTR award from the Department of Energy. MSMFP funds will be used in conjunction with the $150,000 DOE project entitled "Using Biomineralization Sealing for Leakage Mitigation in Shale during CO2 Sequestration". This biomineralization technology offers the ability to seal abandoned wells and make CO2 sequestration permanent at reduced cost. MET believes the technology has high potential for commercialization, particularly in the oil and gas industry operations in shale formations, such as the Bakken, Woodford, Barnett, and Marcellus formations. Following Phase 1, focused on demonstrating feasibility, MET expects to apply for a Phase II STTR award to perform a field demonstration to further develop the technology.
Westscape Wholesale Nursery
Westscape Wholesale Nursery, Bozeman, has received a USDA SBIR Phase 1 award to establish the feasibility of a solution to the problem of rapid cheatgrass infestation in the western U.S. Cheatgrass is a non-native, invasive winter annual grass species that has been dubbed "the invader that won the West". Herbicides are currently the principal strategy for controlling cheatgrass. In preliminary studies, Westscape has shown the ability of a proprietary, naturally occurring elemental compound to totally suppress and selectively control germinating and developing cheatgrass. With a further feasibility study Westscape will incorporate this material into a pelleted delivery package containing native seed and other growth enhancers, providing a non-synthetic, ecologically sound product that will selectively control cheatgrass and promote the establishment of native species.
AdvR, Inc. is a Bozeman-based technology company devoted to the development and commercialization of photonics technologies. The MSMFP award is to provide matching funds for a recent NASA Phase I award titled "Iodine Stabilized Seed Laser for Space Applications". The funds will be used to enhance the prospect of receiving a Phase II award and to accelerate the effort toward commercialization of AdvR's wavelength locking technology.
The focus of the Phase I is to establish the feasibility of building dual element waveguide devices using qualifiable components. The fully integrated dual-element waveguide is used for locking seed lasers to known molecular absorption reference lines. The locked wavelength seed laser is a key component in the High Spectral Resolution Lidar (HSRL) laser being developed at NASA.
In addition to awarding the Phase I to AdvR, NASA is working with Ball Aerospace, a leading system integrator for space-based optical systems, to develop digital control electronics, using parts with known space equivalent replacements, for driving the wavelength locking hardware. While this is not directly part of the SBIR Phase I effort, successfully demonstrating the feasibility of interfacing AdvR's hardware to Ball Aerospace's digital locking electronics as well as demonstrating a close working relationship with Ball Aerospace, will better position AdvR to secure the Phase II follow-on award from NASA.
MSMFP funds will help advance a U.S. Army Phase I STTR effort to develop a dual-mode laser system capable of performing laser radar imaging as well as high speed free-space optical communications using the same laser source. The proposed objective will accelerate the development of critical software and hardware elements for use in building a complete system in the Phase II effort. Bridger Photonics has attracted a potential customer during the Phase I, and this technical objective will enable Bridger to meet customer needs and deliver a product that can be used in the field.
This SBIR Phase I project describes a simple, novel and economical process for converting lignocellulosic feedstocks to lipids for conversion to biodiesel and fatty acids for specialty markets using a minimal number of steps compared to current technologies. The technology is based on the use of a novel microorganism isolated from Yellowstone National Park that offers promise in the production of commercial bioproducts. Sustainable Bioproducts is conducting small-scale experiments to characterize the conversion of agricultural waste into biodiesel and fatty acids using an energy-efficient process. These experiments will help extrapolate the new process to full-scale commercialization. The proposed process is a breakthrough in bioenergy production, providing a low cost, simple and effective means for lipids (biofuel precursos) from abundant lignocellulosic substrates. The nation will benefit from the technology through reduction of its dependence on crude oil while supplementing incomes of the agricultural community.
