The Alabama Innovation Corporation named the first round of small business recipients of the Innovate Alabama Supplemental Grant Program, seven of which are UAB start-ups.

The Innovate Alabama Supplemental Grant Program awards funds to Alabama-based companies that have been granted Phase I or Phase II awards through the Federal Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) or Federal Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR). 

Ho-Wook Jun and Brigitta Brott are the co-founders of Endomimetics, LLC.Ho-Wook Jun and Brigitta Brott are the co-founders of Endomimetics, LLC, one of seven UAB start-ups to receive grants from the Alabama Innovation Corporation.

Eligible companies can apply to receive a match of up to 50 percent of their SBIR/STTR grants. Phase I Award recipients may receive up to $100,000, while Phase II Award recipients may receive up to $250,000. 
The program awarded more than $4.5 million in funding to 30 winners, with 11 in the Birmingham area. Of those 11 winners, the seven UAB start-ups are:

  • AeroNeph Therapeutics, Inc., a company that focuses on human cell-based drug discovery assets;
  • AI Metrics, LLC, a platform that leverages artificial intelligence and guided workflows to assist radiologists with image analysis; 
  • Endomimetics, LLC, a company that develops natural bionanomatrix coating technologies to mimic human tissue on devices implanted into the human body;
  • Reliant Glycosciences, LLC, a biotechnology company that focuses on developing diagnostic and prognostic tools for patients with IgA nephropathy;
  • Sunfire Biotechnologies, LLC, a clinical research organization for pneumococcal vaccine development support; 
  • Trialtus Bioscience, LLC, a company that develops innovative tools for the production and purification of genetically engineered proteins; and
  • TruSpin Nanomaterial Innovation, Inc., the first company in the world to utilize alternating-current electrospinning to commercially manufacture nanofibers.

In total, the seven UAB start-ups received in excess of $1 million in funding from the program, or more than 20 percent of the total $4.5 million granted in this funding round. 

“This is yet another indication of the important position UAB holds in our state’s economic ecosystem,” said Karthik Gopalakrishnan, Ph.D., Director of Licensing and New Ventures for the UAB Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which helped launch the UAB start-ups. 

These small businesses are poised to make an outsize impact in the world of biotechnology. We are happy to see this support from the Alabama Innovation Corporation and expect that more of our start-ups will apply for the next round of funding.”

The state legislature has allocated an additional $5 million for the 2023 fiscal year to provide another round of grant funding for eligible small businesses. Applicants must have a Phase I or Phase II SBIR or STTR grant that was active on or after July 1, 2022 The Alabama Innovation Corporation is expected to begin accepting applications again in 2023.