CSIT awards $450K to 16 early-stage STEM companies

The New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology awarded a total of $450,000 to 16 early-stage companies through the state’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Program Direct Financial Assistance Program, it said Thursday.

CSIT officials feel the awards will enhance the state’s innovation economy by strengthening the competitiveness of Garden State businesses participating in the federal programs. To date, CSIT has awarded a total of $825,000 to 29 New Jersey companies during the program’s two funding rounds.

“New Jersey’s emerging businesses are generating an abundance of innovation, and supporting them as they tap into the federal SBIR/STTR programs will have lasting economic effects at both local and global levels,” CSIT Chairman Gunjan Doshi said.

The federal SBIR and STTR grant programs provide more than $3 billion each year to small businesses in a variety of technology and life sciences areas that propose innovative ideas that meet specific federal research and development needs. The SBIR program enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization.

The STTR program funds cooperative research & development partnerships between small businesses and research institutions such as universities, federal R&D centers or nonprofits. The programs are open to U.S.-based, for-profit small businesses with fewer than 500 employees.

CSIT Executive Director Judith Sheft noted that nearly a third of the 16 awardees for this round of funding are certified as women-owned businesses. Awardees hail from 10 different counties within the Garden State, and more than two-thirds of companies have an affiliation with New Jersey universities.

“The combination of our state’s highly-talented workforce and our world-class research universities make New Jersey the ideal spot for innovative companies to succeed,” Sheft said. “We are very encouraged to see such a high percentage of applicants benefiting from partnership opportunities with these universities as they work toward commercialization.”

Fourteen companies that have received federal SBIR/STTR Phase I, Fast-Track or Direct to Phase II awards/contracts were each awarded a grant of $25,000. The selected companies include:

  1. Atux Iskay Group LLC, Plainsboro;
  2. BRISEA Group Inc., Parsippany (N.J. State Certified Woman/Minority-owned);
  3. DMK Pharmaceuticals Inc., Gladstone;
  4. Drone Go Home LLC , Oceanport (N.J. State Certified Woman-owned);
  5. Innovations Unlimited LLC, Pennsauken (N.J. State Certified Woman-owned);
  6. Mgenuity Corporation, Lincroft;
  7. MRIMATH LLC, Voorhees;
  8. Neutroelectric LLC, Williamstown (N.J. State Certified Woman-owned);
  9. RenewCO2, LLC, Cranford;
  10. Rizlab Health, Inc., Princeton Junction;
  11. SAPHTx Inc., Newark;
  12. ShockTech, Mahwah;
  13. SunRay Scientific LLC – Eatontown (N.J. State Certified Woman/Minority-owned);
  14. Telluric Labs LLC, Red Bank.

Additionally, the following two New Jersey small businesses will each receive $50,000 bridge funding grants. They have successfully completed Phase I and have applied for Phase II of the federal SBIR/STTR program.

  1. Andulca Technologies Inc., Princeton;
  2. BioInvenu, East Hanover.

These funds can be utilized to maintain project activities and cover general operating costs.

The awardees’ focus areas fell into the following categories, all of which were identified in Gov. Phil Murphy’s economic development strategic plan as high-wage, high-growth sectors: technology, life sciences, clean energy and advanced manufacturing.

Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips (R-Midland Park) noted the diversities of the companies involved.

“Participants in this program run the gamut from drug-discovery companies to a business creating a drone detection system to one that develops an augmented/mixed-reality medical and surgical assist system for astronauts of exploration-class space missions,” he said. “The work they are doing is both critical and far reaching. We are proud to support them in their endeavors.”

State Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) sees the awards as critical to recapturing New Jersey’s role as a leader in innovation.

“The strength of our innovation ecosystem is directly correlated to the economic vibrancy of our state,” he said. “Resources like the New Jersey SBIR/STTR Direct Financial Assistance Program are useful tools as we seek to attract businesses to locate to, and grow within, the Garden State.”

In June, CSIT awarded $375,000 in matching grants to 13 New Jersey small businesses that were engaged in the federal SBIR/STTR program.