Anne Marie Quinn
Despite the fact that drug targets in the body are G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), understanding the complex roles of these receptors in many different cell types and organ systems is one of the most significant challenges of drug discovery today. Activation of any GPCR triggers a cascade of signals within the cell that involves multiple, often parallel, systems of second messenger and effector molecules. Currently these pathways are studied one molecule at a time, typically with just a single biochemical measurement at a particular time point. Robust biosensors for measuring the dynamic components of GPCR signaling in real time that can be used in virtually any tissue are essential for understanding how drugs affect people. This project will expand Montana Molecular's innovative suite of genetically-encoded fluorescent biosensors to create multiplexed assays systems for GPCR drug discovery in living cells.
ATERIS Technologies, Bozeman, is a pioneer in the creation of "smart nanoparticles". The company is designing drug loaded particles that recognize the presence of pesticide chemical agents and release the therapeutic cargo. The released drugs will counteract the toxic effects of pesticide exposure. Nanoparticles customized to respond specifically and rapidly to a particular chemical toxicant will prove to be an enormous advantage in dosing, therapeutic readiness, multiple drug delivery, intervention as a preventative approach, and/or replacement to current aftercare measures.
GeneSearch, Inc., a private research laboratory north of Bozeman directed by Dr. Paul Taylor, has received an NIH SBIR Phase I award to optimize a novel embryo manipulation tool named the "Dracula Pipette" for clinical applications. The majority of this project involves engineering and refining. Testing of the prototype Dracula Pipette embryo manipulation tool will be conducted in the Department of Immunology & Infectious Diseases at Montana State University (MSU). The Dracula Pipette is a suck-and-puncture device that has been shown to provide unique capabilities for biopsy and freezing of pre-implantation embryos, and NIH has recognized the device's potential to revolutionize the science of embryology by classifying this project as a high priority.
MSMFP funds will be used for the expensive steps of producing micro-injection molding dies and sophisticated micromanipulation strategies designed to make the device more user-friendly, simpler to use and more versatile than equipment currently in use.
Recent work at MSU determined that the Dracula system could be used successfully on mouse embryos at all stages for biopsy and volume reduction before freezing. This is a major breakthrough that means the Dracula Pipette could become the tool of choice for manipulation of all early embryos of all mammalian species.
Robert F. Dwyer, III
The objective of this project is to assist in developing a DoD SBIR project entitled "Advanced Common Integrative, Intelligent, Customizable and Scalable Automated Logistics Environment (ALE) Framework". The primary focus points of the effort are: (1) reduce total ownership. operational, and sustainment costs; and, (2) increase aircraft and other asset availability, reliability, and readiness. In addition to the Department of Defense and other government agencies, the ALE Framework concept has potential application in diverse industries, such as commercial aviation, aerospace, power generation and distributions, energy/oil and gas, high-tech and capital intensive manufacturing and major health care delivery operations and networks.
MSMFP funds were awarded in conjunction with S2 Corporation's Phase 1 STTR grant from the National Science Foundation entitled "Photonics Enabled Extreme Bandwidth Wireless Communications Spectrum Manager". The project aims to use and adapt a photonics based extreme bandwidth RF and Microwave spectrum analyzer as a real-time spectral manager for wireless communications systems. The primary objective of the MSMFP funding is to extend the performance of the technology and to pursue the Phase II NSF SBIR award. Applications for S2's technology include both commercial and military sectors.
Anne Marie Quinn
New assays for biological activity are urgently needed to develop safe and effecive drugs that provide better treatment outcomes and improved human health. This project addresses the technical challenges associated with using fluorescent live-cell assays and has strong potential to reduce the cost and improve the reliability of drug discovery processes.
NanoValent Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
NanoValent Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is an early-stage Bozeman biotechnology company with an interest in developing new drug delivery systems for cancer treatment and vaccines against infectious agents. The MSMFP Stage 1 funds will be used to assist in accomplishing the goals of this National Science Foundation funded SBIR project. In this work, NanoValent will be exploring a novel, nanoscale particle technology to ultimately treat and monitor the efficacy of treatment of adult leukemia. Traditional and exploratory cancer therapy drugs will be encapsulated in tumor-targeted nanoparticles and tumor size and number will be monitored as a result of particle uptake by the cancerous cells. With this demonstration, NanoValent will seek additional investment in the research and development of this nanoparticle platform technology to broaden the applicability to many different cancer types.
