KickStart Venture Services – the premier life sciences startup program and accelerator from Innovate Carolina – has awarded commercialization grants to two UNC-affiliated startup companies, Elipsys, LLC, and GeneVentiv Therapeutics, Inc. These awards will help the startups translate intellectual property created at UNC-Chapel Hill into technologies for the commercial market. The KickStart Commercialization Grants – which range in amounts up to $50,000 each – are part of a University-wide effort to translate discoveries made in Carolina’s academic laboratories into products and services that benefit society.
“Our KickStart Commercialization Grant Awards play a vital role in translating promising research and technologies from UNC-Chapel Hill. The awards are typically the first money received by early-stage startups based on UNC research and intellectual property,” says Mireya McKee, PhD, director of KickStart. “The funding allows them to build prototypes, launch beta programs and collect preliminary data or market feedback necessary to secure follow-on dollars from grants, angel investors and venture capitalists.”
Founded in 2008, KickStart has had an incredible impact on startups, not only through its grant awards program, but also through resources offered to the ventures it supports. KickStart works with companies to foster seed funds, launch accelerator programs and develop strategies that make an entrepreneurial impact through industry-academic collaboration. The program runs the 7,500-square-foot, on-campus KickStart Accelerator, which operates as part of the Institute for Convergent Science. The KickStart Accelerator offers Carolina life science startups wet lab and office space, including shared equipment, cubicles, meeting spaces and common areas that support collaborative innovation.
“Over the last 12 years, Kickstart’s Commercialization Grant Awards have enabled numerous companies to bridge the gap between bench research and commercialization. Through the awards, we have been able to provide close to $2.5 million in grant awards, and these companies have gone on to raise more than $800 million in follow-on funding since the program’s inception,” adds McKee. The grant awards provide vital early-stage funding for Carolina-founded startups to complete high-impact projects that move their technologies closer to market.
Spring 2022 Grant Recipients: GenVentiv Therapeutics and Elipsys
GeneVentiv Therapeutics is a pre-clinical gene therapy company focused on blood diseases and disorders. Its lead program, GENV-HEM, is the first universal gene therapy treatment for Hemophilia A and B with or without inhibitors. GENV-HEM has received Orphan Drug Designation from the FDA and a Letter of Support from the National Hemophilia Foundation. The company is advancing an additional gene therapy for Hemophilia Arthropathy, a degenerative joint disease afflicting roughly 50% of patients with hemophilia. GeneVentiv was founded by Damon Race and co-founded by Chengwen Li, a research associate professor from the Gene Therapy Center at the UNC School of Medicine.
Elipsys is a sports technology company that accelerates sport performance by giving teams more confidence in their decisions. The company blends innovative player and eye tracking technology with artificial intelligence to give athletes and coaches the right insights at the right time. The patented system disrupts day-to-day training through real-time personalized insights that give athletes easy access to data. This allows them to precisely target training to maximize performance improvement. The company was founded by Adam Kiefer, assistant professor of exercise and sport science from the UNC School of Medicine’s Sports Medicine Institute.
The KickStart Commercialization Grant Awards program is open to early-stage companies based on research innovations for which at least one founder is a faculty member, student or staff person at UNC-Chapel Hill. A department in Innovate Carolina’s Office of Technology Commercialization, KickStart supports research-based startup formation and growth by providing education, early-stage funding and on-campus accelerator space. Kickstart also connects founders to key service providers, management and investors in the regional and national innovation community.
Read the original article here: https://innovate.unc.edu/elipsys-and-geneventiv-therapeutics-win-kickstart-grants/