Five Kentucky high-tech small businesses awarded $1.5M in state funding

Two companies relocating to Kentucky among those recognized

Frankfort, Ky. – Five high-tech businesses will be awarded more than $1.5 million as part of the state’s program to support and attract technology-based small business to the state.

Two of those companies receiving awards are based out-of-state but are relocating to Kentucky. The companies receiving awards in the second quarter of 2015 include:

Gismo Therapeutics, Inc. (Fayette County): Gismo is a Lexington-based company that recently relocated from New York. The company is developing a class of small molecule therapeutics to disrupt the inflammation cycle of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).

Hera Testing Labs (Fayette County): Hera is developing laboratory and animal tests to make the drug development process more accurate, cost effective and predictive. The company’s technologies aim to identify problems with new drug formulations earlier in the development process before proceeding to more costly animal or human studies. Animal model systems aim to improve drug metabolism studies through use of genetically modified rats with humanized livers.

Lakota Technical Solutions, Inc. (Howard, Maryland): Lokota is developing an Electronic Warfare Synthetic Environment and Analysis Test Suite (EW-SEATS). The company’s technology is a software-based tool to more accurately and efficiently simulate electronic warfare scenarios.

TherapyX, Inc. (Jefferson County): TherapyX is a New York-based pharmaceutical company relocating to Louisville. The company is developing a novel drug delivery system for a Gonorrhea vaccine.

TutorGen, Inc. (Campbell County): TutorGen has created LOGIC (Linkage Objects for Generalized Instruction in Coding) to help bridge the gap for new students trying to learn coding. LOGIC is an intelligent tutor that helps people learn programming, helps them through difficult exercises and keeps them engaged.

Funding is being made available through the state’s competitive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Matching Funds program. Since the program’s inception in 2006, the state has matched all or parts of federal SBIR/STTR awards received by Kentucky-based companies. Out-of-state companies are also eligible for funding, should they decide to relocate to Kentucky.
In the announcement yesterday, Governor Steve Beshear said these companies and state incentives are important to an improved way of life.

“Each of these companies is working to develop technologies that are of great importance and will contribute to an improved way of life,” said Gov. Beshear. “It is a great advantage for the state to be able to support these companies and welcome those interested in relocating to Kentucky to capitalize on our unparalleled match funding program.”

Over the past nine years, Kentucky’s SBIR/STTR program has awarded more than $53 million to support 107 local companies. These businesses have received an additional $94 million in federal funding. As of today, 38 companies have located, or are planning to relocate, their businesses to the Commonwealth to take advantage of Kentucky’s unique matching program.

Eligible high-tech companies can apply for the federal grants in two phases. Businesses in the concept or feasibility phase can apply for Phase I funding while companies in full-scale research and development can request Phase II assistance.

Kentucky’s competitive program matches federal Phase I grants up to $150,000 for one year and Phase II funding up to $500,000 annually for two years. Funds are awarded on a quarterly basis. Kentucky is the only state that matches Phase II awards at this level.

Kentucky’s unique funding program has grown substantially since 2006 and has led to an increase in the number of companies pursuing SBIR/STTR grants and out-of-state businesses relocating to the state to capitalize on the funding opportunity. Currently, Kentucky ranks 27th in the nation, based on the amount of federal funding received compared to 42nd in 2006 (SBIRSource.com). Since the start of the fund matching program, Kentucky businesses have achieved a higher success rate in receiving federal SBIR/STTR grants compared to the national average.

The Cabinet manages the Kentucky SBIR-STTR Matching Funds program, which is administered under contract by the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC). KSTC accepts applications for the program four times per year. A link to the online guidelines and application form for the Kentucky program are posted at www.ThinkKentucky.com/dci/SBIR.

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