S2 Corporation received a Stage 1 grant for $15,000 from the Montana SBIR/STTR Matching Funds Program in conjunction with a Phase 1 SBIR contract from the United States Air Force entitled, "Hardware Based Broadband Ultra High-Speed Digital Signal Processor", with funding level totaling $149,852. The project aims to develop S2 Corporation's extreme bandwidth photonic signal processor in working hardware that will generate digital signal streams representing broadband RF spectrum captures, and algorithms in software to analyze and characterize these signals in real time. The company plans to pursue a follow-on Phase II SBIR.
For the MSMFP Stage 1 funding, the primary objective is to extend the performance of the technology and to pursue the Phase II SBIR award. Funds will be used on salaries and associated costs to facilitate Phase II proposal writing efforts and a presentation of technical results. Funds allocated to travel will be used to brief U.S. Government contract representatives on technical findings of the SBIR effort.
Applications of S2's technology include both commercial and military sectors, with the baseline capacity of wideband monitoring of the radio frequency spectrum with high performance and low latency. Commercial applications are test and measurement and civilian (not military) radio frequency surveillance. This is applicable for communications activity monitoring as well. For military applications, wideband RF coverage for surveillance and signal's intelligence can apply to radar signal detection and cueing, electronic warfare, order of battle determination for targeting and for use in waveform detection, classification and measurement.
Peter Roos, Bozeman
Under this effort, Bridger Photonics (BP) will investigate the use of super-resolution techniques for compressive imaging sensors. Under a current U.S. Army Phase I STTR, BP has developed and demonstrated a compressive imaging architecture that enables image reconstruction and object recognition tasks to be performed efficiently using very few pixels. The system operates in the visible and near-infrared spectral bands simultaneously. This is in contrast to a conventional system which would require both expensive image sensors with a large number of pixels in both bands and increased post-processing and data collection over the compressive architecture. In order to overcome limitations in compressive imaging architectures, BP has proposed to develop and prove the feasibility of super-resolution techniques for those systems to achieve image reconstructions with up to mega-pixel resolution. This effort will enable high-resolution compressive imaging systems, which are especially advantageous in the short-wave and mid-wave infrared bands where conventional image sensors are very costly.
Montana Microbial Products
Clifford Bradley, Missoula
Montana Microbial Products (MMP) received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award from the National Science Foundation to develop effective biological insecticides to control bark beetles that are devastating forests in Montana and the west. The grant from the MSMFP supports a key element of this project. Bark beetles are very difficult to control because their life cycle occurs inside trees. MMP is working with University of Montana scientists to develop methods to increase exposure of bark beetles to a naturally occurring fungus that infects bark beetles. The fungus infects only for certain insects and is not harmful to animals or humans. Success with this project will provide government agencies and private land owners with a cost effective, safe and environmentally friendly product to protect trees from bark beetles.
Good Nutrition Ideas
Dr. Kathleen Humphries
Good Nutrition Ideas LLC, Missoula, received a $30,000 matching funds grant from MSMFP. This grant complimented a $75,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) from the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research to commercialize the nutrition intervention, MenuChoice. MenuChoice is an innovative web-based product that will improve the food systems in group homes leading to better weight management, better gastrointestinal health and better dietary intake for the residents.
According to Dr. Kathleen Humphries, founder and president of Good Nutrition Ideas, "The grant for MenuChoice will enable us to extend the program to 84,000 group homes for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities across the nation providing a dietary guide that works for the residents, their families, and the care providers".
The company creates research-based novel nutrition products and training services. Dr. Humphries founded the company to improve the nutritional health of people with disabilities and to create innovative health promotion products based on scientific evidence.
Dr. Humphries has a doctorate in Nutrition Science from University of California Davis, and has been conducting nutrition research at the University of Montana for 10 years. She is the author of 20 scientific papers in the area of nutrition and community health.