Seven UAB startups receive $1 million in funding from Alabama Innovation Corporation

The funding from Alabama Innovation Corporation will help UAB startups make a profound impact in the biotechnology industry.
Written by: Amy Jones
Media contact: Savannah Koplon

Stream AICBrigitta Brott and Ho-Wook Jun, co-founders of Endomimetics, LLC, one of seven UAB start-ups to receive grants from the Alabama Innovation Corporation. The Alabama Innovation Corporation has named the first round of small-business recipients of the Innovate Alabama Supplemental Grant Program, seven of which are startups from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

In total, the seven UAB startups received more than $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 startups.  

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 startups are:

  • AeroNeph Therapeutics,, 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.
  • TruSpin Nanomaterial Innovation,Inc., the first company in the world to utilize alternating-current electrospinning to commercially manufacture nanofibers.

“These small businesses are poised to make an outsized impact in the world of biotechnology,” Gopalakrishnan said. “We are happy to see this support from the Alabama Innovation Corporation and expect that more of our startups will apply for the next round of funding.”

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 or Federal Small Business Technology Transfer Program. 

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 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.